In early 1969, The Nomads met The Montereys, and formed a band and a singing group consisting of lead guitarist and founding member Stephen Shockley, Mark Wood, Tiemeyer McCain, Tony White, and Brian Marbury. The two groups played together in musical revues in the tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
When The Montereys left the Tri-State area later in 1969 to pursue opportunities in New York City, Stephen Shockley and The Nomads remained behind. Mark Wood, the other Nomads, and Stephen Shockley soon added other instrumentalists; the result was The Nomads and The Young Underground. In 1971, The Nomads and The Young Underground took on a new, singular identity: With the addition of Thomas Shelby and sister of Mark Wood’s sister Shirley Wood, they became Ohio Lakeside Express. In 1971, the group became acquainted with Eddie Thomas of Curtom, a record label owned and operated by Mr. Thomas and his partner, Curtis Mayfield.[ Eddie Thomas left Curtom to form his own label: “Lakeside”, which he named after the south-side of Chicago. Lakeside, the label, signed Ohio Lakeside Express, the band, with the band soon dropping “Ohio”, and ultimately the “Express” as well, in favor of “Lakeside”. Eddie Thomas had a number of producers expressing interest in producing an album for Lakeside, but nothing materialized at this stage in their career. That would soon change, as Shirley chose not to pursue her singing career – so they added a new singer named Ricky Abernathy.
At “Mavericks Flats”, another of the big-time venues of the day, by now they added another vocalist (Otis Stokes) to replace Ricky Abernathy, and a new percussionist (Fred Lewis). The group was seen by Dick Griffey, a promoter handling successful artists like Stevie Wonder. Impressed by the group, he offered his friendship and advice, and began informally managing Lakeside in early 1974. It was also in 1974 that Lakeside met Frank Wilson and signed a deal with Motown. Things seemed to be looking up for the band. Unfortunately, Motown was promoting/prioritizing other groups, and shelved what they had produced for Lakeside. When Frank Wilson left Motown in 1976 for ABC Dunhill, Lakeside went with him.
It was in 1977 that Lakeside’s success really started to accelerate. That year, the group, going by the name Lakeside released their self-titled debut album, which featured the single, “If I Didn’t Have You”. It was also around this time that the group debuted on Soul Train, performing a Beloyd Taylor and Peter Cor composition “Shine On”, which helped pave the way for what was to come. As fate would have it the time had come for Lakeside to be a major player in creating the next chapter, with the addition of barefoot drummer Fred Alexander Jr. At this time the group was being approached by Whitfield Records, Motown and Solar Records. In the end, the band chose Solar Records, owned by Dick Griffey, with stable mates The Whispers, Shalamar, Midnight Star, Klymaxx, and Carrie Lucas.
What was to come involved Dick Griffey, the producer who had befriended and managed Lakeside since 1975. In 1978, Mr. Griffey started Solar Records. At that same time, Norman Whitfield had been courting the group to sign with his Whitfield Records, but Dick offered the group a chance to write and co-produce their own music, which Norman was not willing to do. With that, the group decided to sign with Dick’s new label. Parting amicably with Frank Wilson, Lakeside became a part of the Solar family. At this point, the band released their next album, Shot of love later in 1978. Their first Solar album featured songs all written by members of the band and co-produced with Solar staff producer, Leon Sylvers III With this album, the band began to find major success on the R&B charts, when the single “It’s All the Way Live” reached #4. Shot of Love was certified Gold for sales over 500,000 in the United States.
The band, at this point consisting of bassist Marvin Craig, drummer Fred Alexander, percussionist Fred Lewis, guitarist Steve Shockley, keyboardist Norman Beavers, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Otis Stokes, additional lead vocalist Mark Wood, background vocalists Tiemeyer McCain and Thomas Shelby found their niche with a sound that stemmed from years of playing together. The band dressed in costumes on their album covers, including pirates, 1920’s police officers, cowboys, Arabian knights, and even Robin Hood.
Despite the success of Shot of Love and “It’s All the Way Live”, the next album, Rough Riders, didn’t fare as well. However, the following album, 1980’s Fantastic Voyage, exceeded all expectations. Its eponymous single, “Fantastic Voyage” went to reach number one on the R&B charts. The tune remains the band’s biggest hit, also hitting the pop charts (their only hit to date to do so), where it peaked at number 55. Fantastic Voyage was certified Platinum and remains the group’s greatest achievement. They followed this hit up with a remake of the Beatles’ song, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, which made the R&B Top Ten again.
Subsequent to the Fantastic Voyage album, Lakeside would go on to release six more successful ones. More hits on the R&B charts kept the group going until their change in the late 1980s. Lakeside had R&B hits such as “Raid”(1983), “Outrageous”(1984). But New Jack Swing Boom was coming, so “Bullseye”(1987) was their last R&B hit.
