Singer Jimmy Ricks, an original member of The Ravens died today (July 2, 1974).
As the lead singer of The Ravens, Jimmy Ricks is one of the most influential singers in pop music of all time.
The influence Jimmy Ricks had on popular music cannot be understated.
As the leader of The Ravens, Jimmy Ricks pioneered the practice of having a bass singer as the lead singer of a group.
The Ravens were also the first of many popular “bird” groups, that experienced success from the 1950s, onward.
Jimmy Ricks was born on 1924, in the small town of Adrian, Georgia.
Jimmy learned to sing while picking cotton and tobacco with his family, which passed their workdays by singing and harmonizing in the fields.
He and family members would often join in the singing, with Jimmy taking the deeper parts.
Members of his family did not think Jimmy Ricks would amount to anything, because he was so lazy as a field hand.
It wasn’t until Ricks moved north, to New York where he began experiencing success as a singer.
He met his future bandmember Walter Suttles, while working as a waiter in Harlem in 1945.
The Ravens formed when two other members, Ollie Jones and Leonard Puzey joined in June 1945.
In June 1946, The Ravens their first sides for Hub Records, including the single “Honey” featuring Jimmy Ricks on lead. probably came out in August 1946.
The following year, the group left Hub for National Records, where their career really began to take shape.
While recording for National Records, The Ravens released sides like “Count Every Star,” “Deep Purple,” “It’s Too Soon To Know” and others.
In 1950, The Ravens signed with Columbia Records, which triggered eight $100,000 lawsuit filed by National Records, who continued to release records the group previously recorded.
The Ravens’ output continued through turmoil in the group, that produced numerous line up changes.
In addition to the aforementioned labels, in the 1950’s The Ravens recorded sides for Okeh, Mercury and Jubilee.
In 1955, Jimmy Ricks left The Ravens for a solo career that never took off.
During his illustrious career, Jimmy Ricks left behind a body of work that influenced scores of young recording singers in the R&B, Doo-Wop and Soul genres.
In the 1970s, Jimmy Ricks with the Duke Ellington Band, attempting a come back, when he died of a heart attack in New York City.