Introduction to Eddie Floyd
Eddie Floyd (born Eddie Lee Floyd in 1937 in Montgomery, Alabama) is an African-American R&B singer-songwriter. He has been known for his long and fruitful association with Stax Records where he was one of the label’s most prolific and productive songwriters. Floyd one of the founding members of The Falcons, considered as the prototype R&B vocal group whose footsteps would be followed by other vocal acts such as the Temptations. Floyd sang lead for a time when original singer Joe Stubbs left, until a new lead singer in Wilson Pickett came over. When Pickett too left the Falcons, the band soon disbanded. After the Falcons, Floyd took a job as a songwriter for Stax. He either wrote alone or co-wrote songs there, which produced hits such as “Comfort Me” (for Carla Thomas), “634-5789” and “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do)” (for Wilson Pickett), among many others. As a recording artist, Floyd scored his biggest hit with “Knock On Wood” during the 60s music era, which topped the R&B singles chart and is now an oldies music favorite. Despite his busy recording career, it still won’t prevent him from being one of Stax’s most prolific hitmakers. In the 1980s he collaborated and fronted the comic R&B revivalist band The Blues Brothers in their major tours. Floyd is still active recording and performing up to the present. The full biography follows below.
Floyd’s early life and exposure to music
Eddie Floyd is an American R&B and soul singer/songwriter. He was born Eddie Lee Floyd in Montgomery, Alabama on June 25, 1937. He moved to Detroit, Michigan where he spent his formative years.
He first got his musical experience by founding a group called the Falcons, who also featured Mack Rice and later, Wilson Pickett. The Falcons released successful singles such as the hit “You’re So Fine,” but disbanded shortly afterwards. Pickett immediately sought for a solo career.
Floyd’s career as a songwriter
Floyd’s first recording contract was with Stax Records in 1965, as its songwriter. He wrote a song for Carla Thomas called “Comfort Me,” which became a hit. He also collaborated with Stax’s house guitarist Steve Cropper to write songs for Floyd’s ex-Falcons bandmate Pickett. Pickett was by now signed to Atlantic Records, which became Stax’s national distributor. Floyd and Cropper wrote hits for Pickett such as “634-5789” and “Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won’t Do).”
Floyd’s singing career
In 1966, Floyd and Cropper wrote a song originally intended for Otis Redding. Floyd also recorded the song, entitled “Knock on Wood.” Music journalist-turned-producer Jerry Wexler (the man also responsible for bringing Pickett to New York to work with Booker T. and MGs) convinced the big bosses of Stax to release Floyd’s version of “Knock on Wood.” Stax relented, and did release Floyd’s “Knock on Wood” as the first single, effectively launching the essentially songwriting Wood’s solo singing career.
“Knock on Wood” reached the top of the R&B singles chart, and #28 on the Billboard pop chart, in 1966. Since then it has been covered by a lot of artists including David Bowie, Count Basie, Amii Stewart, and eventually, Otis Redding (in a duet with Carla Thomas).
Floyd also had more significant hits including “I’ve Never Found a Girl (to Love Me Like You Do)” (#40 pop, #2 R&B) and “Bring It Home to Me” (#17 pop, #4 R&B), as well as more minor chart placers like “Raise Your Hand” (#79 pop, #16 R&B, #42 UK) which was eventually covered by Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.
Floyd as a versatile artist
Floyd grew to be one of Stax’s most versatile artists, while maintaining himself as one of the label’s prolific songwriters. Almost all of the Stax artist recorded songs that were written by Floyd, including Sam & Dave’s “You Don’t Know What You Mean to Me,” Otis Redding’s “I Love You More Than Words Can Say” and Johnnie Taylor’s “Just the One,” among many others.
In 1980 Floyd was still active, releasing material for the UK-based I-Spy Records. He also joined the revivalist band The Blues Brothers on a series of world tours. In the late 1990s he and Pickett reunited on the Blues Brothers film Blues Brothers 2000 where they sang “634-5789” together.
Up to the present Floyd has continued to perform and record; occasionally his son Anthony Floyd, sings with him. He returned to Stax Records in 1998; the label is now owned by Concord Music Group. There he released an album called Eddie Loves You. He also released a holiday album in 2012, At Christmas Time.