Happy Birthday Chubby Tavares! (June 2)

Happy Birthday to Chubby Tavares, lead singer of the vocal group Tavares, born June 2, 1945.

Tavares was the first act we ever profiled on SoulTracks, in large part because of my personal affection for the group. I've had the chance to speak with Chubby several times over the years, and he has always been both kind and humble about his accomplishments. And those accomplishments are many. The five brothers from New Bedford, Massachusetts - Ralph, Tiny, Chubby, Butch and Pooch - arguably created the most consistently high quality soul music of the 70s and early 80s.

Happy Birthday to Chubby Tavares, lead singer of the vocal group Tavares, born June 2, 1945.

Tavares was the first act we ever profiled on SoulTracks, in large part because of my personal affection for the group. I've had the chance to speak with Chubby several times over the years, and he has always been both kind and humble about his accomplishments. And those accomplishments are many. The five brothers from New Bedford, Massachusetts - Ralph, Tiny, Chubby, Butch and Pooch - arguably created the most consistently high quality soul music of the 70s and early 80s.

Originally called "Chubby and the Turnpikes," the Tavares brothers spent the late '60s and early '70s in their native New England covering tunes of R&B greats at various clubs, while trying to land a record deal. They finally scored a contract with Capitol Records' then-new black music division and released their first single, "Check It Out," in 1973. It soared to the top 10 on the R&B charts and became the group's first top 40 pop hit. What came after that was a string of hits that led Blues & Soul magazine to label Tavares “The Next Supergroup.”

“It Only Takes A Minute,” “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel,” “She’s Gone,” “Never Had A Love Like This Before” and many, many more memorable cuts established the Tavares Brothers as R&B music royalty, even allowing them to survive the mixed blessing of having their version of "More Than A Woman" as part of the Grammy Award winning soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, giving the group its greatest exposure ever but bringing with it a label that Tavares would spend years trying to shake - that of "Disco Group." But in the 1970s -- a decade that highlighted so many groups, from the last Detroit days of Motown to the arrival of hot sounds in Philadelphia and Los Angeles -- the Tavares brothers proved themselves to be incredibly versatile and talented, and time has been kind to their enviable legacy.

The group has toured regularly - in combinations of three to five members - since their active recording days ended in the mid-80s. And, in recent times, Chubby has also made a minor stir as a solo artist, with two albums over the past decade working with legendary producer Preston Glass.

Happy birthday, Chubby!

By Chris Rizik

 

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