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Maze's Frankie Beverly started his career on tour with The Silhouettes, a popular doo wop group, the twelve-year old Beverly had previously sang gospel music in church. The Silhouettes had a hit entitled Get a job, which was the influence for the Smokey Robinson hit, Got a job. Many members of the group knew of him (as they lived in the same neighborhood). When they lost their lead vocalist, they invited Beverly to join their group, which he toured with for a year or so.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was just a few years away. Shortly afterwards, he formed The Blenders, a short-lived arcapella, doo-wop group that were influenced by The Dells, The Moonglows, and The Del Vikings. After that outfit dissolved, he founded The Butlers, which would be the first group he recorded with in 1963. As time passed, they caught the attention of veteran producer Kenny Gamble, who eventually released recordings by the group.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, a square peg in a round hole? It turned out that music performed by The Butlers did not fit into the "Philly Sound", and after some heavy touring, the group relocated to California. The unit was rechristened as Raw Soul and caught the attention a sister-in-law to Marvin Gaye. He was so enamored by the act, he had them as an opening act at his shows. Gaye also convinced Beverly to have the band's name changed to Maze.
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was adored by Marvin Gaye. Gaye was so inspired by the group that he took them out on the road, letting them perform some of their original material as an opening act, "really hanging in there with us, paying our rent, helping us in every way he could.
"He loved me like a little brother and certainly working with him helped bring our demos back to life. We sent them out again - the first time around, no one was interested. This time, we got a call from Larkin Arnold at Capitol Records about a week after he got the tape...and we had our first record deal!"
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly are hit makers. The story of Maze's rise to fame and consistent success has been well documented but, for the record, the band - under Frankie's creative direction and leadership - has enjoyed a run of close to thirty hit singles since 1977, nine of which have been Top 10 R&B charted singles including the classics "Running Away," "Love Is The Key," "Back In Stride," "Too Many Games," "Can't Get Over You," and "Silky Soul." Eight of the group's ten albums have gone gold, all the way from their 1977 Capitol debut to the 1993 Warner Brothers' album, "Back To Basics."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly cross the pond. In 1981, Frankie and company made their first trip to the U.K., blowing audiences away with their dynamic 'live' performances and establishing a bond that continues to this day. The acceptance of the group's music in Europe was a defining event for Frankie: "It was unbelievable to me! I was looking for black folks to be at the shows because that's basically who makes up our audiences here - and when I looked out there, I saw a crowd that was 99% white, grooving, digging our music..."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly look back. When Frankie reflects on over thirty years as a music maker, he says that the early years spent paying dues "prepared me for what has happened to me and the band. By the time we started being successful, we were ready and we didn't get overwhelmed or caught up in all that 'star' stuff. I was just thankful that people liked our music. But when I started out, I never looked for any of this...I mean, it blows me away that our logo has caught on and that people even have a 'thing' about my hat, which has become almost like my personal trademark. You see, I would have been happy selling 20,000 or 30,000 albums. To have all these gold records is much more then I ever hoped for..."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly break new artists. In addition to giving audiences a truly exciting 'live' musical show on consistent yearly tours, Frankie has also been responsible for introducing several artists to the public. "I guess beyond what we've done with Maze, the second thing I'm most proud of is that we've supported other artists. We were the first group to give Natalie Cole a chance during her comeback years (in the mid-'80s). We took Anita Baker out as our opening act on her first national tour and did the same thing with Regina Belle and Toni Braxton...and it makes me feel great to see how each of those artists has gone to have great success..."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly reflect again...Asked what he wants to accomplish in the future, Frankie reflects, "The biggest thing is being able to keep up with what people expect of us. My thing is trying never to let the people down. You know, I still get butterflies real bad before I go on stage but once I hit that stage, I'm ready. But I don't take anything for granted and I know you have to earn your wings everyday..."
Maze featuring Frankie Beverly are a Bay Area band. A Bay Area resident since the band moved there in the mid-'70s, Frankie says that his main personal goal is "to maintain. I don't want to lose my 'thing.' I'd like to refine what I do and maybe say more in my music. But I feel so blessed: people show that they really respect me and the band and I just want to keep giving the people what they want..."
Maze feat. Frankie Beverly Song List
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