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Patti Drew

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Singer Patti Drew had the first hit version of “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing,” later a 1969 Top 20 R&B/pop hit for the 5th Dimension. She began her singing career as the lead singer of the Drew-vels, which included her sisters Lorraine and Erma and bass vocalist Carlton Black. Born December 29, 1944, in Charleston, NC, Drew grew up in Nashville, TN, and later moved with her family to the Chicago suburb of Evanston.

During her teens, she attended Evanston High and sang with her mother and sisters in church. Her mother was a domestic worker whose employer, Maury Lathowers, was the regional promoter for Los Angeles, CA-based Capitol Records. She invited Lathowers to come to her church to hear her daughters sing and, impressed, he invited them to his home for an audition and got the group a deal with Capitol. Their debut single, Tell Him was a huge local hit around the Chicago area and charted number 90 R&B in early 1964. The Drew-vels broke up later that year, and in 1966, Drew signed to Peter Wright’s Quill label. The following year, Drew signed a solo deal with Capitol. Her first single, a re-recording of “Tell Him,” hit number 22 on the R&B charts in fall 1967. A Capitol LP, Tell Him, was also issued. One year later, her recording of the Neil Sedaka/Roger Atkins song “Workin’ on a Groovy Thing” made it to number 34 R&B.

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