Short introduction to Frederick Knight
One-hit wonder Frederick Knight had a significant hit with “I’ve Been Lonely For So Long” in 1972 under Stax Records. Before recording for Stax, Knight also released records under Mercury and Capitol. After Stax had ceased, Knight established his own label Juana Records and became a record producer and songwriter. His works included a hit single “Ring My Bell” for Anita Ward.
“I’ve Been Lonely for So Long” – Frederick Knight’s only major hit as a recording artist
Frederick Knight is an American siger-songwriter and producer. He was born Frederick Douglas Knight, in Birmingham, Alabma on August 15, 1944. Little is known about his early life.
What we do know, of course is that he had recorded for various labels such as Mercury, Capitol, and most famously with Stax. In 1972 Knight released a single on Stax, the catchy “I’ve Been Lonely for So Long,” which was written by Posie Kinght (the singer’s better half) and Jerry Weaver. It was recorded by King as well as his backup of seasoned southern soul session musicians. It became a Top 40 hit on the pop chart, peaking at #27 there. It also rose to #8 on the R&B singles chart — his only Top 10 hit on any singles rankings. “I’ve Been Lonely for So Long” also provided King with his only charting single in the United Kingdom (at #22).
Other minor hits
He released a follow-up to “I’ve Been Lonely for So Long,” called “Trouble,” written by Knight and Arron Varnell. Also released on Stax, it was only a minor hit (at #102 on the pop singles chart).
Knight recorded and released other singles. But only “I Betcha Didn’t Know That,” and “The Old Songs” managed to cop minor positions on the R&B singles charts. “I Betcha Didn’t Know That” (written by Knight and Sam Dees) reached #27 R&B; while his cover of David Pomeranz’s “The Old Songs” (co-written by Pomeranz and Buddy Kaye) only reached #74 R&B.
Knight’s other music-related projects
Knight’s lack of other legitimate hits later pegged him as a one-hit wonder. However, Knight made an appearance on the Golden Globe-nominated documentary film Wattstax (1973). It focused on the Wattstax music festival and the black community in the neighborhood of Watts in Los Angeles, California.
After Stax folded, he moved to Truth Records (where he recorded “I Betcha Didn’t Know That”) before he launched his own labels Juana and Park Place in the late 1970s and the late 1980s, respectively.
He also ventured into producing, helming records by the Controllers. He also wrote (or co-wrote) material that would be recorded by other artists such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Lloyd Price, Major Lance, Shirley Brown, Dorothy Moore, Z.Z. Hill, and Anita Ward.
Anita Ward’s global hit “Ring My Bell”
Knight’s most successful songwriting and producing venture was Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell.” Written by Knight, it was a monster hit, reaching #1 on all major charts — pop, dance, R&B and well as the UK singles charts. It has become a disco/dance classic since. Knight continues to actively pursue his music career.
Marlena Shaw’s song “Be for Real” was written by Knight; it would be covered by other artists such as Leonard Cohen and alternative rockers the Afghan Whigs.