Tyrone Griffin – one of the later members of Lakeside – has a son in the music industry, Tyrone Griffin, Jr.- known to the public as singer Ty Dolla $ign.
- Mark Adam Wood Jr.: lead vocals, piano, keyboards; 1969–present
- Tiemeyer McCain: vocals; 1969–1986
- Thomas Shelby: vocals; 1970–1983, 2007–Present
- Stephen Shockley: lead guitar; 1969–Present
- Norman Beavers: keyboards; 1969–1987
- Marvin Craig: bass guitar; 1973–Present
- Fred Lewis: percussion; 1974–Present
- Otis Stokes: guitars, bass, lead vocals; 1975–1986
- Fred Alexander Jr: drums; 1977–Present
- Brian Marbury: 1969-1970 (deceased ’09)
- Tony White: 1969-1970
- Vincent Beavers: 1969-1975
- Terry Williams: 1969-1975
- Ricky Abernathy: 1969-1975
- Shirley Wood: 1970-1971
- Johnny Rogers: ????-Present
- Will Shelby: 1993–Present
- Donald Tavie: 1985–Til Passing in 2011
- Barrington Henderson: 1986-1995
- Larry Bolden: 1989-1996
- Floyd Bailey:1975-1977
- Tyrone Griffin Sr: 1995-1997
- Dale E Wilson Sr: 1969- 1977
- Roc Phizzle: 2018- Present
The origins of Soul Train can be traced to 1965 when WCIU-TV, an upstart UHF station in Chicago, began airing two youth-oriented dance programs: Kiddie-a-Go-Goand Red Hot and Blues. These programs—specifically the latter, which featured a predominantly African-American group of in-studio dancers—would set the stage for what was to come to the station several years later. Don Cornelius, a news reader and backup disc jockey at Chicago radio station WVON, was hired by WCIU in 1967 as a news and sports reporter. Cornelius also was promoting and emceeing a touring series of concerts featuring local talent (sometimes called “record hops”) at Chicago-area high schools, calling his traveling caravan of shows “The Soul Train”. WCIU-TV took notice of Cornelius’s outside work and in 1970, allowed him the opportunity to bring his road show to television.
After securing a sponsorship deal with the Chicago-based retailer Sears, Roebuck & Co., Soul Train premiered on WCIU-TV on August 17, 1970, as a live show airing weekday afternoons. The first episode of the program featured Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lites, and the Emotions as guests. Cornelius was assisted by Clinton Ghent, a local professional dancer who appeared on early episodes before moving behind the scenes as a producer and secondary host.
Soul Train is an American music-dance television program which aired in syndication from October 2, 1971 to March 27, 2006. In its 35-year history, the show primarily featured performances by R&B, soul, dance/pop and hip hop artists, although funk, jazz, disco and gospel artists also appeared. The series was created by Don Cornelius, who also served as its first host and executive producer.
Production was suspended following the 2005–2006 season, with a rerun package (known as The Best of Soul Train) airing for two years subsequently. As a nod to Soul Train’s longevity, the show’s opening sequence during later seasons contained a claim that it was the “longest-running first-run, nationally syndicated program in American television history,” with over 1,100 episodes produced from the show’s debut through the 2005–2006 season. Despite the production hiatus, Soul Train held that superlative until 2016, when Entertainment Tonight surpassed it completing its 35th season. Among non-news programs, Wheel of surpassed that mark in 2018.
The program’s immediate success attracted the attention of another locally based firm—the Johnson Products Company(manufacturers of the Afro Sheen line of hair-care products)and they later agreed to co-sponsor the program’s expansion into national syndication. Cornelius and Soul Train‘s syndicator targeted 25 markets outside of Chicago to carry the show, but stations in only seven other cities—Atlanta, Birmingham, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia—purchased the program, which began airing on a weekly basis on October 2, 1971. By the end of the first season, Soul Trainwas on in the other eighteen markets. When the program moved into syndication, its home base was also shifted to Los Angeles, where it remained for the duration of its run. Soul Train was part of a national trend toward syndicated music-oriented programs targeted at niche audiences; two other network series (Hee Haw for country music, and The Lawrence Welk Showfor traditional music) also entered syndication in 1971 and would go on to have long runs.
Though Don Cornelius moved his operations west, a local version of Soul Train continued in Chicago; Cornelius hosted both the local Chicago and Los Angeles–based national programs simultaneously but soon focused his attention solely on the national edition. He continued to oversee production in Chicago, where Clinton Ghent hosted episodes on WCIU-TV until 1976, followed by three years of once-weekly reruns. The syndicated version was picked up in the Chicago market by CBS-owned WBBM-TV at its launch; the program moved to WGN-TV in 1977 and remained there for the rest of its run.
Don Cornelius hosted every national episode of Soul Train during this era except for one: comedian Richard Pryor. guest hosted the final episode of the 1974-75 season.