Born: June 25, 1935 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Eddie Floyd (born Eddie Lee Floyd, 25 June 1935, Montgomery, Alabama ) is a soul/R&B singer and songwriter, best known for his work on the Stax record label in the 1960s and 1970s.
Floyd was born in Alabama, but grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He founded The Falcons, which also featured Sir Mack Rice. They were forerunners to future Detroit vocal groups such as The Temptations and The Four Tops. Their 1959 hit You're So Fine has been said by some to have been the first true Soul song. Wilson Pickett was then recruited into the group and sang lead on the group's next success, I Found a Love. Pickett then embarked on a solo career, and The Falcons disbanded.
Floyd then signed on with the Memphis based Stax Records as a songwriter in 1965. He wrote a hit song quickly with Comfort Me recorded by Carla Thomas. He then teamed with Stax's guitarist Steve Cropper to write songs for Wilson Pickett, now signed to Atlantic Records. Atlantic distributed Stax and Jerry Wexler brought Pickett down from New York to work with Booker T. & the MGs. The Pickett sessions were very successful, yielding several Pop and R&B hits, including the Floyd co-written Ninety-Nine and a Half (Won't Do) and 634-5789 (Soulsville USA).
In 1966, Floyd recorded a song intended for Stax star Otis Redding. Jerry Wexler convinced Stax president Jim Stewart to release the version as it was on Eddie Floyd. The Steve Cropper/Eddie Floyd Knock On Wood launched Floyd's solo career and has been cut by over a hundred different artists from David Bowie to Count Basie. It became a huge Disco hit for Amii Stewart in 1979.
Floyd was one of Stax's most consistent and versatile artists. He scored several more hits on his own, including I Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do) and Raise Your Hand, which was covered by Janis Joplin and later Bruce Springsteen.
The song Big Bird (featuring Booker T. Jones on organ, Steve Cropper on guitar, and Duck Dunn on bass) was written while Floyd waited in a London airport for a plane back to the States for Otis Redding's funeral. Though not a US hit, it became an underground favorite in England, and was featured on the video game, Test Drive Unlimited.
Floyd's career didn't keep him from being one of the label's most productive writers. Virtually every Stax artist recorded Floyd material, often co-written with either Steve Cropper or Booker T. Jones, including Sam & Dave (You Don't Know What You Mean to Me), Rufus Thomas (The Breakdown), Otis Redding (I Love You More Than Words Can Say), and Johnnie Taylor's Just the One (I've Been Looking For). The latter played during the opening credits of director Harold Ramis's feature film Bedazzled.
He joined old Stax collaborators Steve Cropper and Donald Duck Dunn, and fronted The Blues Brothers Band on a series of world tours, and in 1998, Floyd and former Falcon Wilson Pickett appeared on screen dueting on 634-5789 in Blues Brothers 2000.