Darrell Banks is a singer, songwriter, and musician from New Orleans. He is best known for his hit single “My Girl”.
Darrell Banks is a singer-songwriter, who was born in Detroit, Michigan. He has had many songs that have been released on albums and singles. Other than his music career, he is also well known for being the husband of actress Janet Jackson.
The gospel-voiced soul singer, born Darrell Eubanks in Mansfield, OH, in 1938, came out as Darrell Banks from the east side of Buffalo, NY, where he had resided since he was a child. He started singing in church before turning secular and screaming at local bars. Doc Murphy, a dentist whose nightclub, the Revilot lounge, was one of those “holes,” became a buddy. Banks got his start not in Buffalo, but in Detroit, MI, thanks to a blistering song written by fellow Buffalo native Donnie Elbert.
Banks met Lebron Taylor and Solid Hitbound Productions via a licensing deal with Doc Murphy; Lebron adopted the name of Murphy’s Buffalo nightclub (Revilot) for the label, which launched in 1966 with Donnie Elbert’s song “Open the Door to Your Heart” (whose official name is “Baby Walk Right In”). Elbert was on the road at the time of the recording. There’s no issue with it. However, only Banks was listed as songwriter when the album was released. Elbert called Broadcast Music Incorporated (B.M.I. ), believing Revilot’s secretary had accidentally missed his name, which happens all the time; it’s what’s on the contract that matters; a record label isn’t a legal document. Elbert discovered that Banks had placed him as the only writer on the song clearance form, giving him 100 percent of the authors’ share of the “Open the Door to Your Heart” performance revenue. Elbert ultimately straightened up the problem; although 45 rpm versions solely show Banks’ name, freshly released CDs credit both Banks and Elbert. Still a thorn in Elbert’s side, according to him, all Banks did was speed up the pace a little, for which he claimed full credit, and ended up with half of a soul classic. The irony is that Banks wasn’t a songwriter; “Open the Door to Your Heart” is the sole song he ever wrote, which he didn’t. Elbert, on the other hand, has over 125 songwriting credits with B.M.I. While the court fight raged on, the song reached number two on the R&B charts and number 27 on the mainstream charts in 1966, making it Banks’ most successful song to date.
Banks then sang “Somebody Somewhere Needs You” by Marc Gordon and Frank Wilson (a Motown song that was never recorded by a Motown singer). Tina Turner and Ike Turner originally recorded the bouncy romp for Loma Records (Ike is nowhere to be found on the album). Banks’ version reached number 34 on the R&B charts and number 55 on the pop charts, providing chitlin’ and grits & gravy circuit employment for the singer; it was his last chart entry. For two nonstarters, “Here Come the Tears” b/w “I’ve Got That Feelin’” and “Angel Baby (Don’t Ever Leave Me)” b/w “Look into the Eyes of a Fool,” both in 1967, the Revilot contract was mysteriously transferred to Atlantic Records’ Atco subsidiary. Banks never released an album on Revilot to match the success of the hit single, but his 1967 Atco album Darrell Banks Is Here included both sides of the Atco singles, as well as nuggets like “I’m Gonna Hang My Head and Cry” from the writing team of Rose Marie McCoy, Donald Bell, Cleveland Horne (the Fantastic Four), and Gene Redd, who worked with Kool & the Gong. In 1968, Atco signed him to Cotillion Records for a final record, “I Wanna Go Home,” written by Fred Briggs (as Coldwater Stone) and Don Davis, and including “The Love of My Woman.” Without Doc Murphy’s participation, Revilot continued to release singles by musicians such as the Parliarment, Rose Batiste, J. J. Barnes, and others. Banks switched chefs again in 1969, signing with Stax Records’ Volt subsidiary for two singles and an album. “I’m the One Who Loves,” which was followed by the two-sided gem “Beautiful Feeling” and “No One Is Blinder (Than a Man in Love),” fared well in the charts but did not result in any overtime at Stax’s pressing facilities. For their Dramatically Yours album, the Dramatics recorded an equally rousing rendition of “Beautiful…”
Banks, who was a thrilling performer on stage, was less than nice off it. He was gloomy, irritable, and had a Sonny Liston frown on his face that said “don’t step on me.” He’s not the kind of person you approach with a “wass up” attitude. Stax Records ruffled Banks’ feathers when they credited a song recorded by Steve Mancha on the Rare Stamps LP to him, which he thought was an insult; both Mancha and Banks recorded the song, and someone simply mixed them up, which was easy to do because both singers, as well as J. J. Barnes, sounded similar (especially since all were produced by Don Davis at the time). The original album only included J. J. Barnes and Steve Mancha, but a CD release included Banks’ and his full Stax LP Darrell Is Here to Stay, which contained Banks’ Johnnie Taylor-sounding “Don’t Know What to Do,” “Forgive Me,” and Mancha’s “I Could Never Hate Her.”
Banks’ music career was cut short by tragedy, with just seven songs and two albums released. Many believe him to have the best voice in soul. He was killed in Detroit in March 1970 by Aaron Bullock, an off-duty cop who was dating Banks’ wife (Marjorie Bozeman). When Banks grabbed Bozeman after work, Bullock interfered, Banks drew a pistol, and the officer responded with lethal force, thus terminating Banks’ four tumultuous years as a recording artist/entertainer. Bozeman, a barmaid, was reportedly attempting to divorce Banks, a divorced father of two children.
Fans of J. J. Barnes’ The Groovesville Masters will want to get their hands on “Harder You Love,” a duet between Barnes and Banks. In 1997, Goldmine Records published The Lost Soul, a collection of Banks’ two albums and three previously unheard tracks: “I Will Fear No Evil,” “I’m Knocking at Your Door,” and “The Harder You Love.” Check it out.
Darrell Banks is a singer, songwriter and musician. He was born in New York City on October 2nd, 1948. His parents were both musicians, which allowed him to grow up around music. Reference: darrell banks – open the door to your heart.
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