Happy Birthday to Walter Williams of the O'Jays!

Photo courtesy of The O'Jays

Happy birthday to Walter Williams of the O'Jays, born August 25, 1942.

Happy birthday to Walter Williams of the O'Jays, born August 25, 1942.

By any measurement, the O'Jays must be considered one of the most important Soul Music groups of the past 40 years.  Originally a regionally popular act in Cleveland (and in fact named after local deejay Eddie O'Jay), the group was together for a decade before getting a major break by teaming with young songwriter/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.  The quintet had a number of minor hits together on Chess Records in the late 60s and early 70s, and frustration with their lack of real success pared the group down to the trio of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams and William Powell by 1972.  And it was that lineup that recorded the groups first album on Gamble & Huff's Philadelphia International Records, Backstabbers. Backstabbers was a triumph, highlighted by the McFadden & Whitehead-penned title track.  The haunting song with the great intro (later sampled by Angie Stone on "I Wish I Didn't Miss You") became a monster hit, and was followed by the even bigger "Love Train."  It also began a string of critically acclaimed and commercially popular albums.  

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