Joe Tex (August 8, 1935 - August 13, 1982) was a dynamic Southern soul/R&B singer-songwriter with a great deal of crossover appeal who became famous beginning in the mid 1960s. Born Joseph Arrington Jr. in Rogers, Texas and raised in Baytown, he played the saxophone in his high school band and sang gospel at a local church. He began his career in the early 1950s while he was still in his late teens after winning several talent shows and a trip to New York City, where he took part in the Apollo Theater's weekly Amateur Night contests and won first place four times. These successes led to Tex's discovery by Henry Glover who signed him to King Records in 1955.
Joe Tex debuted on the Pop/Rock charts in 1960 with his cover of Etta James' "All I Could Do Was Cry (Part 1)." His fame took off in 1964 with the self-penned ballad, "Hold What You've Got," which made the Top 5 on both the R&B and Pop/Rock charts and became his first million-selling record. Tex's long string of mostly self-penned hits, which continued through the late 1970s, also included the R&B chart-toppers, "I Want To (Do Everything For You)" (1965), "A Sweet Woman Like You" (1965), and "I Gotcha" (1972), the latter of which went gold and became his greatest Pop/Rock crossover hit, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. His many signature songs also included the funky and upbeat "Show Me" (1967), the rap forerunner, "Skinny Legs And All" (1967), and the funny Grammy-nominated disco smash, "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" (1977). Other hits included "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" (1966), "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (Letter Song)" (1966), "Papa Was Too" (1966), "Men Are Gettin' Scarce" (1968), "Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants" (1971), and "You Said A Bad Word" (1972). In addition, Tex had a hit in 1968 with "Soul Meeting" as a member of The Soul Clan, an R&B/soul supergroup led by Solomon Burke that also included, at various times, Arthur Conley, Don Covay, Ben E. King, Wilson Pickett, and Otis Redding.
Joe Tex was a six-time nominee to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Four of his hits became million-sellers, and his songs have been covered widely by many bands and artists and used in a number of movie soundtracks. Tex made his final public appearance in 1981 as part of a revised version of The Soul Clan.
- The New York Times remembers Joe Tex.
To listen to a song clip, click any song title that has a speaker icon. This will take you to a list of links to CD and/or MP3 product pages from one or more online merchants that have sound samples.
- Give The Baby Anything The Baby Wants 1971
- Hold What You've Got 1964
- I Gotcha 1972
- I Want To (Do Everything For You) 1965
(This song later also became a hit for the Raelettes (1970).)
- The Love You Save (May Be Your Own) 1966
- Men Are Gettin' Scarce 1968
- Show Me 1967
- Skinny Legs And All 1967
- A Sweet Woman Like You 1965
Previous Artist | Next Artist