Introduction to King Floyd
King Floyd was an American soul and funk singer and songwriter. After his time in the military he went to try his luck in the music field. But his debut album A Man In Love didn’t chart, he returned to New Orleans in 1969. He was then invited by R&B arranger Wardell Quezergue to record “Groove Me” in 1970. When “Groove Me” was released on Malaco Records’ Chimneyville subsidiary, it became a big hit on both the R&B and pop charts that year. King’s following singles were respectable hits such as “Baby Let Me Kiss You” and “Woman Don’t Go Astray”. However, King had a falling-out with Querzegue and his subsequent records never made much impact as then, due to changing musical styles such as disco. As a singer, King never resurrected his past successes, even his comeback album in 2000 Old Skool Funk. However, King shared credits for co-writing Shaggy’s 1995 hit “Boombastic”. King, aged 61, died in 2006 from a lingering illness.
Early life and career
King Floyd was born King Floyd III on February 13, 1945 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was later raised in the nearby city of Kenner. Since his early teenage years Floyd had been performing music, initially at street corners, and eventually at a bar in Bourbon Street where he was now having paid gigs. He also met and befriended contemporaries such as Earl King and Willie Tee.
Floyd’s budding music career was hampered for a while when he was sent for military duties. In 1963, he was discharged from his army service, and following this discharge he moved to New York City to continue trying to make a name for himself in the music business. The following year Floyd migrated to the West Coast to try his luck there.
Floyd’s recording career
It was in Los Angeles, California, where Floyd met and befriended another New Orleans native, record producer Harold Battiste. Through Battiste, King landed his first recording deal with Original Sound label, where he issued his first single “Walkin’ and Talkin’.” Then in 1967 he moved to Mercury subsidiary label Pulsar, where he released his debut LP A Man in Love in that same year. But all of his efforts went for naught. Floyd was also broke at that time, so he returned to New Orleans to work for the local post office.
Biggest hit with “Groove Me”
In 1970, Floyd bumped into producer/arranger Wardell Quezerque, who was then working at Malaco Records. Quezerque then got Floyd into recording “Groove Me,” which Floyd himself wrote. It was released on Malaco’s Chimneyville subsidiary; Atlantic Records picked the record for national distribution.
“Groove Me” became his first single to get into the charts, and also his most successful single in his career. It went all the way to #1 on the R&B singles chart, and #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over a million copies and was given a gold disc on Christmas day in 1970. The hit track, which also became Floyd’s signature tune, came from Floyd’s self-titled album, also released in 1970.
Because of the commercial and chart success of “Groove Me,” Floyd resigned from his post office job and embarked on a national tour. In 1971, King Floyd‘s second single “Baby Let Me Kiss You” reached the Top 40 pop chart at #29, and #5 on the R&B singles chart.
After “Groove Me”…
In 1971, King Floyd’s second single “Baby Let Me Kiss You” reached the Top 40 pop chart at #29, and #5 on the R&B singles chart.
However, Floyd was starting to have creative differences with Quezerque. Floyd’s conflicts with Quezerque directly affected his subsequent releases. His 1973 LP Think About It, tanked although it was an excellent album.
However, Atlantic made a surprise move by re-releasing a song Floyd had issued three years before. The single was called “Woman Don’t Go Astray,” which became a top 10 R&B hit in 1972 (it also reached #53 on the pop charts). It also earned a gold status.
Despite this, the connection between Atlantic and Malaco came to an end. Eventually King also quit from Malaco, and moved to Mercury’s Dial subsidiary, where he released a few singles including “I Feel Like a Dynamite” (#35 R&B, 1974). However, the emergence of disco left little room for Floyd’s Southern soul and funk offering.
He moved to different places the US in an effort to rekindle his music career by performing a few local gigs. In 1982 Floyd was in South Africa, embarking on a tour there for a month.
In 1995 Floyd resurrected his career, at least as a songwriter, where he shared credits for Shaggy’s mega-hit “Boombastic.” He reunited with Malaco Records in 2000, where he released one of his last recordings Old Skool Funk, which failed to make a dent on the charts. He died on March 6, 2006 after battling with stroke and diabetes. Floyd was 61 years old.