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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

Comments

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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!
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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!!!
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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!
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These songs make me think about when I was a child and my mom would plays her music while cleaning the house on Saturday mornings...I miss those day!
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I remember when guys used to pimp their rides & cruise.
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What!Those were the days, remember the struggle.
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bloycemason
Plenty of good memories!
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vmw1031
Diamond in the back, sunroof top, diggin' the scene with a gangster lean! Can you get any cooler than that! Reminds me of Chitown back in the day!
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COOL AND SMOOTH
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this song was a state of some people's mine back in the day,it helped us all grow onward and upward .
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Love it, just day dreamin' lol...
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h.217
Just thinking that how this song exemplified all that I wanted out of life. What a trip to find out that there's much more to life than that. But this is a way cool song, I will never forget how it made me feel. Peace
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JUST LISTEN TO THE COOLEST YET TRUEST SONGS EVER MADE
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otia_rogers
Learning the 'bop' on the front porch w/ brothers and sisters -what a great memory!
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ujievillagej o e
This tune and a jug of wine get it done
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sure conjurs up some images of mellow saturday afternoons with family & friends chillin out & not really needing anything..., huh?
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I love playing thsi song in the car driving around on a lter summers night.
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Just be thankful IS pure pimp juice. and to those who know,
It aint got nothin to do w/ "NELLY" ! ! ! (wicked chune)

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