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Booking Joe Billingslea and The Contours
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Joe Billingslea, Al Chisholm, Gary Grier,
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How To Book THE CONTOURS For Your Event!
Joe Billingslea and The
Contours may be available for your next special event!
A Motown Music Revue and Party Band!!
In 1958, in Detroit, Michigan, Billy Gordon, Billy Hoggs, Joe Billingslea and Billy Rollins formed a quartet named The Blenders. After a short period of playing together, the group decided to replace Billy Rollins with a better quality singer named Leroy Fair. In 1960, the late Hubert Johnson, a cousin of the late Jackie Wilson, joined the group, making it a quintet. After a visit to a recording studio called "Flick and Contour Records," the group "borrowed" part of the name and changed its name to The Contours.
In Fall 1960, with some encouragement from Jackie Wilson, Berry Gordy, Jr, signed the group to a recording contract with Motown. In January 1961, they released "Whole Lotta Woman" b/w "Come On And Be Mine." The record did not have much success. Shortly afterward, there was some disappointing news for Leroy Fair. Despite his great voice, Leroy couldn't handle the required choreography, and the group (to steal the words of the song to come) broke his heart, cause he couldn't dance. The group replaced him twice before eventually finding Sylvester Potts as a permanent replacement for Leroy Fair. This group recorded, "The Stretch"
b/w "Funny" which didn't fare much better than the first effort. However, for The Contours, the third time would become the charm!
In 1962, Gordy created a new label for Motown Records called the Gordy label and signed The Contours as its first group. In the summer of 1962, the group recorded Berry Gordy Jr's, "Do You Love Me," resulting in the group's (and label's) first hit. Within two weeks of
its release, the song roared to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, taking the #1 spot on the R&B charts and #3 on the pop charts. It remained on the charts for five months. The song was the Gordy label's first million-seller, and it still holds the record as Motown's fastest rising hit of all time.
In 1963, the group charted another hit, sending "Shake Sherry" to the #21 position on the R&B charts (#43 pop). In 1964, they charted "Can You Do It" at #41 R&B. Still in 1964, they recorded a ballad entitled "The Day When She Needed Me." However, by the time this song was released, The Contours would undergo a major restructuring.
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The group had irreconcilable creative differences with Motown. At a 1964 meeting with Berry Gordy, Jr., Billy Hoggs, Joe Billingslea and Sylvester Potts announced they were quitting. A week later Hubert Johnson also resigned, leaving Billy Gordon as the only original member of the group. Motown reconstructed the group as a quartet, adding Council Gay, Jerry Green and Alvin English. The reconstituted Contours recorded and released "Can You Jerk Like Me?" On the flip side was "The Day When She Needed Me" by the earlier members of The Contours. Both songs charted in 1965 (#15 R&B and #37 R&B/#47 pop respectively).
The reconstituted Contours also charted "First I Look At the Purse" (#12 R&B/#57 pop, 1965).
After less than a year, in early 1965 Sylvester Potts returned to the group replacing Alvin English. However, almost immediately afterwards, the only remaining original member, Billy Gordon, quit and was replaced by Joe Stubbs (former lead singer of the Falcons and brother of the
Four Tops' Levi Stubbs). This group charted "Just a Little Misunderstanding" (#18 R&B/#85 pop, 1966). Joe Stubbs quit and was replaced by
(who would later replace David Ruffin in
The Temptations). This iteration of The Contours charted "It's So Hard Being a Loser" (#35 R&B/#79 pop, 1967). After their contract with Motown expired, the Contours disbanded.
About 1971, original member Joe Billingslea revived the group, playing a few dates here and there. By 1981, the group consisted of Joe Billingslea, former Contour Council Gay, Arthur Hinson, Martin 'Beanie' Upshire and C. Autry 'Breeze' Hatcher. The Contours began to play a lot more dates. In 1984, Arthur Hinson left the group and was replaced by and current member R. Charles Davis. A week later, Council Gay left and Sylvester Potts returned to the group. In 1987, Hatcher left the group and Arthur Hinson returned.
That same year, "Do You Love Me" was included in the movie, "Dirty Dancing," starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. This revived the song and it returned to the pop charts in July 1988 for eight weeks, peaking at #11. As certified by the Recording Industry Association Of America, "More Dirty Dancing (1987 Film Additional Soundtrack)" (which included "Do You Love Me") went multi-platinum at level 4.0.
The movie soundtrack spawned a "Dirty Dancing Concert Tour," which featured the Contours and other artists including
Bill Medley, Eric Carmen, Ronnie Spector, Merry Clayton and a set of dancers from the movie. A week before the tour was to start, Beanie Upshire was replaced by Darrel Nunlee. This version of The Contours played the ten-month "Dirty Dancing Tour," entertaining over two million fans in eight countries. The "Dirty Dancing Tour" was Performance's 1998 Variety Act of the Year. The tour also gave birth to a live CD release. The Contours contributed "Get Ready," "Higher and Higher," "Cry to Me" and "Do You Love Me" to the 1989 release "Dirty Dancing Live In Concert." In September 1998, the Contours released a CD, "Great Dirty Dancing Hits," sprinkled with several of their hits as well as hits of other
In 1990, Arthur Hinson left the group and The Contours continued as a quartet until 1993 when Darell Nunlee left and Gary Grier
and Al Chisholm were added taking the group back to a five-man form. This configuration of The Contours existed until early 2004, when Sylvester Potts quit.
