Introduction to Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford
Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford were an American male-female duo formed during 60s music era, and now considered as a one-hit wonder act. Gardner was an R&B drummer and singer who had formed his own band called the Sonotones. But with Ford, he achieved chart success through their 1962 hit “I Need Your Lovin’” which echoed Ike and Tina Turner. Following singles became unsuccessful after their first and only hit.
Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford’s early years
Best remembered for their lone hit single “I Need Your Lovin'” in 1962, Don Gardner & Dee Dee Ford were an American male-female R&B duo formed in the early 1960’s. Gardner was born on May 9, 1931 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while Ford was born Wrecial Holloway in 1936 in Minden, Louisiana in 1936.
Gardner began performing professionally in 1947, singing in the group Harry “Fat Man” Crafton & The Craftones while he was still attending school. He later formed his own band The Sonotones. In 1949 he issued his first record as a solo artist for the Philadelphia-based Gotham label, which was billed as Donald Gardner. When organist Richard ‘Groove’ Holmes left the Sonotones either in late 1959 or early 1960, Dee Dee Ford took over his place behind the keyboards.
About Ford’s early days, she and her family relocated to Newark, New Jersey in 1951. She began playing the organ in a gospel group. Aside from playing the instrument, Ford also possessed a great singing voice that became an asset for Gardner’s group.
Gardner and Ford with their single “I Need Your Lovin”
In 1962, Gardner and Ford eventually worked as a duo, naming themselves as simply Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford. Signed to Fire Records, the two recorded a “I Need Your Lovin.'” Before they released it as a single, they made some edits to the song such as abridging the intro and putting a faster tempo.
Following the record’s release, “I Need Your Lovin'” reached its peak position at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite the single’s success, Gardner reportedly was not given any royalties. Their old label KC Records (where the duo had recorded before signing to Fire) even attempted to take advantage “I Need Your Lovin’”’s chart success by releasing their old recordings such as “Glory of Love” (which actually peaked at #75 on the pop chart).
The duo continued to issue several singles for a variety of labels until the 1970’s. Nonetheless, none of them were able to repeat the success of “I Need Your Lovin'” and later Gardner and Ford eventually fell apart. Gardner went back to recording as a solo artist while Ford quit the music industry.