Archie Bell and the Drells comprised of:
Archie Bell (b. 1st September 1944, Henderson, Texas, U.S.A)
James Wise (b. 1st May 1948, Houston, Texas, U.S.A)
Willie Pernell (b. 12th April 1945, Houston, Texas, U.S.A)
Archie Bell & The Drells were all students at the Leo Smith Junior High School, in Houston, Texas.
Archie joined a vocal group called Little Pop & the Fireballs, and formed the Drells in high school with friends James Wise, Huey 'Billy' Butler, and Joe Cross (later replaced by Willie Pernell).
When they cut their first outing for Ovid label in 1967, the group consisted of Bell, Wise, Huey 'Billy' Butler and Joe Cross.
The Drells won several local talent shows, performing a repertoire dominated by Chicago soul, and were discovered by local DJ Skipper Lee Frazier, who became their manager and producer.
The single was released by Atlantic Records.
Although initially a poor seller, their single found real success after the b-side was given airplay, the A Side being a song called 'Dog Eat Dog'.
'Tighten Up' sold in excess of three million copies and reached number 1 in both the U.S. R & B and pop charts.
Prior to that release Archie Bell & the Drells recorded a single for Skipper Frazier's Ovid label, 'She's My Woman,' which became a regional hit in 1966.
Archie learned of the song's success while recovering from wounds suffered in Vietnam, and with Atlantic requesting a full album, he began traveling to and from the States on leave.
The Drells continued recording, now with the production team of Gamble And Huff.
Archie & the Drells started recording regularly with the duo, a partnership that produced several more R & B hits in 'I Can't Stop Dancing,' 'Do the Choo-Choo,' and '(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown' (the former two in 1968, the latter in 1969).
Also in 1969, Butler left the group and was replaced by Lee Bell, Archie's brother, who became the Drells' choreographer.
For live performances, fake 'Archie Bells' were enlisted and whenever possible, the real Bell would join them in the studio.
'Here I Go Again', an early Atlantic master, became a belated U.K. chart hit in 1972.
Reunited with Gamble and Huff in 1975, they enjoyed several R & B successes on their TS0P/ Philadelphia International label, including 'Let's Groove (Part 1)' (1976) and 'Soul City Walk' (1975) which entered the U.K. Top 20 in 1976.
U.K. fans will look to their album 'Where Will You Go When The Party's Over' (1976) as, perhaps, the groups highlight.
The album contained the evergreen 'Don't Let Love Get You Down'.
Archie Bell recorded a solo album for the Becket label in 1981 and charted with the single 'Any Time Is Right'.
He still actively pursues a singing career within the U.S. east coast scene.
the current line up: archie bell, neal sharpe and alfred manor
Tighten Up (Atlantic Records 1968)
I Can't Stop Dancing (Atlantic Records 1968)
There's Gonna Be A Showdown (Atlantic Records 1969)
Dance Your Troubles Away (TS0P Records 1976)
Where Will You Go, When The Party's Over (TSOP Records 1976)
Hard Not To Like It (TSOP Records 1977)
Strategy (TSOP Records 1979)
Archie Bell - I Never Had It So Good (Becket Records 1981)