HOME

TheInfoList




Donnie Elbert (May 25, 1936 – January 26, 1989) was an American
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
singer Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist (in jazz and popular music). Singers perform music (arias, recitatives, songs, etc.) that can be sung accompaniment, with or a capp ...

singer
and songwriter, who had a prolific career from the mid-1950s to the late 1970s. His U.S. hits included " Where Did Our Love Go?" (1971), and his reputation as a
Northern soul Northern soul is a music and dance movement that emerged in Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England is a that is part of the . It share ...
artist in the UK was secured by "A Little Piece of Leather", a performance highlighting his powerful
falsetto ''Falsetto'' (, ; Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Ital ...

falsetto
voice The human voice consists of sound In physics Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of natu ...
.


Career

Elbert was born in
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
, but when aged three his family relocated to ,
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...
. He learned to play
guitar The guitar is a fretted musical instrument that typically has six string instrument, strings. It is held flat against the player's body and played by strumming or Plucked string instrument, plucking the strings with the dominant hand, while sim ...

guitar
and
piano The piano is an acoustic Acoustic may refer to: Music Albums * Acoustic (Bayside EP), ''Acoustic'' (Bayside EP) * Acoustic (Britt Nicole EP), ''Acoustic'' (Britt Nicole EP) * Acoustic (Joey Cape and Tony Sly album), ''Acoustic'' (Joey Cape ...

piano
as a child, and in 1955 formed a
doo-wop Doo-wop (also spelled doowop and doo wop) is a genre of rhythm and blues music that originated among African-American youth in the 1940s, mainly in the large cities of the United States, including New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, New ...
group, the Vibraharps, with friend Danny Cannon. Elbert acted as the group's
guitarist A guitarist (or a guitar player) is a person who plays the guitar. Guitarists may play a variety of guitar family musical instrument, instruments such as classical guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and bass guitars. Some guitarists ...

guitarist
,
songwriter A songwriter is a musician A musician is a person who Composer, composes, Conducting, conducts, or Performing arts, performs music. According to the United States Employment Service, "musician" is a general Terminology, term used to designate ...

songwriter
,
arranger In music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human societies. General include common elements such as (which governs and ), (and its associated c ...

arranger
, and background vocalist, making his
recording A record, recording or records may refer to: An item or collection of data Computing * Record (computer science) In computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures ...
debut on their
single Single may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Single (music), a song release Songs * Single (Natasha Bedingfield song), "Single" (Natasha Bedingfield song), 2004 * Single (New Kids on the Block and Ne-Yo song), "Single" (New Kids on the ...
"Walk Beside Me". He left the group in 1957 for a solo career, and recorded a demonstration record that earned him a
recording contract A recording contract (commonly called a record contract or record deal) is a legal agreement between a record label A record label, or record company, is a brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies ...
with the
King King is the title given to a male monarch in a variety of contexts. The female equivalent is queen regnant, queen, which title is also given to the queen consort, consort of a king. *In the context of prehistory, antiquity and contempora ...
label's DeLuxe subsidiary. His solo debut "What Can I Do?" reached #12 in the
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...

U.S.
R&B Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated as R&B, is a genre of popular music that originated in African-American communities in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African ...
chart A chart is a graphical representation Graphic communication as the name suggests is communication using graphic elements. These elements include symbols such as glyphs and icon (computing), icons, images such as drawings and photographs, and c ...
, and he followed it up with the less successful "Believe It or Not" and "Have I Sinned?", which became a regional hit in
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh ( ) is a city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States and the county seat of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Allegheny County. A population of 302,971 residents lives within the city limit ...

Pittsburgh
. He continued to release singles on DeLuxe, but with little commercial success, and also played
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...

New York
's
Apollo Theater The Apollo Theater is a music hall Music hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment Entertainment is a form of activity that holds the attention and interest In finance Finance is the study of financial institutio ...

