August 8: Southern soul singer-songwriter Joe Tex was born on this date in 1933...

... he died on August 13, 1982.

Joe Tex's style of speaking over music, which he called 'rap', made him a predecessor of the modern genre' of the same name.
Born Joseph Arrington, Jr. in Baytown, Texas, Joe Tex's professional career as a singer began onstage at the Apollo in Harlem, New York. He won first place in a 1954 talent contest and duly secured a record deal. Although his early releases on King Records, Ace and Anna Records did not sell well, Tex honed his songwriting talent. Afterwards, Tex signed with Dial Records.

It was not until 1965 that Tex began to achieve success, guided by Nashville, Tennessee-based record producer, Buddy Killen. Recorded at the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and distributed by Atlantic on Killen's Dial record label, "Hold What You've Got" was a U.S. #5 pop hit. "Hold What You've Got" spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold a million copies by 1966.

Others singles followed, including the ballads "A Woman Can Change a Man," and "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)." A change in tempo also brought hits such as "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song),"and "Show Me." In 1965 alone, Tex released seven singles, followed by six in 1966 and five in 1967. He had released over thirty singles prior to the release of his first album in 1965.

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Joe Tex - 25 All Time Greatest HitsThe Very Best of, Volume 1Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)

In late 1967, the singles "Skinny Legs and All" (U.S. #10) and "Men Are Getting Scarce" also became major hits for Tex. "Skinny Legs And All" was Tex's second million seller spending 15 weeks in the charts. He was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 1968.

His last major hit of that time was "I Gotcha." "I Gotcha" also written by Tex and released in January 1972, went to #2 for two weeks, and stayed for 20 weeks in the listings. It went on to sell over two million copies by August that year. Follow its release, Tex decided to retire.

He returned to music in 1975, and two years later enjoyed a comeback hit with "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)," which reached U.S. #12. By the 1980s he had withdrawn again from full-time performing. He devoted himself to Islam, his Texas ranch and the Houston Oilers American Football team.

James Brown
A feud between Tex and fellow labelmate James Brown began after Brown, who Tex felt copied his stage moves, began dating Tex's wife, Bea Ford. In response, Tex wrote a song called "You Keep Her." They played a few more shows together until Tex mocked James Brown's act of throwing a cape over his shoulder and screamed "please - get me out of this cape." Brown later fired a gun at Tex in a nightclub.

A convert to the Muslim faith since 1966, he changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer.
On August 13, 1982, Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday.

Several other artists have covered Tex's work, including the rock band Nazareth's I Want To (Do Everything for You) and Phish who performed "You Better Believe It Baby" on July 26, 1998 at the Starplex Amphitheater in Dallas, Texas and again on August 2, 1998 at Deer Creek Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana.

The rock band The Trews covered "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" in 2009 on their acoustic album, Acoustic - Friends & Total Strangers. Lawrence "Lipbone" Redding covered "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" on his 2011 album, Unbroken.