Gary: A great R&B Singer from the mid sixties, who left us at the age of 49. He had a running feud with his Label mate, yes the God Father of Soul for years, James Brown even took a shot at him…
(Joseph Arrington, Jr. (August 8, 1933 – August 13, 1982)
Born in Baytown, Texas, Joe Tex was subsequently raised in the Central Texas town of Rogers. His professional career as a singer began onstage at the Apollo. He won first place in a 1954 talent contest and duly secured a record deal.
Although his early releases on King Records, Ace and Anna Records were considered by some to be derivative and generally disappointing in sales, Tex meanwhile honed his song- writing talent. James Brown‘s cover version of “Baby You’re Right” (1962) became a U.S. #2 hit, after which Tex was signed to Dial Records.
Although early releases showed promise, it was not until 1965 that Tex prospered, guided by Nashville, Tennessee-based record producer, Buddy Killen. Recorded at the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and distributed by Atlantic on Killen’s Dial record label, “Hold What You’ve Got” was a U.S. #5 pop hit. “Hold What You’ve Got” spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold a million copies by 1966.
Others singles followed, namely “A Woman Can Change a Man”, and “The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)” which were both ballads. But a change in tempo also brought hits such as “S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)” (1966), and “Show Me” (1967). Tex’s recording career was distinguished by his extensive single releases. For example, in 1965 alone, Tex released seven singles, followed by six in 1966 and five in 1967. He had released over thirty singles prior to the release of his first album, in 1965.
Meanwhile the singles “Skinny Legs and All” (U.S. #10) and “Men Are Getting Scarce” also became major hits for Tex. “Skinny Legs And All” was Tex’s second million seller spending 15 weeks in the charts. He was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 1968. His last major hit of that time was “I Gotcha“. “I Gotcha” also penned by Tex and released in January 1972, went to #2 for two weeks, and stayed for 20 weeks in the listings. The RIAA gold disc award was made on March 22, 1972. It went on to sell over two million copies by August that year. Follow its release, Tex decided to retire.
He returned to music in 1975, and two years later enjoyed a comeback hit with “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)”, which reached U.S. #12. By the 1980s he had withdrawn again from full-time performing. He devoted himself to Islam, his Texas ranch and the Houston Oilers American Football team.
Rivalry with James Brown
A feud between Tex and fellow labelmate James Brown began after Brown, who Tex felt copied his stage moves, began dating Tex’s wife, Bea Ford. In response, Tex wrote a song called “You Keep Her.” They played a few more shows together until Tex mocked James Brown’s act of throwing a cape over his shoulder and screamed “please – get me out of this cape”. Brown later fired a gun at Tex in a nightclub.
Personal life and death
A convert to the Muslim faith since 1966, he changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer. He has one daughter, Eartha Doucet, and four sons, Joseph Arrington III, Ramadan Hazziez, Jwaade Hazziez and Joseph Hazziez.
On August 13, 1982, Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday.