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  • Years Active

    1961 – present (56 years)

The Essex were 1) an R&B vocal group.

Formed in 1961, The Essex eventually included Anita Humes, Walter Vickers (guitar), Rodney Taylor (drums), Billy Hill (who went by the name of Billy Proctor) and Rudolph Johnson. Vickers and Taylor started the group while they were with the United States Marine Corps, stationed in Japan.

"Easier Said Than Done", which climbed to the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, was performed by four Marines, not including co-writer William Linton, stationed at Camp LeJeune in North Carolina. Linton said that the beat was inspired by the sound of multiple teletype machines, noisy mechanical beasts pounding out copy in the base's communications room. In 1962, a demo scored them a recording contract with Roulette Records. Recruiting lead singer Anita Humes, they recorded the song (Roulette 4494) in less than five minutes.

Three months after "Easier Said Than Done" charted in June, The Essex had another top 20 hit with the follow-up song, "A Walkin' Miracle" (Roulette 4515) in September 1963. "She's Got Everything" was another charting song. Their Marine duties made it hard for the group to take advantage of their hits; for example, before long, Johnson was shipped to Okinawa.

The vinyl recordings are collector's items. A "best-of" CD was released by Sequel Records in 1995

The Essex were 2) a little known surf band with a lone masterpiece single "Cemetary Stomp" b/w "Pray for Surf" (1963).

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