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Fred Towles


East Technical High School had become an epicenter for black vocal groups. The Occasions were the first East Tech artists signed to Way Out, followed shortly thereafter by shouting tenor Fred Towles, formerly of the Vireos. When presented with both a football scholarship and draft papers, Towles put his country first, enlisting in the Air Force. While stationed in Minot, North Dakota, he formed the Pharaohs with a few of his vocally inclined copilots. Equipped with a repertoire of rock and roll covers, the Pharaohs toured the military circuit and leapt across the US, along with the occasional date in central Canada. After completing his service in the Air Force, Towles went back home to Cleveland. Upon his return, in 1966, he paid a visit to his high school football coach, and noticed the Way Out sign. He put in a call to Lester Johnson who encouraged him to stop by the offices for an audition. Sitting down at the piano with in-house songwriter Johnny Washington, they created 1968’s “Too Much Monkey Business,” which would find its way to Way-1002.


Fred Towles Appears on:

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