The Hues Corporation was a pop and soul trio of the 70s, best known for their 1974 infectious hit "Rock The Boat". The song, a U.S. #1 single and million-seller that's still a radio staple, is considered one of the earliest disco songs. Some authorities proclaim it to be the first disco song to hit #1, while others grant that distinction to "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a chart-topper from earlier in 1974. The Hues Corporation has played on into the new millennium, although facing many challenges.
The group formed in 1969 in Los Angeles, California, Before making it big in the music industry, the group appeared in the popular 1972 blaxploitation film Blacula, which starred actor William Marshall and brought the group in contact with songwriter Waldo Holmes. Holmes would go on to pen "Rock the Boat". The Hues Corporation's four other singles to reach the Billboard Hot 100 were "Freedom For The Stallion" (1973, #63), "Rockin' Soul" (1974, #18), "Love Corporation" (1975, #62), and "I Caught Your Act" (1977, #92).
The group's name was a pun on the Hughes Corporation, with the "hue" being the group's African-American heritage. Interestingly, they initially wanted to call themselves 'Children Of Howard Hughes', but that didn't pan out. The band's members were Bernard "St. Clair" Lee, Flemming Williams, and Ann Kelley.
Despite their initial success, the group disbanded in 1978. But with renewed interest in disco music throughout the 90s, the group reunited for tour dates and special events. This included the popular PBS special Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion. Bernard "St. Clair" Lee sadly passed away on March 8th, 2011.
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