The O’Jays and Me

Posted: February 6, 2016 in Humor, R & B, Random Encounters, Rock Music
Tags: , , , , ,

For some reason I’ve had more than my share of random encounters with ojaysfamous people over the years, both from the rock world and elsewhere. Hell, I was once standing at an airport urinal, looked to my right, and there stood Mr. Soupy Sales. For you kids under 50 out there Mr. Sales was Peewee Herman before Peewee Herman was Peewee Herman. Sort of. Anyway, my friends seem to enjoy hearing about these random encounters of mine so I thought I’d share them from time-to-time.

It happened when my late friend Jigger and I were heading to Vegas back in the early ’90s. You’ve got to remember that I’ve always been quite the Motown/Philly Sound fan and am pretty knowledgeable about a lot of the groups of that genre.

We’d been in the air for a few minutes when I thought I recognized a guy a couple of rows in front of me. Was that Eddie Levert of The O’Jays? I loved The O’Jays!

What the hell, I thought. I went up and sat by him (keep in mind there were only about 30-people on the plane). Sure enough, it was Levert and the rest of the group along with about eight roadies sitting here and there. Throwing caution and common sense to the wind,  I started singing “Love Train” and begging the guys to join in. What can I say? I was overcome with joy at meeting the O’Jays and I’d never have this chance again.

Long story short, in a few minutes all three O’Jays were singing backup to yours truly on lead vocal. One of the guys (Walter Williams possibly) actually got up in the aisle and was doing the dance moves as I stood and sang beside him. Surreal. About halfway through I forgot the words and Levert took over. I then attempted to join the dancing but failed miserably, to the delight of the crowd.

I then took a theatrical bow with the group as the crowd went wild (at least in my memory), the stewardesses applauded and Jigger sat there shaking his head. I believe I even followed up by trying to start a rousing rendition of “Backstabbers” but my moment had passed. The group got off at our stopover in Minneapolis, bro hugs were shared all around, and they went on their way. To this day I can’t watch that Coors commercial and hear “Love Train” without getting a big grin on my face. If only camera phones were in existence back then. Damn.

By the way, my buddies The O’Jays were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. I wonder if they remember me . . .

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