In 1968, I was living in New Orleans with a new wife and a new son. Archie Bell hit the number one spot in April of 1968 with his funky toe-tapping “Tighten-Up” “He says My name is Archie Bell and I’m from Houston and I can dance just as good as I walk”. A great dance song for the time. Today, Sept 1 is Archie’s birthday, so I want to extend a Happy Birthday to Archie. The ironic thing about Bell and one of the best dance songs of the 60’s, is that at the time Bell had just returned from Vietnam with a leg injury and he couldn’t dance. Others had to fill in for him when they went on tour.
“Tighten Up was written by Archie and Billy Buttier. It was originally meant to be the B-side of the record, but when Bell’s promoter pushed the A-side and nothing happened, they decided to turn it over and “Tighten-Up” went to number one on both the Hot 100 on Billboard and the R&B charts. Bell could not repeat the feat, however. His second hit was “I Can’t Stop Dancing” which did a respectable number 9 on the Hot 100, but their third effort “There’s Gonna Be a Showdown” peaked at number 21 and that was the end of Archie Bell & The Drells. The group had splt up by the 80’s.
If you don’t remember this one, here’s a link to YouTube where you can listen to it again: Archie Bell & The Drells