In July 1999, yet another Dirty Dancing CD, "Dirty Dancing: More Dirty Dancing [Original Recording Remastered]" which included "Do You Love Me" was released. In all, re-released version contributed to ten million new copies of the song, "Do You Love Me." It's fair to say that Dirty Dancing has been good to the Contours.
On July 20, 1989, the Contours were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Walk of Fame outside Royal Oak's Metropolitan Musicafe in Royal Oak, Michigan. They also received the
Smokey Robinson Heroes And Legends Award in 2000 and have been nominated for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They continue to perform in the US and abroad, bringing their energetic, versatile and entertaining show to hundreds of thousands of fans every year throughout the world.
Hit songs include ---
- Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)
- First I Look at the Purse
- Can You Jerk Like Me
- Just A Little Understanding
- Shake Sherry
- It's So Hard Being A Loser
- Can You Do It
- Don't Let Her Be Your Baby
What others say about The Contours
Relations Group, Inc.:
"It is really
invigorating to experience firsthand the style, charm and energy
of musicians who apparently never age
or slow down. During their performances, I was literally
transported to that magical period of our youth, when life seems
to move at a luxurious pace, amidst warm, summer nights while
cruising our hometown drag strips
up and down back and forth
with radios blasting.
What more can I say? Other
than I would book the group all over again, in a heartbeat!!"
Vicki Lange, President
Ohio Festivals & Events
Wow, here it is February,
and I am still getting phone calls and comments regarding The
Contours show during our convention in November.
Of all the years we have
been doing the showcase portion of our convention, nothing has
ever come close to the fantastic show that was put on that night.
I remember telling everyone during the banquet not to leave before
The Contours show, because they were going to knock the
socks off of everyone.
No one was left sitting in
their chairs once the band started playing."
Chuck Jackson, President
Joe Billingslea and The
Contours may be available for your next special event!
.Classic Rock. / ClassicRock
.Frat Rock. / FratRock
.Soul. / xSoul
.Early R&B. / EarlyR&B
.Motown. / xMotown
.Early Pop/Rock. / EarlyPopRock
x60s, x70s, x80s, x90s, x00s, x10s, x20s
Formed: ..in Michigan / formed nMichigan
Formed: ..in Detroit
/ formed DetroitMI
Formed: in 1958
Based: ..in US
Based: ..in Michigan / based nMichigan
Based: ..in Detroit /
Concert Schedule – by Ticketmaster
Concert Schedule – by Live Nation
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Frequently Asked Questions About Booking THE CONTOURS
HOW TO BOOK THE CONTOURS?
(i.e., how to hire THE CONTOURS for an event)
You are currently on the official site of the Richard De La Font Agency, Inc. For
more than 50 years, we have successfully helped official talent buyers
around the world secure quality talent.
We welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. Let's do this the
right way! Let's save you time and frustration!
Simply click on the "Booking information" link found on this page.
Then, send us your request for booking information.
Include information about your plans for your event and how hiring THE CONTOURS (or someone similar) might be of special interest.
If you decide you want to look at other names, simply include your talent-fee
budget range and indicate that you want to see who else you might be able to
afford with such a budget. We can send you a list of names that are affordable
and in the style of music you prefer. We hope to save you time and frustration!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK/HIRE THE CONTOURS?
Official booking fees for THE CONTOURS, or any other celebrity, are
determined based on a number of factors and may change at anytime without prior
(i.e., what is the fee of THE CONTOURS for an event?)
(i.e., what is THE CONTOURS charging to perform at an event?)
Factors influencing pricing vary and may include date, location, type of
event, whether a private party or a public concert, the artist's calendar,
whether the artist is on tour or not, how well tickets are selling at the
artist's concerts, the current demand for the artist's music, market activity, etc.
As you might expect, the more in-demand the artist is, the more buyers are
prepared to pay. Of course, this causes the artist's price to increase as
the artist becomes more popular, or decrease when becoming less popular.
Exclusive agents with exclusive representation frequently quote a
range instead of a specific price, since changes can occur at anytime.
artist's manager has a role in the decision to accept any
particular offer from a talent buyer.
To learn the most current artist's pricing, or the estimated
artist's fee for your particular event, simply click on the "Booking
information" link found on this page. Then, send us your request for booking
IS THE CONTOURS AVAILABLE TO WORK MY EVENT?
To learn the artist's current availability for your special event, simply
click on the "Booking information" link found on this page. Then, send us
your request for booking information.
(i.e., what is THE CONTOURS's availability?)
Once we have your event/party information, we will be better able to assist
you with putting your entertainment talent booking plans in place as your
entertainment consultant. Let's get this done right! We look forward to working with you!