Darrell Banks (Born Darrell Eubanks on July 25, 1937 & dying February 24, 1970) was born in Mansfield, Ohio, but grew up in Buffalo, New York. He began singing in his local church before turning to secular soul music. Darrell befriended Doc Murphy, a dentist, who owned a Buffalo club named The Revilot, where Banks performed. The club’s name was then used as the recording label for the 1966 recording of his biggest hit song “Open the Door to your Heart” (#27 Billboard Hot 100 & #2 Billboard R&B Singles). An interesting twist to the song is that Donnie Elbert, Darrell’s Buffalo buddy actually wrote the song as “Baby Walk Right In”. It appears that Banks tried to steal the song from Elbert. Elbert sued and now both are credited with writing the song, even though according to Elbert all Banks did was speed the song up a bit. It turns out that was Banks only songwriting credential while Elbert went on to have his name on over 125 songs as a songwriter. Darrell Banks followed up his hit song with “Somebody (Somewhere) Needs You” which was not nearly as successful charting at #55 on the Hot 100 and #34 on the R&B Singles chart. Banks moved on to the Atlantic Records subsidiary Atco Records and recorded several more unsuccessful singles and two albums. In 1970 Banks life was cut short due to his jealousy over a barmaid named Marjorie Bozeman who Banks was dating at the time. She had been out one evening with another man who happened to be an off duty police officer named Aaron Bullock. When the couple returned to Bozeman’s house Banks was waiting for them. According to eye witnesses Banks pulled a gun and was then shot twice by Bullock causing his death. Due to this unfortunate mishap Darrell Banks had a much to short tenure as a recording artist. His 1960’s work is much more appreciated now than when Banks was back in the ’60’s. He is part of the now popular 1960’s Northern Soul group of artists. Banks had a beautiful soul voice and his songs are a true joy to listen to. Other Darrell Banks Hit Songs: “I’m the One Who Loves”, “Beautiful Feelin'”, “No One Is Blinder (Than a Man in Love)”, “I Could Never Hate Her”, “Forgive Me”, “The Harder You Love”, “Don’t Know What to Do”, “I Will Fear No Evil”, “I’m Knocking at Your Door, Please Let Me In”, “Out Love (Is in the Pocket)”, “Angel Baby (Don’t You Leave Me)”, Look Into the Eyes of a Fool”, “I Wanna Go Home”, “The Love of My Woman”, “Here Come the Tears”, “I’ve Got a Feelin'”, “Just Because the Love Has Gone”, “You’re Gonna Cry When I’m Gone”, “Another Tear Will Take Its Place” and “You Better Go”.
Early life and career
American soul singer Darrell Banks was born Darrell Eubanks on July 25, 1935 in Mansfield, Ohio. When he was a toddler, he and his family moved to Buffalo, NY. Like most soul artists, Banks also started singing in gospel churches before shifting secular to secular music and singing in lounges. He befriended Doc Murphy, a dentist and owner of the Revilot Lounge. A fellow Buffalo resident, Donnie Elbert, would write a song Banks entitled “Open the Door to Your Heart.”
During the 60s music era, Banks released his debut single “Open the Door to Your Heart” (whose legal name is “Baby Walk Right In”) on Solid Hitbound Productions/Revilot Records. When the single came out, Banks was credited as its writer and not Elbert. Thus, Elbert and Banks began a protracted legal battle over the song credits, but in the end the court ruled in Elbert’s favor.
However, while the courts were still settling the matter, “Open the Door to Your Heart” reached its peak position at #27 on the pop chart and #2 on the R&B chart in 1966. This record is now cherished by passionate oldies music fans.
Bank’s second single “Somebody (Somewhere) Needs You,” peaked at #34 on R&B chart and #55 on the pop chart. In 1967, Banks switched to Atco Records where he released the singles “Here Come the Tears”/”I’ve Got That Feelin” and “Angel Baby (Don’t Ever Leave Me)”/”Look into the Eyes of a Fool” but unfortunately, none of them failed to chart.
Despite “Open the Door to Your Heart” being a big hit, Banks never released an album on Revilot to make the most of its success. Atco Records, however, included his first two Revilot singles (“Open the Door to Your Heart”and “Somebody (Somewhere) Needs You”) to its own compilation Darrel Banks Is Here. In 1969, Banks issued another full-length album under Stax Records and two singles which did not make to the charts.
On February 1970 in Detroit, Banks was killed after being shot in the neck by an off-duty policeman who had been having an affair with the former’s girlfriend.
“Open the Door to Your Heart” copy as a rare collector’s item
In December 2014 collectors were bidding for the copy of “Open the Door to Your Heart” a week before the end of the online auction. The bid price was reported to be an excess of £11,000. The copy, which was pressed by London Records, is thought to be the only existing copy in circulation. It was reported that all the original versions had been destroyed when competing label EMI Records won the rights to release and distribute “Open the Door to Your Heart.”