Mel Carter – “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”

A short summary on Mel Carter’s career

Mel Carter is a R&B and pop singer principally famous for his 1965 hit “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” and whose songs are a staple of the easy listening charts. The Cincinnati, Ohio-born Carter started his music career when he recorded for SAR record label (owned by Sam Cooke) in the early 60s. By the mid-1960s Carter reached the highest point of his commercial achievement, most notably via the Top 10 pop hit “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” which he will always be remembered for. He would then score more hits most especially on the adult contemporary singles rankings. Carter also acted occasionally, appearing on the hit TV series Magnun, P.I., among others.

Carter’s music career

Mel Carter is an American soul/R&B/pop singer and actor, born in Cincinnati, Ohio on Aprl 22, 1939. His passion for singing began at only the age of four when his grandmother held him up to the microphone in a penny arcade recording booth.

The legendary music producer Quincy Jones was the first to discover Carter. Jones signed the young upstarting singer on Mercury Records, where he first demonstrated his vocal talent that began to get noticed by anyone else in the music industry. That included another legend, the singer-songwriter-producer Sam Cooke, who eventually got Carter a recording contract to Derby Records.

Cooke and another songwriter Clint Lavert wrote “When a Boy Falls in Love” for Carter. It was to be Carter’s first charting single, achieving only minor hit positions on both pop and R&B charts in 1963.

Biggest hit yet ever with “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me”

It wasn’t until 1965 that Carter achieved his biggest hit with “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me,” which was written by Harry Noble. It went to #8 on the Billboard Hot 10 and #1 on the adult contemporary singles chart in that year. “Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” sold over a million copies, making the single certified gold.

Minor hits

Although Mel Carter wasn’t able to duplicate his biggest chart smash, he went on to record and release singles that made mostly minor placements on both the pop and adult contemorary charts. These include “(All of a Sudden) My Heart Sings” (#38 pop, #3 adult contemporary), “Love Is All We Need” (#50 pop, #21 adult contemporary), “Band of Gold” (#32 pop, #1 adult contemporary), “You You You” (#49 pop, #11 adult contemporary) and many other more minor hits.

Mel Carter’s acting career

Carter is also an occasional actor, having appeared in numerous television and film productions such as Magnum P.I., CHiPS, Quincy M.E., Sanford and Son, Marcus Welby M.D., The Rifleman, Werewolf, Hunter, and You Again? among others. He also appeared as himself on the PBS special, Doo Wop 51, which was released on DVD.

Some bits of information and trivia on Mel Carter

While he isn’t that active in recording in the later years up to the present, Carter still actively performs live. He has played in SRO venues including the Trump Castle, Royal Albert Hall in London, Taj Mahal and Resort Casino Hotel (owned by Merv Griffin).

Carter’s 1985 album Willing (which he also co-produced), earned him a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Male Gospel Performance.”

“Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me” is still the song that Carter is most fondly remembered for, having been a favorite on oldies radio stations for decades since after its original release.