Benny Spellman Biography

11 December 1931, Pensacola, Florida, USA. Although a minor hit by chart standards, Benny Spellman’s ‘Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)’ is one of the most fondly recalled New Orleans R&B hits of the early 60s and was subsequently revived by the O’Jays. Its b-side, ‘Fortune Teller’, impressed the young Rolling Stones enough for them to cover it. Spellman won a talent contest at college and, after a stint in the army, went professional, joining Huey Smith And The Clowns in New Orleans. In 1959, Spellman was signed to Minit Records but had little luck with his first few releases. To make ends meet he took a job as a background studio vocalist, appearing on Ernie K-Doe’s ‘Mother-In-Law’, among others. Spellman’s two-sided hit came in 1962, both songs having been penned by famed producer/writer Allen Toussaint. Benny was unable to follow it with further hits and left music in 1968. He returned to the profession in the late 80s, appearing locally in New Orleans, but prior to that made his living in the 70s as a public relations executive for Miller Beer. He never recorded an album, although the singles sessions have been compiled.

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

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