The singing O’Jays, hit single,” Love Train” has been on track since 1973. CBS Sunday Morning’s, Jim Axelrod who was interviewing the “Old School R&B” group, asked the group why they still continue to sing after all these years.
They love what they do, and people still love to listen to them. At the age of 75 and 74, Eddie Levert and Walter Williams (both original member of the group) plan on singing for a “few more years”. One original member of the O’Jays, William Powell died of Cancer in 1977 at the age of 35. The new comer, Eric Nolan Grant has been with the group for the last 22 years.
I personally think they kept singing to stay around. Walter Williams had multiple sclerosis since 1983 said that he wanted to work through it. Eddie Levert lost his son Gerald in 2006 from a prescription overdose, and his other son Sean two years later from heart and lung problems. Eddie said he needed to stay focused because a lot of people were depending on him.
The only other person who earned my admiration, as a boomer, who refuses to quit is Willie Nelson. At he age of 80+ he was still, on the road again. As a musician, singer, song writer, author, poet, actor, and activist he refuses to go quietly in the night. He is one of a few who owed a lot of money to the government, who paid this due. His fourth wife (who has 20 years younger), said that she though his plan was to wear her down enough, so they would grow old together. At 68 I really like that idea. lol. But ten years younger would be fine for me.
The O’Jays formed their original group in Canton Ohio in 1958, while still in high school. The group consisted of Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles.
The group considered quitting the music industry in 1972. In fact, Bill Isles and Bobby Massey left the group. Levert, Powell, and Williams continued and scored their first million-seller when they teamed together with Kenny Gamble and Leon Hufff of Philadelphia International Records.
“Love Train” and the “Back Stabbers” put them back on track. The group has basically stayed the same unlike some other groups that kept the name but changed the members. I’m originally from Detroit MI, the home of Motown and one of my favorite groups was the Temptations. They changed the members so much that at one time there were two sets of Temptations.
The O’Jays were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005. You might remember some of their hits; Back Stabbers (1972), Love Train (1973), Put Your Hand Together (1973), For the Love of Money (1974), I Love Music (1975), Living for the Weekend (1976) Use ta be my girl (1978)
As a baby boomer some have decided not to just sit on the porch but to continue to sing their song. You retire from a job, but you don’t retire from life. Keeping active keeps you around.