The Ohio Players / The Ohio Untouchables comprised (at various stages) of:
Robert Ward Snr. - guitar, vocals (Robert Jeryl Ward, b. 15th October 1938, Luthersville, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 25th December 2008, Dry Branch, Georgia, U.S.A.)
Clarence 'Satch' Satchell - sax, flute, vocals (a.k.a. Andrew Noland, b. 15th April 1940, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 30th December 1995, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, U.S.A.)
Ralph 'Pee Wee' Middlebrooks - sax, trumpet (b. Ralph Middlebrooks, 20th August 1939. d. November 1997)
Cornelius Johnson - drums (b. 12th July 1937, Thomasville, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 1st February 2009, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.)
Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner - guitar, vocals
James 'Diamond' Williams - drums, vocals
Clarence 'Chet' Willis - rhythm guitar, vocals
Walter 'Junie' Morrison - piano, lead vocals
Marshall 'Rock' Jones - bass
Robert 'Kuumba' Jones - conga's
William 'Billy' Beck - keyboards, vocals
Dale Allen - lead vocals
Marvin 'Merve' Pierce - trumpet, trombone, vocals
Jimmy Sampson - drums, vocals
Vincent 'Vennie' Thomas - percussion, vocals
Joe Harris - vocals
Reubens Bassini - percussion
Azzedin Weston - percussion
Bobby Lee Fears - vocals
Edmond Weeden - vocals
Ronny 'Diamond' Hoard - guitar, vocals
Bryan Clemmens - bass, vocals
Glynn Sewell - bass
Ronnie Cochran - drums
Less Pell - trumpet, flugelhorn
John Woods - trumpet, flugelhorn
Mark 'T-Bone' Casper - trombone, bass
Greg Webster - drums
Darwin Dortch - bass, vocals
Ronald Nooks - keyboards
'Dr' David Johnson - piano
Michael 'Slyde' Jennings - trombone, vocals
Dean Sims - trumpet
Shawn 'Shawny Mac' Dedrick - vocals
Floyd 'Raw Dog' Bailey - drums
Wes 'Duck Army' Boatman - keyboards
Bruce Napier - trumpet, vocals
Bobby Lee Fears - vocals
Dutch Robinson - vocals
The Ohio Players were one of the biggest funk bands of the 1970's.
The group were formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959 as the Ohio Untouchables.
The Ohio Untouchables line-up included:
Marshall 'Rock' Jones
Clarence 'Satch' Satchell
Ralph 'Pee Wee' Middlebrooks
ohio untouchables / love is amazing - 1962
In 1961, The Ohio Untouchables signed with the Lu-Pine imprint (a label founded by a relative of Robert Ward's), releasing four singles, including their debut song called 'Love Is Amazing', along with I'm Tired' b/w 'Up Town' , 'What To Do' b/w 'She's My Hearts Desire' and 'Forgive Me Darling'.
i'm tired b/w up town - 1962 / i found a love - 1961
The Ohio Untouchables existed for an eight year period during which time Robert Ward left for a solo career (later becoming a session guitarist for Motown Records).
The other band members returned to Dayton and enlisted:
Gregory Webster (drums)
Leroy 'Sugarfoot' Bonner (guitar)
Gregory and Sugarfoot joined the group in 1964, later adding two more singers, Bobby Lee Fears and Dutch Robinson, seeing the group become the house band for the Compass Records imprint, in New York in 1967.
The Ohio Untouchables became the Ohio Players in early 1968.
where is the party? - helena ferguson -1968 / first impressions - 1968
The group played on the singer Helena Ferguson's hit, 'Where Is the Party', before issuing their solo debut song, 'Trespassin', which reached the R&B charts in early 1968.
The Players then left the Compass imprint, with their first album release being a compilation of their early Compass sides called 'First Impressions'.
observations in time - 1968 / pain - 1971
Relocating to Capitol Records, they released the song 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow' in 1969, along with an LP entitled 'Observations in Time'.
The set featured cover versions of the songs 'Summertime', 'Mother In Law' and 'Over the Rainbow', the latter being played at the actress, Judy Garland's funeral.
The Ohio Untouchables separated again in 1970, reforming shortly afterwards, featuring Sugarfoot, Satchell, Pee Wee, Rock, Gregory Webster, trumpeter Bruce Napier, Charles Dale Allen, Marvin Pierce, and Walter 'Junie' Morrison.
The Ohio Players had a minor hit on the Detroit, Michigan based Westbound imprint in 1971 with 'Pain' (original releases were for the Rubber Town Sounds imprint), which reached the Top 40 on the Billboard R&B Chart.
pleasure - 1972 / ecstasy - 1973
A parent album followed (of the same name), followed a year later by the album 'Pleasure' (which featured the later hit 'Funky Worm').
'Ecstacy' was released in 1973, followed by 'Climax' a year later.
Dale Allen shared co-lead vocals on some of the early Westbound material, although he was not credited on their albums 'Pain' and 'Pleasure'.
