GIVE ME TH E BEAT BOYS
ON STAG E A N D O N TH E CH A RT S Gray tried out a range of styles, including country, disco, and gospel. He was hugely popular in the UK with Northern Soul fans, especially with his 1966 hit, “Out On The Floor.” His version of “Loving Arms” was a much-covered repertory item for several big artists, the most famous being Elvis Presley. After taking acting lessons in the late 60s, Dobie spent two years in the Los Angeles production of “Hair,” and eventually replaced Ben Vereen in the starring role. A popular singer and performer in Germany and Africa, Gray stirred controversy in apartheid South Africa when he insisted on performing to integrated audiences. He tried to make a name for himself in Nashville, but couldn’t find a way to break into the big time. He did, however, become a prolific writer of songs for other artists, including Ray Charles, Charlie Pride, Tammy Wynette, John Denver, Julio Iglesias, George Jones, Johnny Mathis, and Leon Russell. He also worked some Dick Clark shows with Bobby Goldsboro and recorded many TV advertising jingles for Budweiser, Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, and McDonald’s. Plus, his voice can be heard on a number of movie and TV soundtracks.
D R I FT AWAY But the big breakaway for Dobie Gray was, without a doubt, the No. 5 Chartbuster, “Drift Away.” With an impressive guitar lick in the intro and one of the most memorable sing-along choruses ever written, Drift Away sold more than a million copies and has been recorded by countless artists like Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Bruce Springsteen, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and Rod Stewart, just to name a few. For more than four decades and before passing on from cancer on December 6, 2011, Dobie Gray’s distinctive voice graced record charts all over the world. Through his talent and performing style, he earned the respect and admiration of his peers as a singer’s singer and a songwriter’s songwriter.
HAV I N G TH E T I M E OF H I S L I FE According to All Music Guide to Soul — The Definitive Guide to R&B and Soul, Dobie Gray was an “artist who was totally unafraid to sing what he wanted, whether it be rock and roll, soul, or country”. . .
F ULSHEA R MA G A ZIN E
“Best of all, he always sounded as if he was having the time of his life.” d
Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me - I want you to know I believe in your song - And rhythm and rhyme and harmony - You’ve helped me along - Makin’ me strong
Oh, give me the beat boys...
Letter to the city of Simonton from Dobie Gray.