Joe Simon Biography
Simon's professional career began following his move to Oakland, California, where a 1962 release, "My Adorable One", was a minor hit.
In 1964, Joe met John Richbourg, a Nashville-based disc jockey who began guiding the singer's musical path, initially on the Sound Stage 7 label.
"Let's Do It Over" (1965), Simon's first R&B hit, emphasized Richbourg's preference for a blend of gentle soul and country, and the singer's smooth delivery found its niche on such poignant songs as "Teenager's Prayer", "Nine Pound Steel" (both 1967) and "The Chokin' Kind", a US R&B number 1 in 1969. The following year, Simon moved to the Polydor Records subsidiary Spring.
He maintained his ties with Richbourg until 1971, when a Gamble And Huff production, "Drowning In The Sea Of Love", was an R&B number 3.
Further success came with "The Power Of Love" (1972), "Step By Step" (1973 - his only UK hit), "Theme From Cleopatra Jones" (1973) and "Get Down Get Down (Get On The Floor)" (1975), but the artist increasingly sacrificed his craft in favour of the dancefloor.
His late 70s releases were less well received and in 1980 he returned to Nashville. From that time, Simon's work was restricted to local labels.
At the turn of the 80s Simon joined the Nashville Posse label, making a very welcome return to country soul.
Cuts like “Magnolia”, the lively “Love Look At Us Now” and the delicate “Baby When Love Is In Your Heart” are simply magnificent.
But the pick is the beautiful “Glad You Came My Way”.
This classic had a super melody and Joe at his most introspective almost caresses the lyric.
Such dynamic range and control. This return to form continued as he signed for Compleat in the mid-80s. “Morning Noon And Night” and “Let Me Have My Way With You”, despite the lack of sweetening, are amongst the best black music from that decade.
Simon’s last secular 45 found him back with Richbourg cutting the fine Tony Joe White penned "Alone At Last"/ “Stay Love” but JR passed away and Simon lost heart.
These days Bishop Joe Simon leads his congregation in song, his glorious mellow voice still capable of sending shivers down your spine. Long may he continue to do so.