In 1972, the group had their first hit song, entitled 'Funky Worm'.
The single reached number 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 that year.
By 1974, the group had signed with Mercury Records.
The group's ensemble had changed it's line-up one more time, with Billy Beck, taking over the role of Junie Morrison (who left to join Parliament) and Jimmy 'Diamond' Williams taking over from Gregory Webster.
Further musicians were enlisted to the Players ranks, including Clarence 'Chet' Willis (as a second guitarist/vocalist) and Robert 'Rumba' Jones (on conga's).
Between 1973 and 1976 the group had their most lucrative period of success.
climax - 1974 / skin tight - 1974
'Skin Tight' featured the title track, along with the funky 'Streakin' Cheek To Cheek' and the Soul Music classic 'Heaven Must Be Like This' (a song which the singer Omar stated, influenced his own song, 'There's Nothing Like This').
fire - 1975 / honey - 1975
'Fire' was probably the most successful album of this period, with the title track (number 1 on both the R&B and pop chart for two weeks and one week respectively in February 1975 and another million seller), also featuring 'Together', 'Running From The Devil' (which inspired the Van Halen song “Runnin’ With the Devil') and 'It's All Over'.
1975's album release 'Honey' featured the songs 'Sweet Sticky Thing' and 'Love Rollercoaster' (number 1 on both the R&B and pop charts for one week in January 1976).
During this period, the Ohio Players became renowned for their sexually explicit album covers, which were much sought after modelling contracts at the time.
rattlesnake - 1975 / contradiction - 1976
Their last sizeable hit came in the form of 'Who'd She Coo?' (taken from the album 'Contradiction'), which was a number 1 R&B hit in August 1976.
gold - 1976 / Angel - 1977
That year also saw the release of 'Rattlesnake', which was a compilation of earlier material.
In 1977, the group released the album 'Angel', featuring the dancer 'O-H-I-O'.
mr. mean - 1977 / jass-ay-lay-dee - 1978
Later in 1977, the album 'Mr. Mean' was released, followed by 'Jass-Ay-Lay-Dee' in 1978.
everybody up - 1979 / tenderness - 1981
The group then left the Mercury stable, relocating to Arista Records for 'Everybody Up', a lone album at that imprint.
Signing to Boardwalk Records in 1981, the Players released 'Tenderness', which featured a couple of Otis Redding cover versions of Soul classics, namely 'Try A Little Tenderness' and 'Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay'.
ouch! - 1982 / graduation - 1984
1982's album 'Ouch' was part penned and produced by Richard 'Dimples' Fields.
In 1984, the group had moved label again, this time to Century Vista Records for the album 'Graduation'.
sugarfoot - sugar kiss - 1985 / back - 1988
Sugarfoot released a solo album in 1985, entitled 'Sugar Kiss', which was produced by Zapp's, Roger Troutman.
A reshaped Ohio Players recorded throughout the 80's, and scored a minor soul hit in 1988 with 'Sweat', which was taken from a comeback album called 'Back'.
They continued to tour throughout the 1990's.
jam - 1996 / ol' school (on tour) - 1997
In 1996, an album called 'Jam' was released, which featured, as the title might suggest, some 'live' studio recordings of some of the group's past songs, followed by another couple of live albums called 'Ol School - On Tour' (in 1997) and 'Ohio Players On Tour' (in 2003).
ohio players on tour - 2003 / trespassin' - 2004
Charly Records released an album called 'Trespassin' in 2004, which was essentially a compilation of late Sixties, early Seventies material.
Robert Ward died on Christmas day in 2008 in Dry Branch, Georgia, due to health complications.
Clarence Satchell passed away following a brain aneurysm in 1995.
Ralph 'Pee Wee' Middlebrooks passed away in November 1997.
Cornelius Johnson was found dead in 2009 in Dayton, Ohio.
First Impressions (Westbound Records 1968)
Observations In Time (Westbound Records 1969)
Pain (Westbound Records 1972)
Pleasure (Westbound Records 1973)
Ecstasy (Westbound Records 1973)
Climax 'A Collection Of Out-takes' (Westbound Records 1974)
Skin Tight (Mercury Records 1974)
Fire (Mercury Records 1974)
Honey (Mercury Records 1975)
Rattlesnake (Westbound Records 1975)
Contradiction (Mercury Records 1976)
Angel (Mercury Records 1977)
Mr. Mean (Mercury Records 1977)
Jass-Ay-Lay-Dee (Mercury Records 1978)
Everybody Up (Arista Records 1979)
Tenderness (Boardwalk Records 1981)
Ouch! (Epic Records 1982)
Graduation (Century Vista Records 1984)
Back (Track Records 1988)
O-H-I-O (Polygram Records 1989)
Jam (Mercury Records 1996)
O'l School (Intersound Records 1997)
Ohio Players On Tour (live) (Mastersong Records 2003)
Trespassin' (Charly Records 2004)