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Maze

Combining a Philadelphia soul sound with a strong appreciation of Marvin Gaye, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly was among the top R&B acts of the late '70s and '80s. The distinctive Maze and its charismatic lead singer, founder, producer, and songwriter Beverly didn't have many pop hits, but they were extremely popular among soul and urban contemporary audiences and enjoyed at least six or seven gold albums. Beverly was born Howard Beverly in Philadelphia, PA, on December 6, 1946; he started calling himself Frankie after hearing Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers (a major doo wop group) when he was only nine years old in 1956. Before that, Beverly had been singing gospel in church, and it was Lymon who made him realize that he wanted to perform secular music. That isn't to say that Beverly's appreciation of gospel ever went away; the gospel influence remained when he was in his forties and fifties, but secular R&B would be his main focus. When Beverly was 12, he joined the Philly doo wop group the Silhouettes (who were known for their hit "Get a Job") and went on tour with them in 1959. Then, in the early '60s, he founded and led a short-lived doo wop/soul vocal group called the Blenders. After the Blenders' breakup, a 17-year-old Beverly founded another vocal group in 1963: the Butlers, who favored a Northern soul approach. The Butlers never became well-known nationally, although they did provide a few singles (including "The Sun's Message" and "She Tried to Kiss Me") and recorded for small, Philly based labels like Fairmount, Liberty Bell, and Guyden. The Butlers also recorded for Gamble Records, a small label that was named after producer/songwriter Kenny Gamble (who went on to co-own a huge R&B empire when he ran Philadelphia International Records with fellow Philadelphian Leon Huff in the '70s). It was in 1970 that Beverly founded the band that eventually came to be known as Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly. Originally, Maze went by Raw Soul; using that name, it recorded three singles for Philly's small Gregar label in the early '70s (one of which was a cover of bluesman Taj Mahal's "Today May Not Be Your Day"). Although Beverly was born and raised in Philly, he has been quoted as saying that he never thought of himself as part of the Philly sound, and while his band does have Philly influences, it didn't fit into either the Gamble & Huff/Philadelphia International school of Philly soul or the Thom Bell/Linda Creed school (which the Delfonics, the Moments, and the Stylistics were a part of). Further, Raw Soul's sound owed as much to Marvin Gaye and the Isley Brothers as it did to any of the soulsters who came out of Philly in the '60s or '70s.

Feeling out of place in his home town, Beverly moved Raw Soul to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1971. Raw Soul had been playing the San Francisco/Oakland scene for several years when Beverly's idol, Marvin Gaye, became aware of the band. Quite impressed by Beverly's singing and songwriting, Gaye sang Raw Soul's praises to Capitol and helped them land a deal with that major label in 1976. One thing Gaye didn't like about Beverly's band was the name Raw Soul. The late soul giant insisted on a name change and after considering a few other names (including Karma and Charisma), Raw Soul officially became Maze Featuring Frankie Beverly in 1976. (The name Karma wouldn't have worked because an obscure, L.A.-based funk/jazz outfit called Karma was recording for A&M around 1976-1977).

Maze's self-titled debut album was released by Capitol in 1977; that album (which contains the hits "Happy Feelin's," "While I'm Alone," and "Lady of Magic") went gold and earned Maze an extremely devoted following. The band's 1977 lineup consisted of Beverly on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Wayne Thomas on lead guitar, Sam Porter on keyboards, Ronald "Roame" Loary and McKinley "Bug" Williams on percussion and background vocals, and Joe Provost on drums. In 1978, Provost was replaced by Ahaguna G. Sun, formerly of a little-known soul/funk group called Sunbear; subsequently, Sun was replaced by Billy "Shoes" Johnson. There were other personnel changes along the way; keyboardist Phillip Woo (formerly of Roy Ayers' band Ubiquity) joined Maze in 1980, and Ron Smith was the guitarist who replaced Thomas. But regardless of who was coming or going, Maze always reflected Beverly's vision -- Beverly was to Maze what George Clinton was to Parliament/Funkadelic. 1978 saw the release of Maze's second album, Golden Time of Day, which contains the number-nine R&B hit "Workin' Together." Golden Time of Day went gold, as did 1979's Inspiration and 1980's Joy and Pain (the album that gave us the major hit "Southern Girl"). In the late '70s, Maze earned a reputation for having one of the best live shows in R&B and their first live album, Live in New Orleans (a two-LP set), came out in 1981. Another live double-LP, Live in Los Angeles, was released in 1986, which was the year after Maze's funky "Back in Stride" reached number one on Billboard's R&B singles chart and became their biggest hit ever.

