Joe Tex (born Joseph Arrington Jr. and later known as Yusuf Hazziez following religious conversion ??? ), was an American Southern soul singer-songwriter, most popular during the 1960s and 1970s. His style of speaking over music, which he called 'rap', made him a predecessor of the modern style of music.
Joe Tex made the first Southern soul record that also hit on the pop charts ("Hold What You've Got," in 1965, made number five in Billboard). His raspy-voiced, jackleg preacher style also laid some of the most important parts of rap's foundation. He is, arguably, the most underrated of all the '60s soul performers associated with Atlantic Records, although his records were more likely than those of most soul stars to become crossover hits.
Dave Marsh, Biography of Joe Tex; www.allmusic.com.
As an artist, Tex was down-home though not accommodating. Perhaps due to his often maverick and off-putting behavior, his legacy is oddly sandwiched in between Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Garnet Mimms. That's a strange predicament for one of the best-selling acts of the '60s and '70s.
Jason Elias, Review of Joe Tex Greatest Hits!!! (2000; 7-N/Buddah); www.allmusic.com.
Tex was born in Baytown, Texas. He was subsequently raised in the Central Texas town of Rogers. His professional career as a singer began onstage at the Apollo. He won first place in a 1954 talent contest and duly secured a record deal. Although his early releases on King Records, Ace and the Anna Records labels were considered by some to be derivative and generally disappointing in sales, Tex meanwhile honed his songwriting talent. James Brown's cover version of "Baby You're Right" (1962) became a U.S. number 2 hit, after which Tex was signed to Dial Records.
Although early releases showed promise, it was not until 1965 that Tex prospered, guided by Nashville, Tennessee record producer, Buddy Killen. Recorded at the FAME studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and distributed by Atlantic on Killen's Dial record label, "Hold What You've Got" was a U.S. #5 pop hit. Others followed, namely "A Woman Can Change A Man", and "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" which were both slow ballads. But a change in tempo also brought hits such as "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)" (1966), and "Show Me" (1967). Tex's recording career was distinguished by his extensive single releases. For example, in 1965 alone, Tex released seven singles, followed by six in 1966 and five in 1967. He had released over thirty singles prior to the release of his first album, in 1965.
Meanwhile the singles "Skinny Legs And All" (U.S. #10) and "Men Are Getting Scarce" also became major hits for Tex, but the singer seemed unsure of his future direction. His last major hit of that time was "I Gotcha" in 1972, and it was then he decided to retire.
A convert to the Muslim faith since 1966, he changed his name to Yusuf Hazziez, and toured as a spiritual lecturer. He has one daughter, Eartha Doucet, and four sons, Joseph Arrington III, Ramadan Hazziez, Jwaade Hazziez and Joseph Hazziez.
He returned to music in 1975, and two years later enjoyed a massive comeback hit with "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)", which reached U.S. #12. By the 1980s he had withdrawn again from full-time performing. He devoted himself to Islam, his Texas ranch and the Houston Oilers American Football team.
Joe Tex died at his home in Navasota, Texas, following a heart attack, just five days after his 49th birthday.
Rivalry with James Brown
It has been said that a feud between Tex and James Brown began after James Brown allegedly began fooling around with a woman Tex was dating, as well as the report that James Brown took his dance moves especially the microphone trick. Similarities do exist in their dance moves (Joe Tex and James Brown ). He then wrote a song called "You Keep Her." They shared a few more shows together until Tex mocked James Brown's act of throwing a cape over his shoulder and screamed "please - get me out of this cape" James Brown later fired a gun at a nightclub belonging to Tex.
"Hold What You've Got" spent 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold a million copies by 1966. "Skinny Legs And All" was Tex's second million seller spending 15 weeks in the charts. He was awarded a gold disc by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in January 1968. "I Gotcha" also penned by Tex and released in January 1972, went to #2 for two weeks, and stayed for 20 weeks in the listings. The RIAA gold disc award was made on 22 March 1972. It went on to sell over two million copies by August that year.
For a more complete discography, see Joe Tex Discography.
1965 Hold On To What You've Got (Dial Records, distributed by Atlantic Records) - US Pop #124, US R&B #2
1965 The New Boss (Dial/Atlantic) - US #142, US R&B #3
1966 Show Me (Dial/Atlantic)
1966 The Love You Save (Dial/Atlantic) - US #108
1966 I've Got to Do a Little Better (Dial/Atlantic)
1967 The Best of Joe Tex (Dial/Atlantic)
1968 Live And Lively (Dial/Atlantic) - US #84
1968 Soul Country (Dial/Atlantic) - US #154
1969 Buying A Book (Dial/Atlantic) - US #190
1969 Happy Soul (Dial/Atlantic)
1969 You Better Get It (Dial/Atlantic)
1970 With Strings And Things (Dial/Atlantic)
1972 I Gotcha (Dial) - US # 17
1972 Spill the Beans (Dial)
1977 Bumps & Bruises (Epic) - US #108
1978 Rub Down (Epic)
1965 "I Want To (Do Everything For You)" R&B #1
1965 "Hold What You've Got" U.S. #5
1966 "A Sweet Woman Like You" R&B #1
1966 "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)"
1966 "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M.(The Letter Song)"
1966 "I Believe I'm Gonna Make It"
1966 "I've Got To Do A Little Bit Better"
1966 "Papa Was, Too"
1967 "Show Me"
1967 "Skinny Legs And All"
1972 "I Gotcha" R&B #1, U.S. #2
1976 "Have you ever"
1977 "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" U.S. #12, UK #2
1979 "Loose Caboose"