Arthur Conley Biography

4 January 1946, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, d. 17 November 2003, Ruurlo, the Netherlands. Recalled as something of a one-hit-wonder, this Otis Redding protégé remains underrated. Conley first recorded for the Atlanta-based NRC label as Arthur And The Corvets. After signing to his mentor Otis Redding’s Jotis label, further singles were leased to Volt and Stax Records before ‘Sweet Soul Music’ (1967) hit both the US R&B and pop charts (number 2 on the latter). A thin reworking of Sam Cooke’s ‘Yeah Man’ found the song’s original lyrics amended to pay homage to several contemporary soul singers. Although ‘Funky Street’ was a US Top 20 hit, Redding’s tragic death forestalled Conley’s progress. Minor successes followed throughout 1968 and 1969 before the singer switched to the Capricorn label in 1971. His debut album, 1967’s Sweet Soul Music, is a strong collection, highlighted by each of his first five singles and two Redding originals.

Later, Conley had a set of recordings for Swamp Dogg released, and then, having relocated to the Netherlands, a live album recorded in Amsterdam in 1980 under his pseudonym of Lee Roberts finally emerged some eight years later. He remained in the rural Dutch town of Ruurlo promoting new bands with his own company Art-Con Productions. Conley succumbed to intestinal cancer in November 2003.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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