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William DeVaughn

Singer/songwriter/guitarist William DeVaughn had a million-seller the first time out with his inspiring "Be Thankful for What You Got." Those who first heard the smooth track thought it was a new record from Curtis Mayfield. DeVaughn's high tenor does bear some resemblance to Mayfield's and the simple, encouraging lyrics were similar to the kind found in the catalog of the Impressions leader. "Be Thankful for What You Got" also found its way onto the playlist of some gospel radio programs. One of the lyrics: "Diamond in the back / sunroof top / digging the scene with a gangster lean" became a catchphrase and appeared in numerous rap/hip hop records of the '90s.

The Washington, D.C. native was working for the government when he paid $900 for a recording session at Philadelphia's Omega Sound Inc. (basically a "vanity record" operation). Usually the results of such efforts are anything but star-making, but Omega featured the services of MFSB's main rhythm section (guitarist Norman Harris, drummer Earl Young, bassist Ron Baker, and vibist Vince Montana). Omega vice-president Frank Fioravanti was impressed with the record and began shopping it around to various labels.

Finally issued on Wes Farrell's Roxbury imprint and produced by Frank Fioravanti and arranger John Davis, "Be Thankful for What You Got" sold nearly two million copies, gliding up to the top of the R&B charts and number four pop in spring 1974. The album of the same name had an almost religious tone (DeVaughn was a Jehovah's Witness) and yielded several radio-aired LP tracks: "Give the Little Man a Great Big Hand" (the third single), "We Are His Children," "Sing a Love Song," and "You Can Do It." The second single, "Blood Is Thicker Than Water," made it to number ten R&B and number 43 pop in summer 1974. Akin to the post-heyday performances of a converted Al Green, DeVaughn preached to and admonished his audience from the stage. He lost interest in the music business not long after, though hed did remake "Be Thankful for What You Got" for TEC and charted again with the Top 40 R&B hit "Figures Can't Calculate" in summer 1980 for the label. ~ Ed Hogan
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Be Cool (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

1. Fantasy

2. Hollywood Swinging

3. Be Thankful For What You Got

4. Roda

5. Sexy

7. The Boss

11. G's & Soldiers

13. A Cowboy's Work Is Never Done

x

Track List: Black Power: Music Of A Revolution

Disc 1

3. Let's Clean Up The Ghetto

6. Right On

8. Mighty Mighty

12. (For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People

13. Give The People What They Want

Disc 2

2. Message From A Black Man

6. When The Revolution Comes

7. Am I Black Enough For You?

9. My People... Hold On

10. Be Thankful For What You Got

11. Chocolate City

13. We Got More Soul

15. Express Yourself

16. Respect Yourself

17. To Be Young, Gifted And Black

18. Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing

19. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now

x

Track List: Can't Stop Dancing Volume 6

1. Dancer

2. Love Town

3. Dance And Shake Your Tambourine

4. Boys Will Be Boys

5. Be Thankful For What You Got (Disco Version)

6. Bang A Gong (Get It On)

7. Babe We're Gonna Love Tonight

8. Body Music

9. Can't Live Without Your Love

10. Double Dutch Bus

11. Express

x

Track List: Golden Oldies Vol. 11, Greatest Rock N' Roll Hits 50's - 70's

1. Who's Making Love

2. Backfield In Motion

3. Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get

4. Mr. Big Stuff

5. Baby You Got It

7. Big Boss Man

8. Stay

10. Philadelphia Freedom

x

Track List: Greatest Hits Of The 70's

Disc 1

1. It's A Heartache

2. Back Home

3. Ready Steady Go

4. No More Heroes

5. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't Have)

6. My Sharona

7. Tomorrow Night

8. Showdown

10. Up Against The Wall

12. Silver Lady

13. Baby Jump

14. On My Radio

16. Don't Look Back

17. The Second Time Around

18. El Bimbo

Disc 2

1. Spanish Stroll

3. Magic

4. Dancing On A Saturday Night

5. You To Me Are Everything

6. And The Beat Goes On

7. Rapper's Delight

8. Whodunit

9. Greased Lightnin'

10. Roll Over Beethoven

11. Kung Fu Fighting

12. Dreams Are Ten A Penny

13. Freedom Come, Freedom Go

14. Donna

15. Sugar Candy Kisses

16. Beach Baby

17. Brother Louie

Disc 3

1. Child In Time

2. Dance With The Devil

3. Long Cool Woman (In A Black Dress)

4. Radar Love

5. Silver Machine

6. Milk And Alcohol

7. Motor Bikin'

8. 2-4-6-8 Motorway

9. Rubber Bullets

10. Nutbush City Limits

11. Your Generation

12. Isn't It Time

13. Peaches

14. Sylvia

15. This Perfect Day

17. Here Comes The Sun

18. He's Gonna Step On You Again

Disc 4

1. The Air That I Breathe

2. Don't Throw It All Away

3. When You're In Love With A Beautiful Woman

4. Please Don't Go

5. Loving You

6. Tired Of Toein' The Line

7. Dancing In The City

9. If You Can't Give Me Love

10. Hot Child In The City

11. Wall Street Shuffle

12. Popcorn

14. Lay Your Love On Me

15. Mexico

17. If I Had Words

18. Don't Let It Die

Disc 5

1. Hocus Pocus

2. Tears Of A Clown

3. Something Better Change

4. Little Girl

5. Valley Of The Dolls

6. Straw Dogs

7. Judy Teen

9. 7 Teen

10. Homicide

11. Brontosaurus

12. Don't Take No For An Answer

13. A Walk In The Park

15. Don't Give Up On Us

16. Girls

17. Boogie On Top

18. Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)

