Players

An R&B vocal group from Chicago, Illinois, USA. The original members of the band were lead Herbert Butler, Collis Gordon and John Thomas. The Players were formed in 1966 when Gordon and Thomas recruited Butler to sing lead for them on a song they had written, ‘He’ll Be Back’, a marvellous lament about the plight of a girl whose boyfriend was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. The trio was recorded by Calvin Carter, the long-time producer at Vee Jay Records, and signed with the west coast-based Minit Records subsidiary of Imperial Records. In the middle of the session Carter replaced Gordon and Thomas in the background with the veteran Dells. ‘He’ll Be Back’ became a national hit (number 24 R&B), deservedly so, but the follow-up, ‘I’m Glad I Waited’ (number 32 R&B), lacking the back-up talent of the Dells and the songwriting talents of Gordon and Thomas, was a pale reflection of the previous hit. The Players made an album and toured with a new line-up of Butler, Joe Brackenridge, Otha Lee Givens and Tommie Johnson, but with no more forthcoming hits, they eventually faded.

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