In 1989, Maze left Capitol for Warner Bros. and recorded Silky Soul; the title track, an ode to Marvin Gaye, was a major hit. By that time, Maze was receiving a lot of attention from the rap world -- their recordings were being sampled extensively by hip-hoppers. In 1988, rapper Rob Base used the chorus of Maze's "Joy and Pain" on a single that had the same title -- unfortunately, Base did so without permission and Beverly threatened legal action. Maze didn't enjoy many hits in the '90s, although their live shows continued to be well-received by a very devoted fan base. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Love and happiness... . . . . . . . . !
my boy
old school forever
Love some frankie Beverly
bellaretro
This song was playing in the car on my way to my cousin's funeral. Raining day. Sad day. Still remember it so clearly. 1987. #RIP D.V.
U cant go wrong with Frankie!
There is no words that can you say what a great great artist Frankie Beverly is.
Bring back memories in the barber shop as a kid listening to the jukebox. Great f-ing times
I love maze, I see the every year. Frankie is timeless.
melanie_davi s 5 6
Every time I listen to Frankie Beverly and Maze I think of my dad. RIP-JAD. This music truly never gets old!
The greatest band I have ever seen my. Number one favorite. Group. Best. Show I. Ever. Seen there never be another. Group. Like this. I love. Them
U dame. Right
3:00am still with Pandora....
Great music love this
Happiness






I love thiis group, Maze was what kept me with my husband what more can I say
Untouchable
HAPPY "2014" NEW YEAR !!! HEALTH WEALTH AND PROSPERITY
Frankie Beverly & Maze I love them so much.
Timdawg was in Frankfurt Germany in 1981 with Frankie beverly and maz
I can't get enough, what a classic band. The live performances can't compare to any other show. Each show was the BOMB!!!! woo woo wo woo
Cjsix. And then I wrote. !!! This song is the b nom
lilkj959
I love MAZE and hope that he never stops singing. In my younger years I attend a concert whenever they where near. Sing on Frankie
Frankie Beverly is awesome aint no other artist like him. Smooth and laid back of a guy. Music that reaches deep down inside and touch your soul ...In Loving Memory of ' ALANDRESS CHARLES DOUGLAS this is what helped mold our marriage We are one !!
Frankie Beverly and his group use to practice on our block on Horton st, in west philly our childhood friend Sammy portor use to play thee organ and they are all very talented my friend and Frankie came to sd cally and I took my best friend and we had a ball
Lv maze mesmerising !
Frankie Beverly & Maze...timel e s s
there is nothing like Frankie Beverly.. They are the best EVER.
I luv frankie beverly and maze...
trayvoon452
artist with wonderful deep soul touching voices make me smile and remind me of my child hood and i shed a happy tear. this a great station!


































thats the s**t
my childhood friend played with franky they came to cally sd that's right I got in free n what a time we had I meant thm all my friend is no longer in the group but contribed a lot rome and thee others I took my best friend reggie and e had a ball my cousins were there we had a great philly time in cally
I love this group i can listen to them all day and with all their albums available so is that possible on this pandora I already hate that they seem to decide what music to add to my selected radio station
So soulful...mu s i c that touches you from the inside.
funsizestak
This is beautiful music!
I have show Frankie Beverly and Maze about 10times in concert loved every performance, they are my #1R&B group no matter if the music is not new they still will be #1 in my house, don't play ;-)
Frankie Beverly and Maze gave Jackson, MS a great performance. We jammed the entire time they were on stage. I love Frankie Beverly and Maze.
dbkeith
Maze will ALWAYS be my #1 R&B Soulful Band !!!! Coming to Raleigh,NC Sept. 28, 2013.. Front row seats !!!!!
trayvoon452
7 8 9 10+ i loved music like this and i still do
My best group $
This is my best group always # 1 i love it $
Luv maze grew up listonin to them with my dad n aunts got to see them n concert n okc last month great show got to see them with my aunt from albany ga. While see was visitin what a memory
Good
I love Frankie Beverly & Maze!!!
Maze is the truth
Love MAZE
Tommiepierce maze is d best
carolyntap9
Silky Soul!
kbzlexus
Hypnotic melody!!!
Moscato time! !!
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