Apollo Theater
and toured the Chitlin' Circuit of African-American owned nightclubs. After completing an album, ''The Sensational Donnie Elbert Sings'', he left DeLuxe in 1959, joining first Red Top Records, where in 1960 he recorded "Someday (You'll Want Me to Want You)", and then Vee-Jay Records, where he had another regional hit with "Will You Ever Be Mine?", which reportedly sold 250,000 copies in the Philadelphia area but failed to take off nationwide. His career was also interrupted by a spell in the US Army, from which he was discharged in 1961. He then recorded singles for several labels, including Parkway Records, Parkway, Cub Records, Cub and Checker Records, Checker, but with little success. However, although the 1965 Gateway Records, Gateway label release of "A Little Piece of Leather" failed to chart in the US, the record became a #27 pop hit when released on the London label in the United Kingdom, UK several years later in 1972, and remains a
Northern soul Northern soul is a music and dance movement that emerged in Northern England Northern England, also known as the North of England or simply the North, is the most northern area of England England is a that is part of the . It share ...
favorite. Elbert relocated to the UK in 1966, where he married. There, he recorded "In Between The Heartaches" for the Polydor label in 1968, a cover version of the Supremes' hit record, hit " Where Did Our Love Go?" and an album of Otis Redding cover versions, ''Tribute To A King''. His 1969 Deram Records, Deram release "Without You" had a rocksteady rhythm, and went to the top of the Jamaican charts. He returned to the US the same year and had his first US chart hit in over a decade with the Rare Bullet release, "Can't Get Over Losing You", which reached #26 on the Billboard R&B chart. The track and its b-side, "Got To Get Myself Together", both written by Elbert, were released several times on different labels in subsequent years. After the success of that record, Elbert moved labels for a re-make of the Supremes' 1964 hit, "Where Did Our Love Go?" on All Platinum Records, All Platinum. It became his biggest hit, reaching #15 on the Billboard pop chart, #6 on the R&B chart, and (in 1972) #8 in the UK. Its follow-up, "Sweet Baby" reached #30 on the R&B chart in early 1972. Elbert then signed with Avco Records, Avco-Embassy, where he entered the recording studio with the successful production team of Hugo & Luigi. His cover of the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), I Can't Help Myself" reached #14 on the Billboard R&B chart, but climbed as high as #2 on the alternative Cashbox R&B chart. Elbert baulked at the label's insistence that he record material associated with Motown and departed with only a few tracks left to record for an album. Even so, the album was released after Avco sold it on to a budget label, Trip. He returned to All Platinum and had a run of minor R&B hits, but left after a disagreement over the claimed authorship of Shirley & Company's R&B chart-topper "Shame, Shame, Shame (Shirley & Company song), Shame Shame Shame", which was credited to label owner Sylvia Robinson. Elbert was also involved in a copyright wrangle over Darrell Banks' major R&B and pop hit in 1966, "Open The Door To Your Heart". He had originally written the song as "Baby Walk Right In" (still its alternative legal title) and given it to Banks, but received no writing credit on the original record. Eventually, the matter was resolved by BMI with a disgruntled Elbert awarded joint authorship with Banks. "Open The Door" has since been given award-winning status by BMI and is one of over 100 songs written or co-written by Elbert. For 1975's "You Keep Me Crying (With Your Lying)", Elbert formed his own label and "I Got to Get Myself Together", appeared on an imprint bearing his surname, but it was among his final recordings. By the mid-1980s, Elbert had retired from performing and became director of A&R for Polygram's Canada, Canadian division. He suffered a massive stroke and died in 1989, at the age of 52.


Discography


Chart singles


Albums

*''The Sensational Donnie Elbert Sings'' (King, 1959) *''Tribute to a King'' (1968) *''Where Did Our Love Go?'' (All Platinum Records, All Platinum, 1971) Billboard 200, U.S. #153, Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, R&B #45 *''Have I Sinned?'' (Deluxe, 1971) *''Stop in the Name of Love'' (Trip, 1972) *''A Little Bit of Leather'' (1972) *''Roots of Donnie Elbert'' (Ember, 1973) *''Dancin' the Night Away'' (All Platinum, 1977)


See also

*List of disco artists (A-E)


References


External links


Donnie Elbert discography at Soulful Kinda Music


{{DEFAULTSORT:Elbert, Donnie 1936 births 1989 deaths Cub Records artists Vee-Jay Records artists All Platinum artists Songwriters from Louisiana Musicians from New Orleans Musicians from Buffalo, New York Northern soul musicians Jay Boy artists 20th-century American singers Songwriters from New York (state) Singers from Louisiana 20th-century American male singers Avco Records artists American male songwriters