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major lance

Major Lance

b. Major Lance, 4th April 1941, Winterville, Mississippi, U.S.A

d. 3rd September 1994, Decatur, Georgia, U.S.A.

Major Lance was born in Winterville, Mississippi.

As a child he relocated to Chicago, where he was initially raised on the west side of the city, before he moved near the north.

While studying at Wells High School, Lance began boxing.

Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler also went to the same school.

His interests soon veered towards music and this new interest led to him forming the group the Floats with Otis Leavill and Barbara Tyson.

Lance also sang with the Five Gospel Harmonaires.

His dancing earned him a spot on a local program hosted by disc jockey Jim Lounsbury.

Major Lance

i got a girl b/w phyllis - 1959

His 1959 Mercury release, 'I Got A Girl', was written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, a high school contemporary, but Major's career was not truly launched until he signed with OKeh Records three years later.

In the meantime he took various jobs to supplement his income.

Major LanceMajor Lance

the monkey time - 1963 / um um um um - 1964

'Delilah' opened his OKeh stint, whilst another Curtis Mayfield song, 'The Monkey Time', in 1963, reached number two on the R & B charts and number eight pop.

Major Lance

The partnership between singer and songwriter continued through 1963-64 with a string of US pop chart hits: 'Hey Little Girl', 'Um Um Um Um Um Um', 'The Matador' and 'Rhythm'.

'Ain't That A Shame', in 1965, marked a break in his relationship with Curtis Mayfield as its commercial success faded.

Several singles followed, notably 'Investigate' and 'Ain't No Soul (In These Rock n' Roll Shoes)', however, Lance left OKeh for Dakar Records in 1968 where 'Follow The Leader' became a minor R & B hit.

Two 1970 releases on Curtom, 'Stay Away From Me' and 'Must Be Love Coming Down', marked a reunion with Curtis Mayfield.

From there, Lance moved to Volt, Playboy and Osiris, the last of which he co-owned with AI Jackson, a former member of Booker T. And The MG's.

Major LanceMajor LanceMajor LanceMajor Lance

greatest hits - 1973 / now arriving - 1978 / live at hinckley - 1982 / the major's back - 1983

There was a two-year stay in Britain (1972-74), during which Lance recorded for Contempo and Warner Brothers.

Shortly afterward, his career too a turn for the worse, when in 1978 he was convicted of selling cocaine.

Lance spent the next four years in prison.

Upon his release, he began playing the Beach Music circuit on the Carolina coast (a revival of his earlier work prompted the liaison).

Tragedy hit again in 1987, when a heart attack prevented him from re-launching his career.

The Major was left nearly blind from glaucoma.

In 1994, he performed at the Chicago Blues Festival, a show which turned out to be his last.

Major Lance died of heart failure on 3rd September 1994, at the age of 55, leaving a fine legacy embedded within the fabric of Soul Music.

Major Lance

Real Player


Monkey Time (Edsel Records 1963)

Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um (OKeh Records 1964)

The Rhythm of Major Lance (OKeh Records 1968)

Major Lance's Greatest Hits - Recorded Live At The Torch (Contempo Records 1973)

Now Arriving (Soul Records 1978)

The Majors Back (Kat Family Records 1983)

Live At Hinkley (Torch Records 1986)

Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um (Collectables Records 2003)

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