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The O'Jays

40 years ago Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey and Bill Isles were schoolmates at McKinley High in Canton, Ohio. They formed a singing group called the Emeralds, changed the name to the Triumphs, then the Mascots and, finally, took on the "temporary" name The O'Jays after their manager of the time, Cleveland radio personality Eddie O'Jay. For sixteen years the group languished in semi-obscurity, worked the "chitlin'" circuit and, occasionally, enjoyed a chart single but never that pivotal "monster" hit. Along the way Bill Isles exited the group, followed years later by Bobby Massey who left just prior to the release of "Back Stabbers," the Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff-produced smash of 1972. In the mid-'70s the group lost William Powell to terminal illness. Sammy Strain stepped in from Little Anthony & the Imperials and remained with The O'Jays for many years before returning to the Imperials several years ago. Over the course of their career, the group has charted more than fifty times, cracking the Top Ten a couple dozen times and enjoying ten number one hits! You've got to hear them tell it in order to fully enjoy the story of The O'Jays. You can request your favourite OJays song by email and hear it with Soultrain on Bristols 107.3 The Eagle every Sunday night from 6pm BST