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Earl Gaines

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Earl Gaines (August 19, 1935 – December 31, 2009) was an American rhythm & blues singer.

Born in Decatur, Alabama, he sang lead vocals on the hit single “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)”, accredited to Louis Brooks and his Hi-Toppers, before undertaking a low-key solo career. In the latter capacity he had minor success with “The Best of Luck to You” (1966) and “Hymn Number 5” (1973). Noted as the best R&B singer from Nashville, Gaines was also known for his lengthy career.

After moving from his hometown in his teenage years, and relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Gaines found employment as both a singer and occasional drummer. Via work he did for local songwriter, Ted Jarrett, Gaines moved from singing in clubs to meeting Louis Brooks. Brooks led the instrumental Hi-Toppers, who had a recording contract with the Excello label. Their subsequent joint recording, “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day),” peaked at #2 on the US R&B chart in 1955. It was Gaines biggest hit, but his name was not credited on the record.
Breaking away from the confines of the group, Gaines became part of the 1955 R&B Caravan of Stars, with Bo Diddley, Big Joe Turner, and Etta James. Their tour culminated with an appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Without any tangible success, Gaines recorded for the Champion and Poncello labels for another few years, as well as joining Bill Doggett’s band as lead vocalist. In 1963, he joined Bill “Hoss” Allen’s repertoire of artists, and by 1966 had issued the album, The Best of Luck to You, seeing the title track reach the Top 40 in the US R&B chart.

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