Herman L Griffin

R&B Mary Wells' 1st husband

Born: Nov. 25, 1936 Selma, AL

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame


An acrobatic performer/recording artist who deserves a footnote for two occurrences. In 1958, he recorded the first tune ever published under Berry Gordy's Jobete Publishing company, "I Need You," on HOB Records. Gordy caught Herman's act at a club, liked his acrobatics, and vowed to record him. Jobete represented the first two letters of Berry's kids names: Joy, Berry, and Terry; HOB was an acronym for the House of Beauty, a hair emporium that Berry's future wife Raynoma Liles frequented. The single also credited the Rayber Singers for the first time; Rayber was a combination of Raynoma and Berry. It was Berry's first and last involvement with Carla Murphy's HOB Records. His next record fell on Tamla Records in October 1960, but "True Love"/"It's You" did nothing for Herman's career; it certainly didn't reflect his exciting performances where back flips, somersaults, and splits were as much a part of his act as his bluesy tenor. He amazed audiences in the Caucasian clubs he played; the same clubs' Marvin Gaye worked before breaking out, as opposed to the inner city clubs, where other R&B performers performed. His next release on Motown Records didn't drop until July 1962, but "Sleep (Little One)" b/w "Uptight," stiffed before the labels were affixed to the box of copies Gordy had pressed. It's ironic his records never did anything since he worked in promotions at Motown. He befriended DJs in different cities, encouraging them to play Motown releases. He's credited with greasing Mary Wells' exit from Motown. Griffin was Mary's first husband and wanted total control, something he couldn't get at Motown. After signing with 20th Century Fox, Mary's career descended faster than a pin-pricked balloon. Before she left, Griffin had already become a pain, he couldn't read or write music but conducted the band while Mary performed, and did back flips while she sung ballads. After Motown, he sang with the Boys in the Band. Britisher Ian Levine didn't overlook Griffin when he recorded 800 tracks by former Motown artists, Levine resurrected Griffin with a few tracks, most notably "Not One Chance in a Million." ~ Andrew Hamilton, Rovi

Herman Griffin & Boys In The Band, The - Are You For Me Or Against Me / Gettin' Better


Herman Lewis Griffin


Born 11/25/1936 in Selma, Alabama.

Died 11/11/1989.

Married to Mary Wells.

In Groups:

Boys In The Band, The

Source: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Herman+Griffin








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