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tpj1965

Blue Magic

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Blue Magic is an American R&B soul vocal quintet which was formed in Philadelphia in June 1973 when former Delfonic Randy Cain brought singer-songwriter Ted Mills in to do some writing with the Philly-based WMOT production company and a short time later, the group Shades of Blue, featuring Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt, Vernon Sawyer and his brother Wendell, came in for an audition. According to Marc Taylor, in his book A Touch of Classic Soul of the Early 1970's, although the group performed admirably, they lacked a standout lead singer and WMOT execs decided to put Mills with the Shades of Love and renamed the group Blue Magic. They were signed with Atco/Atlantic Records in the same year. Blue Magic were one of the earliest acts produced by Norman Harris, a Philadelphia records veteran. The group's harmonies were supported by the MFSB house band.

Blue Magic became popular in 1974 with their first million-selling US Top 10 hit single Sideshow and Three Ring Circus, both co-written by guitarist Bobby Eli. They became known mostly for their smooth ballads. The album Thirteen Blue Magic Lane in 1975 maintained the group's popularity and spawned their version of the popular dance track We're On The Right Track. Some of MFSB's best work can be found on Magic Of The Blue Welcome To The Club,We're On The Right Track,and Look Me Up. Blue Magic had two R&B chart singles in 1975 and four in 1976. They recorded the hit What's Come Over Me twice, once on their first album and, secondly, as a single with Margie Joseph.

In 1975 the group had their first world tour, which lasted sixteen weeks. The tour included forty-eight states in the United States, five countries in Europe, and ten days in the Philippines. Blue Magic concluded their tour with a fourteen-day engagement in the Virgin Islands. In April 1975 they were chosen as the best new group of the year which earned them an Ebony Award.

With the rise of disco and the group making the mistake of changing their style for the Halloween-oriented album 'Mystic Dragons', which was centered around the single 'Freak-N-Stein,' the group became less popular, and both lead singer Ted Mills and Richard Pratt left for religious reasons in 1981. They returned to the R&B chart with singles in 1981 and 1983 and experienced renewed popularity in 1989 with a comeback album, From Out of the Blue.

A reconstituted Blue Magic, consisting of the two Sawyers, Beaton and lead singer Wade Elliott, also continues to tour in soul music shows and appeared on a 2003 PBS 70s Soul special [available on DVD under the title "Old School Soul Party Live!"].

Blue Magic - Look Me Up

Three Ring Circus

Blue Magic - Sideshow

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