Joe Tex Biography

Joseph Arrington Jnr., 8 August 1933, Rogers, Texas, USA, d. 13 August 1982, Navasota, Texas, USA. The professional career of this popular singer began onstage at the Apollo. He won first place in a 1954 talent contest and duly secured a record deal. Releases on King Records, Ace Records and the Anna labels were derivative and disappointing, but Tex meanwhile honed his songwriting talent. James Brown’s version of ‘Baby You’re Right’ (1962) became a US R&B number 2, after which Tex was signed by Buddy Killen, a Nashville song publisher, who in turn established Dial as a recording outlet. Although early releases showed promise, it was not until 1965 that Tex prospered. Recorded at Fame and distributed by Atlantic Records, ‘Hold On To What You’ve Got’ was a US Top 5 hit. The first of several preaching singles, its homely values were maintained on ‘A Woman Can Change A Man’ and ‘The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)’. However, Joe was equally comfortable on uptempo songs, as ‘S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)’ (1966) and ‘Show Me’ (1967) proved. Later releases were less successful and although ‘Skinny Legs And All’ and ‘Men Are Gettin’ Scarce’ showed him still capable of major hits, the singer seemed unsure of his direction.

A fallow period ended with ‘I Gotcha’ (1972), an irresistibly cheeky song, but Tex chose this moment to retire. A convert to the Muslim faith since 1966, he changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer. He returned to music in 1975. Two years later he enjoyed a ‘comeback’ hit with the irrepressible ‘Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)’. By the 80s, however, Tex had withdrawn again from full-time performing. He devoted himself to Islam, his Texas ranch and the Houston Oilers football team. He was tempted into a Soul Clan reunion in 1981, but in August 1982 he died following a heart attack.


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


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