almost top of the pops – detroit emeralds

(A look at bands / artists, who this day in The ‘70s were ALMOST Top of the Pops.)

24th March 1973

DETROIT EMERALDS – photo by General Loney

The Shirelles it was who sang, ‘Mama Said (There’d Be Days Like This’) back in 1963. How very right Mama was!

When I set myself this challenge of working through bands / artists and songs that were ‘ALMOST Top of the Pops’ on this day throughout each year of The ’70s, there were a few conditions to be met:

  • The band / artist did not reach #1 in the UK singles chart with that particular song;
  • The band / artist had to be in the Top 10 of the week in question;
  • The band / artist could not be one of the one of the popular ‘big hitters.’

For one or more of these reasons, the following had to be discounted from this piece:

Slade / Donny Osmond / T Rex / Cliff Richard / Gilbert O’Sullivan / Alice Cooper / The Faces.

That left me with Roberta Flack, Jimmy Helms ….. and Detroit Emeralds!

Being into Glam Rock, Blues / Hard Rock / Punk throughout The ’70s, the music of the three bands and artists I was left with, had more or less escaped me. So this piece is likely more of an education for me than of interest to you, dear reader!

Actually, in recent years I have been listening to Craig Charles’s Funk & Soul Show at teatime on a Saturday, as I cook up my curry. I do now have an appreciation of Funk … and am working on my Soul.

Right – yeah. The Detroit Emeralds:

The Emeralds, were formed as a vocal harmony group by four brothers from Little Rock, Arkansas in the mid-Sixties. However, before moving to Detroit (and expanding their name) then releasing their debut single ‘Show Time‘ on the Ric-Tic Records label, Cleophus and Raymond Timon had left the band. leaving just Ivory and Abrim. They were then joined by childhood friend James Mitchell.

A rare clip of the Detroit Emeralds performing their first single, Show Time in 1968

Now a trio, they scraped into the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #89 on 20th April 1968.

A run of charting hits followed in the United States, but it was not until the 1973 UK hit ‘Feel The Need In Me’ that they really came to the fore. Peaking at #4 in the UK, they failed to reach the Billboard Hot 100, but did score at #22 in the US R&B Chart.

Riding the success of ‘Feel The Need In Me,‘ Westbound Records in USA, with whom they’d signed in 1970, decided to re-release the earlier minor (R&B Chart) hit, ‘You Want It, You Got It,‘ in the UK – a shrewd move as it too sold well, reaching #12 in May of ’73.

This is a TV ‘Soul Train,’ recording of the track from its initial US release in 1971 – have you got the moves?

The Detroit Emeralds scored one more minor hit in the UK, also in 1973 – ‘I Think Of You’ which managed a high of #27 in August.

The band started to fall apart in 1974, and in 1976 James Mitchell formed The Floaters, with his brother Paul – and of course, Larry, Charles and Ralph. (Boy, I sure hope their hit falls into a week I can cover within this series – sheer class!)

In 1977, Abe Tilmon hired three others to form a quartet version of the band. ‘Feel The Need In Me’ was re-released in the UK (an expanded version, I believe) and it too charted, rising to #12 and remaining in the Top 40 for eleven weeks.

‘Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)’ from Detroit Emeralds’ second of five albums, ‘You Want It, You Got It.’

I have to say, I’m glad I settled on writing about the Detroit Emeralds. From being in virtual ignorance of their music, I must confess to having added each of the four tracks highlighted here to my streaming playlist.

They may not have reached #1; they may not have achieved super-stardom…. but for a while back in 1973, Detroit Emeralds were ALMOST Top of the Pops.

(Post by Colin ‘Jackie’ Jackson of Glasgow – March 2022)

7 thoughts on “almost top of the pops – detroit emeralds”

  1. I love this song and the Graham Central Station version.
    I admit I used to get confused between the Detroit Emeralds & the Detroit Spinners back in the day.
    Wow, I didn’t realise there was a Floaters connection – “Leo and my name is Paul, you see I like all woman of the world”, is very close to my heart 😄

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gotta say, I’ve never heard of them either. I think Canada missed them entirely. Sound , based on a couple of those clips, was fine, but nothing that really stood out in a big way… some pretty impressive moves on the dancefloor though on that Soul Train video!

    Liked by 2 people

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