Disc 6

3. Proud Mary

4. One Last Kiss

5. Money In My Pocket

6. O.K. Fred

7. Midnight Rider

8. Cocaine

9. Sideshow

10. Gangsters

11. Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

13. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel

14. Emma

15. Can You Feel The Force

16. American Pie

17. Sad Sweet Dreamer

Disc 7

1. Wild Places

3. Lost In France

4. Alright, Alright, Alright

6. Indian Reservation

8. Streets Of London

9. Give Up Your Guns

10. A Piece Of The Action

11. Rich Kids

12. Knock On Wood

14. Shame, Shame, Shame

16. Shannon

17. Memories

18. Time In A Bottle

Disc 8

1. More Than A Woman

2. That's The Way I Like It

3. So You Win Again

5. Rock Your Baby

8. Can't Get By Without You

9. Uptown Festival

10. You're My Everything

11. Don't Do It Baby

12. Misty Blue

13. Nice And Slow

14. Boogie Oogie Oogie

15. Gonna Get Along Without You Now

16. Get Off

17. I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet

18. Movin'

x

Track List: Lost Soul Gems

4. Staying Power

9. Love Ballad Of The Year

x

Track List: Lowrider Oldies, Vol. 4

2. Look Over Your Shoulder

3. Sleep Walk

4. Sitting In The Park

5. Pillow Talk

6. Break Up To Make Up

8. Love On A Two Way Street

10. Hey There Lonely Girl

11. Don't Have To Shop Around

12. Sexy Mama

Comments

Report as inappropriate
THAT IS SO TRUE, SOME PEOPLE DON'T HAVE ANY THING , BUT THE CLOTHES ON THEIR BACK, I HAVE SEEN SOME THAT DON'T EVEN HAVE SHOES ON THEIR FEET, AND WE ALL KNOW THAT ITS EITHER REAL HOT R COLD. I KNOW HOW IT CAN B OUT THERE WITHOUT ANY THING. SO I AM REAL THANKFUL 4 WHAT I HAVE. DON'T COMPLAIN. SO MANY PEOPLE R TRULY BLESSED. THATS REAL TALK 4 SURE
Report as inappropriate
This is old old school thanks brother just be thankful stay bless don don Reese stlouis
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This was when.It was JUSTIFIED knowing your "roots"of heritage.
No shame.
None
were lame.
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Grateful and thankful
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Nah, this is 125th street Harlem, rocking out, then Rollin down to The Polo Grounds..
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Cruzin down Broadway in Gary, IN
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Digging it in Detroit
Hello Cleveland! Hello Kentucky bfn
Thom
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Back in the day! Very fond memories!
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Good times in Cleveland Ohio to this song. Digging da scene with a gangsta lean! Love it. Be thankful!
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the master of all time
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ebouler3
Yeah yeah yeah!!! It stil hits da moment!!
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Be thankful what you get and have!!!
It only comes once in a blue moon ....so hold on tied!!!
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The man stays truth with the music.
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Attitude Of Gratitude <3
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Love this song it so true
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sondbird2
Love this song
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just be thankful for what you got
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Berry whige
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This still sounds GOOD!!!
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Wow! Raheem's dad fo real!!!
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This makes a California day that much better
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Did you know that William De Vaughn is Raheem De Vaughn's father?
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Fleetwood broham music
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luv it back in the day
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When music was music
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Pandora is the truth - jamming!!!!
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Great memories in the park,backyar d ' r jus hang out down home with FAM n friends
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Man this is where it's at. I can remember riding in my uncles Duece and a quarter to this song.
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Pandora ain't no joke.!!
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All I can say is .......shhhh h h h h h h h h h h h h listen ...........C a n you dig it.
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Curtis Mayfield Pusherman+SU P E R F L Y Ron&this song, changed the game, forever Pimping.
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Epitomized the 70's
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geenote126
Classic!!!!! !
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geenote126
the ultimate Summertime anthem with the gangsta lean...10 miles an hour so everybody see you Will Smith :o) You're right Danielle, originated gangsta lean 70's wer the best!!!!!!
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This is where the gangsta lean originated.. m o r e of a ridin and chillin act then one looking for trouble with a piece..I miss the 70s
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This is the ulimtate chill and ride song. It puts that groove in the neck. If you have to ask you dont feel it....
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This song makes me go back to the old school days in the south side of Dallas,tx
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This makes me reminisce about just driving around with my Pops through the streets of DC. I always thought this was Curtis Mayfield too. The sad thing is, those days seem long gone never to be relived.
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My played the hell out of this song back in the 70's
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Music with substance, not watered down or superficial. Classic.
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gilflo910
Pa Los Brothers de la 18 place....
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Cloud 9!!!!! Know what um talking bout
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Be thankful for what u got' yes my uncle's played the hell out of this song none of them had" gansta"white walls on none of their buckets didn't matter though they loved that f**kin song !
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I was diggiin' this song the first time I heard it!
Report as inappropriate
Even though I drive a Cadillac, as well as the rest of my family, I can relate to the basic moral of the song. Moral is: Be satisfied with what God has blessed u with! Thank Jesus daily cause it could be worse!!!
Report as inappropriate
This was the Song. All the guys who wanted to be cool wanted to have all the material things this Brother talked about without realizing he was tell them it was not that Important.
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suttonorland o
I remember listening to this as a boy in Chi Town. I always thought it was Curtis Mayfield. Nice Jam.
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hanging out solo 1974 '68 mustang a cooler in the trunk TJ swan iced dowm easy days and mellow night
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real down to earth
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Cruzin the bulavard with homies looking for chicks!
Show more

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