Lowman Pauling

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Guitarist/songwriter Lowman Pauling was a member of '50s R&B/rock vocal group the "5" Royales and co-wrote "Dedicated to the One I Love," covered by the group on a 1958 King Records single.…
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Guitarist/songwriter Lowman Pauling was a member of '50s R&B/rock vocal group the "5" Royales and co-wrote "Dedicated to the One I Love," covered by the group on a 1958 King Records single. The song was a 1961 hit for the Shirelles and a 1967 hit for the Mamas and the Papas. Besides "Dedicated...," Pauling also wrote "Think" -- not to be confused with Aretha Franklin's million-selling smash -- originally recorded by the "5" Royales and covered as a 1960 R&B hit single for James Brown (a labelmate of theirs doing their stint on King Records) and Ray Charles' cover of "Tell the Truth" made it to number 13 R&B during the summer of 1960. Other "5" Royales hits written by Pauling are their two number one R&B hits, "Baby Don't Do It," "Help Me Somebody," "Crazy, Crazy, Crazy," "I Do," "Tears of Joy," and "Too Much Lovin'." Lowman Pauling is mentioned as a key influence by James Brown, Eric Clapton, and Steve Cropper, among others. The "5" Royales are cited as a groundbreaking link between gospel, R&B/rock, doo wop, and soul music.

Pauling and his brothers Clarence and Curtis backed their father, Lowman Pauling Sr. during concerts as the Royal Sons Gospel Group in their native North Carolina. Carolina radio producer Robert Woodward contacted NY-based Apollo Records about the group. Signed by Apollo, the group's name was changed from the Royal Sons Quintet to the "5" Royales by the label's Carl Le Bowe. With the departure of Johnny Holmes just before the group switched from gospel music to R&B and later Clarence (who would later change his name to Clarence Paul and become a successful Motown producer/songwriter/A&R director and a mentor to Stevie Wonder), the group lineup was guitarist Lowman Pauling, lead singer Johnny Tanner, tenors James Moore and Obadiah "Scoop" Carter, and baritone Otto Jeffries. Their first single was "Give Me One More Chance" b/w "Too Much of a Little Bit." Jeffries became the group's manager and was replaced in the baritone spot by Eugene Tanner.

Success came with "Baby Don't Do It," which held the number one R&B spot for three weeks on Billboard's charts in early 1953. It was followed by another number one R&B single, "Help Me Somebody," which held the top spot for five weeks in spring 1953. Its flip side, "Crazy, Crazy, Crazy," went to number five R&B. More hits followed: the number four hit "Too Much Lovin' (Much Too Much" b/w the risqué "Laundromat Blues" from summer 1953 and "I Do," a number six R&B hit from early 1954. An Apollo LP, The Five Royales, was issued in 1953. The group followed Carl Le Bowe to Syd Nathan's King Records where their biggest hits were "Tears of Joy" (number nine R&B, summer 1957) and "Think" (number nine R&B, fall 1957). Both were included on the King 1957 album Dedicated to You. Five Royales Sing for You was the title of their 1959 King LP.

"Dedicated to the One I Love" was covered by the Shirelles on a 1958 Sceptor Records single after they heard them do the song in concert. After the Shirelles went to number one pop/number two R&B with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow,"their version of "Dedicated to the One I Love" was reissued, going to number three pop and parking at the number two R&B spot for two weeks in early 1961. The Mamas and The Papas' cover held the number two pop spot for three weeks in the spring of 1967. As the group's singles failed to be big hits, Pauling began recording as a solo artist for various labels. Over the decades, the group continued to perform, bolstered by their reputation for exciting live shows.

While performing his custodial duties at a Brooklyn synagogue, Lowman Pauling died on December 26, 1973, in New York, NY.

Lowman Pauling-related releases are All Righty!: Apollo Recordings, Take Me With You Baby, Apollo Sessions, The "5" Royales, "5" Royales Sing for You, and Monkey, Hips and Rice: The "5" Royales Anthology.