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The Originals
Origin Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Genres R&B/soul/disco
Years active 1966—1982; 2006–present
Labels Soul/Motown
Associated acts Marvin Gaye
Hank Dixon
Dillon Gorman
Terrie Dixon
Defrantz Forrest
Former members
Freddie Gorman (deceased)
Walter Gaines
Ty Hunter (deceased)
C.P. Spencer (deceased)
Joe Stubbs (deceased)

The Originals were a successful Motown R&B and soul group during the late 1960s and the 1970s, most notable for the hits "Baby I'm For Real", "The Bells" and the disco classic, "Down to Love Town". Formed in 1966, the group originally consisted of bass singer Freddie Gorman, one of the writers of the Marvelettes, the Beatles and the Carpenters hit "Please Mr. Postman", baritone the group's founder Walter Gaines and tenors C.P. Spencer and Hank Dixon. Ty Hunter replaced Spencer when he left to go solo in the early 1970s. They had all previously sung in other Detroit groups - C.P. having been an original member of The (Detroit) Spinners and Ty, having sung with Scherrie Payne in the group Glass House.



The group found modest success in the latter half of the 60s, often working as backup singers for recordings by artists such as Jimmy Ruffin ("What Becomes of the Brokenhearted", 1966), Stevie Wonder's "For Once In My Life" in 1968 and David Ruffin ("My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", 1969). The Originals found their biggest success under the guidance of Motown legend Marvin Gaye, who co-wrote and produced two of the group's biggest singles, "Baby, I'm for Real", and "The Bells". This latter disc sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A.[1] Both songs became seminal soul music recordings, and both songs have since been covered: 1990s R&B group After 7 re-recorded "Baby, I'm for Real" and made it a hit again in 1992, while another 1990s R&B group Color Me Badd re-recorded "The Bells" for one of their albums. While the group went on to have more modest success in both the soul and disco fields near the end of the decade, including "Down To Love Town," a #1 dance chart hit, the songs they made with Marvin Gaye are their most memorable and notable. Spencer returned briefly in the late 70s but after the death of Ty Hunter, on February 24, 1981, the group ceased recording and broke up about a year later.

Joe Stubbs, brother of Four Tops' lead, Levi Stubbs, died on February 5, 1998. He had been with the group for about six months in the mid 1960s, as well as been a member of The Falcolns, The Contours and 100 Proof (Aged In Soul). C.P. Spencer died on October 20, 2004 and Freddie Gorman followed on June 13, 2006.


Following the passing of Freddie Gorman in 2006, his son, Dillon Gorman, reformed The Originals as a live touring act with founding member Hank Dixon, Hank's daughter Terrie Dixon, and Defrantz Forrest, son of Gene Chandler ("The Duke of Earl").



  • 1969: Baby, I'm for Real (originally released as Green Grow the Lilacs) (Soul) - US Pop #174, US R&B #18
  • 1970: Portrait of the Originals (Soul) - US Pop #198, US R&B #47
  • 1970: Naturally Together (Soul) - US R&B #44
  • 1972: Def-I-Ni-Tions (Soul)
  • 1974: Game Called Love (Soul)
  • 1975: California Sunset (Soul) - US R&B #51
  • 1976: Communique (Soul)
  • 1977: Down to Love Town (Soul)
  • 1978: Another Time, Another Place (Fantasy)
  • 1979: Come Away with Me (Fantasy)
  • 1981: Yesterday and Today (Polydor)
  • 1999: The Very Best of the Originals (Motown)


  • 1966: "Good Night Irene (Leadbetter, Lomax)"
  • 1968: "We've Got A Wayout Love (Holland, Dozier, Holland)"
  • 1969: "Green Grow The Lilacs (Ron Miller)"
  • 1969: "Baby, I'm for Real" - US Pop #14, US R&B #1
  • 1970: "The Bells" - US Pop #12, US R&B #4
  • 1970: "We Can Make It Baby (Gaye, Nyx)"
  • 1970: "I Like Your Style (Sawyer, Gorman, Gaines, Dixon, Spencer)"
  • 1970: "God Bless Whoever Sent You (McMurray, Sawyer)"
  • 1971: "Keep Me (Berry Gordy, jr)
  • 1972: "I'm Someone Who Cares (Bristol, Brown, Jones)"
  • 1975: "Good Lovin' Is Just A Dime Away" - US R&B #53
  • 1976: "Down to Love Town" - US Pop #47, US R&B #93, US Dance #1
  • 1981: "Waitin' On A Letter/Mr. Postman" - US R&B #74

As Background Vocalists

See also


  1. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 284. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.  

External links


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