Blue Magic

Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1972, Blue Magic is a popular ‘Philly Soul’ band founded by tenor vocalist Ted ‘Wizard’ Mills and originally featuring tenor Keith ‘Duke’ Beaton, baritone brothers Wendell and Vernon Sawyer, and bass Richard Pratt. The group’s 1973 debut single, “Spell,” reached Number 30 on Billboard’s R&B Singles chart and was followed by the Top 40 single “Look Me Up.” Their self-titled album – produced by Norman Harris and featuring the MFSB house band – was released in 1974 and also featured the group’s first Top 10 hit, “Sideshow.” Later that same year, they released their sophomore album, The Magic of the Blue, which included the Number 36 hit “Three Ring Circus.” In 1975, they issued their third album, Thirteen Blue Magic Lane, which featured the Top 20 single “Chasing Rainbows” and the hit remake of their own “What’s Come Over Me” with new co-lead vocals by Margie Joseph. A world tour ensued, and the band’s next album was 1976’s Live. Their commercial fortunes changed when their next album, Mystic Dragons, failed to make the Top 40 on the R&B Albums chart and barely made into the Billboard 200. Their fifth album, Message from the Magic, failed to chart and the group was dropped by their label, ATCO. Wendell and Vernon Sawyer left the group but returned in time to appear on Blue Magic’s next album, Welcome Back (1981). Amidst line-up changes, the group released the albums Magic # (1983) and From Out of the Blue (1989), which featured the original line-up, but neither matched the success of their early albums. Leader Ted Mills was involved in a life-threatening car accident and was replaced by Rod Wayne. In 2017, the original five members participated in an episode of the TV series Unsung, which focused on forgotten Soul artists. A new line-up of Blue Magic released the albums Your Spell Stayed on My Mind (2019) and Share a Dream (2020). Lead vocalist Rod Wayne died on November 14, 2016. Original bass vocalist Richard Pratt died on March 1, 2022. Original tenor vocalist Keith Beaton died on January 14, 2023.

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