Vocalist Bobby Wade grew up in Meadsville, Pennsylvania. While barely a teenager, he began singing with local drummer Cootie Harris whose jazz quintet bolstered Wade's evolving skills with an ever-expanding repertoire of Sarah Vaughan and Billy Eckstine standards. With Harris at the wheel, Wade traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, in 1965 to record versions of Bobbie Freeman’s “You Don’t Understand Me” and T-Bone Walker's “Call It Stormy Monday.” Released on Sharon, Pennsylvania's custom imprint Mar-Jon, the couplet of covers did more than provide a demonstration of Wade's abilities. “My destiny told me to go West,” said Wade, who relocated to Cleveland in 1965. On his way to work one day, Wade spotted the headquarters for Way Out Records. He grabbed a copy of his single from his glove box and stopped in. Encouraged by Johnson's enthusiasm after hearing his record, Wade called in sick and began collaborating immediately with staff writers John Washington and Rico Simmons. Their collaboration “Flame In My Heart” would enter the marketplace not as a mainline Way Out single, but as the finale on Big Jim.