Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds
amilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds evolved from the T-Bones, an instrumental combo that went to number three in 1966 with "No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In)," a tune used in an Alka-Seltzer commercial. In 1971 they had a number four hit, "Don't Pull Your Love," under their new name and by the time they recorded "Fallin' In Love" in 1975, they were actually Hamilton, Joe Frank and Dennison, although they were still recording as Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds. Confused? Let's go back to the beginning.
Two of the T-Bones were Joe Frank Carollo and Tommy Reynolds. Corollo was born in Leland, Mississippi. After graduating from Leland High School, he majored in music at Delta State College in Cleveland, Mississippi. He was so busy playing gigs Thursdays through Mondays that he didn't complete college. He worked for a furniture company and then for IBM as an inventory control specialist. "It was a matter of survival -- working at IBM simply meant the rent would be paid," he said. "I've even driven trucks to keep from starving and tried my damndest to avoid music. But it turns me on, and I had to get back into it."
Reynolds, a native New Yorker, learned how to play (and build) steel drums in the Caribbean. With Hamilton and Joe Frank, he left the T-Bones to form their own trio. They signed with Dunhill Records and the label released "Don't Pull Your Love."
Reynolds left the group in 1972 to become a minister in Texas. He was replaced by Alan Dennison, born in Marion, Ohio. His instruments included keyboards, electric flute and congas, and he explained that he didn't mind not having his name in the group's handle: "It's a name like any other group's name, an entity, and we're all equal parts of it."
The newly-composed trio found it hard to get a new label after their association with Dunhill ended. It was mid-1974 when Playboy signed them -- a wise move, considering Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds gave the label its first and only number one single.
A subsequent 45, "Winners and Losers," peaked at 21 in early 1976. After one more single, the group finally dropped Reynolds from the corporate masthead and gave Alan proper credit, changing the group's name to Hamilton, Joe Frank and Dennison. The change didn't have any effect on their chart fortunes: after two more singles that failed to rise higher than number 70, they disappeared from the Billboard Hot 100 forever.
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.
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