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The Box Tops

February 14, 2012 301 No of hits
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The Box Tops

The Box Tops began their career in Memphis in 1963, initially called The Devilles. Shortly after The Devilles won a local battle of the bands competition, beating Bobby and the Originals (who had won the previous nineteen competitions, consecutively) they were joined by singer Alex Chilton and the group began to garner attention from producer teams. They were first approached my Chips Moman and Dan Penn, who saw great potential in Chilton's voice. The band was soon signed to Bell Records and changed their name to the Box Tops in order to avoid confusion and legal complications with a different Devilles who were also recording at the time.

The band was groundbreaking at the time, being one of the first blue-eyed soul outfits. Chilton's voice is what really brought the band's sound together, meshing soul and power-pop effortlessly. Their first single, "The Letter," was released in 1967 and quickly rose to number one on the charts and stayed for four consecutive weeks--Chilton was only sixteen at the time. After the massive success of "The Letter," Penn began to take more control over the band's affairs, some times even bringing in session musicians to replace members of the Box Tops behind Alex Chilton in the studio. Soon, guitarist John Evans and drummer Danny Smythe departed the band to return to school (and thus avoid the draft) in 1968.

The band followed up "The Letter" with "Neon Rainbow," which did not chart as high as "The Letter" but was still regarded as a success. After "Neon Rainbow," "Cry Like a Baby" was released and reached the number two spot on the Billboard charts. "The Letter" and "Cry Like a Baby" were the bands greatest successes, each selling over a million copies and earning the band two gold discs. The band released a small number of singles after "Cry Like a Baby," but none received the same commercial success. In 1970, the remaining members of the group decided to disband. Alex Chilton went on to perform with Big Star, one of the most revered underground power-pop bands of the era.

Tags:   The Box Tops   Devilles   Box Tops   Alex Chilton   Soul   Power-pop  

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The Box Tops began their career in Memphis in 1963, initially called The Devilles. Shortly after The Devilles won a local battle of the bands competition, beating Bobby and the Originals (who had won the previous nineteen competitions, consecutively) they were joined by singer Alex Chilton and the...

By: Richard Martine Created 76 months ago

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