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The Mad Lads


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From Memphis, Tennessee, USA, the Mad Lads comprised John Gary Williams, Julius Green, William Brown and Robert Phillips. Although not one of the premier Stax Records acts, this quartet enjoyed seven R&B hits between 1965 and 1969. After changing their name from the Emeralds, their first single, ‘The Sidewalk Surf’, flopped, but the group placed three singles in the R&B Top 20 in 1965-66, the best-known being ‘I Want Someone’. Their first hit, ‘Don’t Want To Shop Around’, was curiously anachronistic, owing more to doo-wop than southern soul. Later releases, including the perky ‘Sugar Sugar’, were more typical, but the group was increasingly obscured by its more successful counterparts. In 1966, Williams and Brown were drafted and replaced by Sam Nelson and Quincy Clifton Billops Jnr. A version of the Jimmy Webb standard ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ proved to be the Mad Lads’ last chart entry in 1969, after which they broke up. A new line-up was assembled in 1972, but disbanded after completing one album. Former member Billops joined another Stax group, Ollie And The Nightingales, and from there moved into a re-formed version of the Ovations. A new Mad Lads built around Williams and Gary formed in 1984, with a new Volt album, Madder Than Ever, released in 1990.


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