R.I.P. Johnny Dawson of Motown's The Elgins

(September 19, 2018) During the 1960s Detroit was flush with such musical riches that sometimes great artists never quite got their full due, even as they created wonderful music. Such was the case with the Elgins, who were part of the Motown hit machine and scored the 1966 smash “Heaven Must Have Sent You (written by Holland-Dozier-Holland), but who are sometimes forgotten in the recollections of Detroit’s greats. We’re sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of group co-founder Johnny Dawson.

Along with Robert Fleming, Cleo "Duke" Miller and Norman McLean, Dawson had recorded as The Downbeats before signing to Motown and changing their name to The Elgins. They added vocalist Saundra Edwards and scored a hit with “Darling Baby” in 1965.

(September 19, 2018) During the 1960s Detroit was flush with such musical riches that sometimes great artists never quite got their full due, even as they created wonderful music. Such was the case with the Elgins, who were part of the Motown hit machine and scored the 1966 smash “Heaven Must Have Sent You (written by Holland-Dozier-Holland), but who are sometimes forgotten in the recollections of Detroit’s greats. We’re sad to inform SoulTrackers of the death of group co-founder Johnny Dawson.

Along with Robert Fleming, Cleo "Duke" Miller and Norman McLean, Dawson had recorded as The Downbeats before signing to Motown and changing their name to The Elgins. They added vocalist Saundra Edwards and scored a hit with “Darling Baby” in 1965.

Their follow up single, the Holland-Dozier-Holland penned "Heaven Must Have Sent You," shot up the pop and soul charts, and became the group’s signature song. Unfortunately, by the end of 1967, with no other hits, the Elgins broke up, seemingly for good. But a reissue of “Heaven Must Have Sent You” in the early 70s became a hit in Europe, and the group toured on it. That success also led to a reunion on Ian Levine’s retro Motorcity label in the 80s, and the group recorded into the 90s with moderate success.

Johnny Dawson was another important contributor to the glory days of Detroit soul music, and he will be missed.

For a more complete biography of The Elgins, visit http://www.uncamarvy.com/5Emeralds/5emeralds.html

Thanks to SoulTracker Colton for letting us know

 
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