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The O'Jays


Sammy Strain of the O’Jays is born in Brooklyn, New York.


William Powell of the O’Jays is born in Canton, Ohio.


Eddie Levert of the O’Jays is born in Canton, Ohio.


Walter Williams of the O’Jays is born in Canton, Ohio.


The Mascots, an R&B vocal quintet from Canton, Ohio, issue two singles for Syd Nathan’s King label. Soon they will rename themselves the O’Jays.


The O’Jays first album, Comin’ Through, is released on Imperial Records.


The O’Jays become a quartet when founding member Bill Isles leaves to concentrate on songwriting.


The O’Jays’ “Stand In for Love” reaches #12 on the R&B chart, the biggest hit in their three-year run at Imperial.


Having moved to the Bell label, the O’Jays score a Top Ten R&B hit with “I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today).”


While performing in New York, the O’Jays meet rising songwriter/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. The group signs to their Neptune label, a Chess subsidiary, on which they’ll release six singles.


The O’Jays become a trio when founding member Bobby Massey quits to become a record producer.


The O’Jays are the first group signed to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s new Philadelphia International label.


“Back Stabbers,” the title track from the O’Jays’ album of the same name, enters the singles charts. This epochal crossover hit (#1 R&B, #3 pop) will establish the Philly Soul sound.


“Love Train,” by the O’Jays, enters the R&B charts. It will be the group’s biggest hit, topping both the R&B and pop charts.


The hit-filled Back Stabbers, by the O’Jays, becomes the first of ten gold and platinum albums for the trio.


The O’Jays’ most ambitious album, Ship Ahoy, is released. The first of four O’Jays albums to sell over a million copies, it yields “Put Your Hands Together” (#2 R&B, #10 pop) and “For the Love of Money” (#3 R&B, #9 pop).


The O’Jays Live in London, recorded in December 1973, is released.


Family Reunion, by the O’Jays, cements their reign as kings of Philly Soul, yielding the disco anthem “I Love Music” (#1 R&B, #5 pop).


Sammy Strain replaces an ailing Walter Powell in the O’Jays. He’ll remain with the group until 1993, when he rejoined Little Anthony and the Imperials.


Message in Our Music, by the O’Jays, is released. It contains three #1 R&B hits


Walter Powell of the O’Jays dies of cancer at his home in Canton, Ohio.


“Use Ta Be My Girl,” by the O’Jays, enters the R&B charts, which it will top for five weeks. It will also reach #4 on the pop chart and propel the album So Full of Love to #6.


“Lovin’ You,” by the O’Jays, enters the R&B charts. It will become the final #1 hit in their fifteen-year run with songwriter/producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.


The O’Jays release Emotionally Yours, which yields a trio of Top Five R&B hits


The O’Jays receive the Rhythm & Blues Foundation’s Pioneer Award at a ceremony in New York. Eddie Levert’s son Gerald is their presenter.


The O’Jays are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum