The Originals were an American soul group at Motown in the 1960s and 1970s.
They were led by singer Freddie Gorman. Freddie, a postman, sung briefly in a group called The Fideletones with friend Brian Holland. After Berry Gordy hired Brian Holland as a writer and producer, he was tasked with writing a song for Motown girl group The Marvelettes, who suggested the title “Please, Mr. Postman”. Brian enlisted Freddie’s help with the lyrics, and the song was a huge hit, so Berry returned the favor by releasing a solo single for Freddie.
Freddie then returned to his post office job (silly Freddie), and went on to do some songwriting and record for local Detroit label Ric-Tic records, which was then absorbed into Motown. Bass singer Freddie then joined lead tenor C. P. Spencer (formerly of The Detroit Spinners), second tenor Hank Dixon and baritone Walter Gaines to create The Originals. Joe Stubbs (brother of Four Tops‘ lead Levi Stubbs) was also with the group for about six months. Starting in 1966, they served as Motown’s in-house male backing group, providing background vocals for many a Motown artist (notable examples include David Ruffin, Edwin Starr and Stevie Wonder).
After several unsuccessful single releases of their own, an impressed Marvin Gaye helped them find huge success with their biggest and best-known hit in 1969, “Baby, I’m For Real”, which he co-wrote (with his wife Anna) and produced. Despite finding some success with follow-up singles the following year, further releases failed to chart and C. P. Spencer left in 1972. Tenor Ty Hunter took his place and despite a consistent release of Originals material, success continued to elude the group (although they enjoyed a brief resurgence on the disco scene with “Down To Love Down”) and they left Motown in 1978.
With C. P. Spencer rejoining the group, The Originals signed and released material for several other labels. Ty Hunter passed away in 1981, and the group retired soon after. They recorded for the Motown revival label Motorcity Records around 1989. The group recorded a song entitled “Take The Only Way Out” and each member also cut some separate solo material. The group continued to tour thereafter. Freddie Gorman released a solo album in 1997 called It’s All About My Love.
Following the death of C. P. Spencer and Freddie Gorman in 2004 and 2006, respectively, original member Hank Dixon and his daughter Terrie Dixon reformed The Originals as a live touring act, along with Freddie’s son, songwriter-producer Dillon Gorman. Defrantz Forrest, son of Gene “Duke of Earl” Chandler, also joined.
- Hank Dixon (1966-81, 1989-present)
- Freddie Gorman (1966-81, 1989-2006)
- Walter Gaines (1966-81, 1989-2014)
- C. P. Spencer (1966-72, 1978-81, 1989-2004)
- Joe Stubbs (1966)
- Ty Hunter (1972-81)
- Terrie Dixon (2006-present)
- Dillon Gorman (2006-present)
- Defrantz Forrest (2006-present)
The Marvels of The Originals
- BABY, I’M FOR REAL
- DON’T STOP NOW
- KEEP ME