R.I.P. Mad Lads original member William Brown

We are sad to report to SoulTrackers the death of William Brown (pictured far right), one of the founding members of the popular 1960s vocal group The Mad Lads, known for their big hits "Don't Have To Shop Around" and "I Want Someone." Brown was 69 and died in East Memphis, Tennessee after a long illness.

It would be tough to write an obituary for Mr. Brown any better than the heartfelt one we read here.

We are sad to report to SoulTrackers the death of William Brown (pictured far right), one of the founding members of the popular 1960s vocal group The Mad Lads, known for their big hits "Don't Have To Shop Around" and "I Want Someone." Brown was 69 and died in East Memphis, Tennessee after a long illness.

It would be tough to write an obituary for Mr. Brown any better than the heartfelt one we read here.

The Mad Lads group was formed at Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee. Along with William Brown, the original line-up included John Gary Williams, Julius E. Green, and Robert Phillips. They were originally called The Emeralds, but changed their name because there was another group of that name; the name "Mad Lads" was suggested by Stax employee Deanie Parker in response to the group's behavior and also in recognition of local disc jockey Reuben "Mad Lad" Washington.

They first recorded for Stax in 1964, releasing "The Sidewalk Surf", co-written by Isaac Hayes under the name Ed Lee, which was not a hit. However, their second record, "Don't Have To Shop Around," rose to no. 11 on the Billboard R&B chart, and no. 93 on the pop chart. Featuring organ by Hayes and piano by Booker T. Jones, it has nonetheless been described as "curiously anachronistic, owing more to doo-wop than southern soul."

They followed up with "I Want Someone", "I Want A Girl" and "Patch My Heart," which were all R&B hits in 1966. However, towards the end of the year Williams and Brown were drafted. The group continued to make live appearances with the pair being replaced by Sam Nelson and Quincy Billups Jr., but the new line-up's recordings were not as successful. After Williams returned from military service, he was reinstated in the group, over other members' protests, at the insistence of record company co-owner Jim Stewart. The group continued to have R&B chart hits through to 1969, their final hit being a version of "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," which also reached the pop chart. In 1972, the group continued for a while and finally split up. Williams later formed a touring version of the group and recorded two more unsuccessful albums.

For a period in the 1960s the Mad Lads gave music a shot of soul sweetness that still sounds great a half century later. Godspeed, William Brown.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article The Mad Lads.

Thanks to SoulTracker Colton for letting us know.

 
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