Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Flashback: Bell & James

For some reason, "Livin' It Up (Friday Night)" by Bell & James has been on my mind for the last few days. The duo consists of Philadelphia natives LeRoy Bell (drums/guitar) and Casey James (guitar/bass/keyboards), who both started with a local band called Special Blend, until the they disbanded. Bell's uncle, the legendary songwriter Thom Bell of Philadelphia International got them signed as songwriters for Gamble & Huff and they penned a number of hits for Elton John, MFSB, The O'Jays, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Freda Payne, Phyllis Hyman, The Three Degrees, and others.

In 1978, A&M Records took notice of their talents and singed them to a full deal. Their first album, the self titled Bell & James contained "Livin' It Up (Friday Night)" the opening track from the LP that hit #7 on the U.S. Billboard Black singles, and #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1979. It sold over one million copies in the U.S., plus the same track reached #59 in the UK Singles Chart.

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