Joe Tex

A naturally gifted singer, Joe Tex combined the collective influences of country, gospel and soul music to pioneer and corner the market in a style that became known as "southern soul". Born in Rogers, Texas but mostly raised by his mother in Baytown, he played baritone sax in a high school band and sang in the local Pentecostal church choir. After entering various talent contests he won a trip to New York, where he competed in the amateur competitions at the famous Apollo Theatre, which led to a recording contract - at the age of 19 - with King Records, releasing various tracks without notable success between 1955 and 1957. He claimed to have written the famous song Fever in this period though it was officially credited to Otis Blackwell and Joe Cooley; and Little Willie John's hit version of Fever inspired him to write a riposte, titled Pneumonia. Tex's star, however, rose after James Brown recorded his song Baby You're Right, while his extrovert stage act won many admirers and were said to have strongly influenced Brown, with whom he had a long-running feud. After releasing over 30 tracks without major success, he finally had his first hit in 1966 with Hold On To What You've Got, following it with I Want To (Do Everything For You), A Sweet Woman Like You, Skinny Legs And All and I Gotcha, giving him more R&B hits than any other artist. He became a Muslim in 1966 and retired from music in 1972 to become a full-time minister teaching Islam. However, he returned later in the decade to tour once more and recorded fresh hits, like Under Your Powerful Love and Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman), but had a heart attack and died at home in Texas in August, 1982, aged 47.

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