Edwin Starr was an integral part of the soul and dance floor scene since the mid-fifties and the formation of his first band The Future Tones in 1956. He was on the road right to the end.
Born Charles Edwin Hatcher on January 21st, 1942 in Nashville, Tennessee, Edwin was raised and educated in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1962, after completing two years of military service in the USA and Germany he moved to Detroit, the automobile city. By the middle of the decade he was a member of the artistes on the up-and-coming RicTic label under Ed Wingate. Together they released one immortal Northern Soul hymn after another. Songs like "Agent 00 Soul", S.O.S (Stop her On Sight)" and "Headline News" laid the foundations for Edwins' continuing world-wide fame.
In 1968 mogul Berry Gordy swallowed up the Ric Tic artistes and Edwin suddenly found himself on the great Motown record label. He got off to a good start with "I Am The Man For You Baby", but it was with "25 Miles" in 1969 that things really took off.
Edwin was somewhat unusual member of the Motown family, he co-wrote some of his numbers and stood out from the Motown programme with his rough soul shout. The visionary producer, Norman Whitfield (Temptations, Gladys Knight, Rose Royce) was looking for just this kind of voice. He chose Edwin to sing the re-recording of the song "War, huh, Whatizzit Good For, Absolutely Nothing" and the single marched all the way to number 1.
In the times that followed, more and more Motown artistes such as Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder directed their creative energy towards soul and social criticism. When Edwin parted company with Motown with the soundtrack "Hell Up In Harlem" - from which samples can be heard on Hip Hop records from Tone Loc to Ice T - the great Motown "Sound of Young America" was already drawing to a close.
One year later Edwin celebrated his regained freedom with the album "Free To Be Myself" and the "Afternoon Sunshine" LP. His disco-soul stompers "Happy Radio", "(Eye to Eye)Contact" and "Get Up Whirlpool" once and for all established him with an enormous audience at the end of the seventies.
Edwin has been twice nominated for a Grammy, once with "Agent 00 Soul", and "H.A.P.P.Y Radio" is in the Hall of Fame.
Edwin has appeared on several theatre tours, including THE RETURN OF THE GIANTS with the Four Tops and Temptations, and DANCING IN THE STREETS (first tour) with co-stars Martha Reeves and Mary Wilson.
May 1999 Edwin attended a Bruce Springsteen concert at Birmingham's NEC and is asked to duet Edwin's "WAR" hit with the rock superstar.
Edwin makes the pop charts with his guest appearance on the Utah Saints' single Funky Music (Sho Nuff Turns Me On)" which was of course an original Edwin Starr hit and he also guested on the Three Amigos' single "25 Miles". TV appearances include TFI Friday with Chris Evans.
March 2000 Edwin presents a three-part exploration of the link between soul music and the US civil rights movement for the BBC. The program, called "RESPECT - Soul and the Civil Rights Movement" featured Wilson Pickett, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, Jerry Butler and others telling how their songs played a part in calling for change in American society.
June 2001 Edwin performs at the Millenium Stadium for the Speedway Grand Prix.
Sept 2001 Edwin performs for Michael Jackson's anniversary party at the Tavern-on-the-Green in New York.
October 2001 Setting up of Edwin's web site.
December 2001 Edwin takes part in his first Internet chat room discussion via Soul-Patrol. Fans and friends worldwide had the opportunity to send their best wishes and ask Edwin questions.
New Years Eve 2001 Edwin appears on Jules Hollands' Hootenanny on BBC2, opening the show with 25 Miles and reprising with War towards the end. Jules noted that Edwins' voice is so powerful he is the first singer on his show who did not make use of the monitors!
March 2002 Edwin works with Pop Star rejects Helen Farrar and Rachael Makins. Click here for more from the BBC.
March 2002 Edwin performs at Liza Minelli's and David Gest's wedding, without a doubt the ShowBiz wedding of the year. Edwin (a long-time friend of David's) enjoyed meeting and performing with many of his friends and peers at the wedding reception. The entertainment featured a 60-piece orchestra and other entertainers performing there included Paula Abdul, Ed Ames, Tony Bennett, Roberta Flack, Gloria Gaynor, Robert Goulet, the Pointer Sisters, Shaggy, Dionne Warwick, Billy Paul, Chuck Jackson, Ashford and Simpson, Michael McDonald, The Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson, Freda Payne and Taj Mahal.
Joan Collins, Liz Taylor, Janet Leigh, Anthony Hopkins, Michael Douglas, and an old friend - Louis Gossett Jr. were among the hundreds of celebrities present. The whole event was closed by Edwin, who brought everyone to their feet, dancing and singing to Marvin Gaye's 'Grapevine. Edwin makes a very special mention and thanks to Joe Ma Lotti, the conductor/musical director for all of David Gest's productions. "Joe is a very, very good producer and a great guy".
April - June 2002
September 10th 2002 Edwin records "Snowflake Boogie" with Jules Holland for Jules' Christmas album - the song was penned by Jules.
September 26th 2002 Edwin chats on GMTV with former Supreme Mary Wilson.
November 2nd 2002 Edwin spars with Jonathan Ross - Radio 2.
November 6th 2002 Edwin cooks Noisettine on UK Food TV.
November 22nd 2002 Edwin appears on BBC2s "Later" with Jules Holland singing "Snowflake Boogie" a song featured on Jool's album "More Friends". Edwin also sang a duet of "Drowning In My Own Tears" with Sam Moore (formerly of Sam & Dave) Listen to a preview of Edwin's "Snowflake Boogie" -
November 26th 2002 Edwin records in Pittsburgh for PBS American Soundtrack Concert Series
New Years Eve 2002 Edwin sings Stop Her On Sight on Jonathan Ross.
January 20th 2003 Edwin tops Northern Soul Poll as "All-Time Favourite Artist" and "Best All-Time Live performer".
April 2nd 2003 Following a heart attack Edwin passes away at his Nottingham home.
Edwin's grave may be visited at the Southern Cemetary and Wilford Hill Crematorium, West Bridgford, Nottingham. The plot is H19-91, on the cemetary map it is roughly within grid refs J18 - H21.
His epitaph reads:
September 29th 2003 Edwin's Tribute Concert
November 24th 2003 Edwin featured on Jules Holland's HOOTENANNY DVD