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Sunday, 24 April 2016

Robert Knight born 24 April 1945

Robert Knight (born Robert Peebles April 24, 1945) is an American singer best known for the 1967 recording of the song "Everlasting Love" which endures among the finest soul records of its era.
Born in Franklin, Tennessee, Knight made his professional vocal debut with the Paramounts, a quintet consisting of school friends he formed with schoolmates in 1959. They signed to Dot Records in 1960, and  recorded "Free Me" in 1961, a US R&B hit produced by Noel Ball. 

It was Ball who had come up with the stage name Robert Knight, and released a couple of solo singles on him. When a series of follow-up efforts failed, the Paramounts dissolved, which prompted Dot to file a breach of contract lawsuit. The subsequent legal wranglings effectively shelved Knight's musical aspirations for close to five years, during which time he studied chemistry at Tennessee State University. There he also formed a new vocal trio, the Fairlanes -- while performing with the group, Knight was spotted by songwriters/producers Buzz Cason and Fred Foster, who signed him as a solo act to their fledgling record label Rising Sons.

Buzz was equally impressed, and began working with Gayden, writing material for Knight's upcoming sessions. Putting lyrics to a few riffs that Mac had been playing around with for years, they came up with Rising Sons' breakthrough song, Everlasting Love, which spent 11 weeks on the charts, climbing to #13 Pop in the fall of 1967. No matter what you may think of the song, it has some kind of universal appeal, and has been a hit in four different decades. 

In 1968, the British group Love Affair topped the U.K. charts with their cover of the song, keeping Knight's original stuck in the lower reaches of the Top 40 -- back home, he scored a pair of minor pop hits with "Blessed Are the Lonely" and "Isn't It Lonely Together," and in 1973 reached the British Top Ten with "Love on a Mountain Top" also written by Cason and Gayden, while the re-issued "Everlasting Love" went even higher in the UK the following year, reaching the Top 20. His final UK chart record was "Better Get Ready For Love" which reached #53 in May 1974. 

He toured the UK in 1974 to great acclaim, and re-pressings of Everlasting Love and My Rainbow Valley hit the charts over there as well. Upon returning to Nashville, however, he discovered that things hadn't changed here in the States, and the few singles he cut for Private Stock in the late seventies went nowhere.  

Knight nevertheless shifted his focus away from music in the decades to follow, continuing his career in chemical research for Vanderbilt University as a chemical lab technician, a chemistry teacher, and a member of the grounds crew.

He continues to occasionally perform and record. "Everlasting Love" remains a perennial, with hit cover versions by Carl Carlton, Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet, and Gloria Estefan. (Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG)

This is a clip of Robert Knight performing Love on a mountain top on Top of the pops on January 3rd 1974. The edition does not exist in the BBC archives.

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

Am seeking any albums of Robert Knight. Any help would be appreciated.