Billy Paul: The Devil and Mrs. Jones
Today (December 16, 1972) R&B singer Billy Paul’s seminal hit record “Me and Mrs. Jones” was the #1 record in the country.
Billy Paul originally recorded for the Neptune record label which was owned by Gamble & Huff, prior to the launch of their Philadelphia International imprint.
Paul’s first album for Philadelphia International was titled Going East, but the album flopped.
A year later, he released his break out sophomore album 360 Degrees of Billy Paul, which contained Me and Mrs. Jones.
The song was created specifically by Gamble, Huff and Cary Grant “Hippie” Gilbert who was from Camden, New Jersey.
They tapped Philadelphia wizard Bobby Martin, who arranged the track specifically to get airplay. They succeeded, as the song sold over a million copies.
“Me and Mrs. Jones” was as much of a blessing to Billy Paul as it was a curse.
According to A House On Fire, the Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul, Gamble forced the release of his next single, which was “Am I Black Enough For You,” a song about black power and pride.
The decision completely estranged Billy Paul’s new white fan base, which impacted him for the rest of his career.
Billy Paul was “very upset” with the decision, Billy Paul himself.
“It damaged me and I was bitter about it for a long time,” Billy Paul said.