Ignored Obscured Restored
In 1967 The Soul Survivors had a major hit with “Expressway to Your Heart.” Yesterday their lead singer, Kenny Jeremiah, died from the COVID virus.
The New York/New Jersey-based Soul Survivors were formed by three white guys – Jeremiah and the Ingui brothers, Richie and Charlie – to play the R&B music they loved. They connected with Philadelphia based Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who wrote “Expressway…”, their first hit. Of course, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Gamble and Huff would go on to write and produce many ‘70s soul classics like “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” (Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes), “Me and Mrs. Jones” (Billy Paul), and the major hits for the O’Jays – “The Backstabbers”, “Love Train”, and “For the Love of Money.”
“Expressway..” began as a regional hit in the NY/Philadelphia corridor. Eventually it expanded nationally and landed at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 but went even higher to #3 on the R&B chart!
Besides the traffic horn sound effects, I always dug how Jeremiah goes into his Elvis Presley voice on the pre-chorus.
I was wrong, baby, I took too long
I got caught in the rush hour
A fellow started to shower
You with love and affection
Come on, look in my direction
“Expressway…” has been covered by other New Jersey rock royalty Bruce Springsteen (in concert during the Working on a Dream tour) and Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes (on the Adventures in Babysitting soundtrack).
Sadly, the original Soul Survivor couldn’t be a COVID survivor. This thing is real. Wear a mask!
Enjoy… until next week.