Friday, September 9, 2016

The Legendary Box Tops Celebrate 50 Years!

The Box Tops 2016
The Box Tops 2016
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 50 years since the favorite sons of Memphis, the Box Tops, first exploded on the charts but it was in September 1967 that the band’s chart-topping hit “The Letter” dominated the number one spot for four glorious weeks. No one-hit-wonders, the Box Tops enjoyed a slew of Top 30 charting hits between ’67 and the band’s break-up in 1970 including classics like “Soul Deep” (#18), “Cry Like A Baby” (#2), “Neon Rainbow” (#24), and “Choo Choo Train” (#26).

The 1967 incarnation of the blue-eyed soul legends included singer and guitarist Alex Chilton, guitarist Gary Talley, bassist Bill Cunningham, keyboardist John Evans, drummer Danny Smythe, and percussionist Larry Spillman. After the original band’s break-up, Chilton famously went on to form legendary power pop pioneers Big Star while the other members played in various bands around Memphis, Talley in particular becoming an in-demand session player and Cunningham making a respectable name for himself in classical music circles.

The band’s management kept a fake, far inferior version of the Box Tops on the road and in the studio until the mid-‘70s, but the actual band didn’t get back together again until 1989, performing a show in Nashville. The original band, including Chilton but without Spillman, reunited in 1996 to tour internationally, even recording the 1998 album Tear Off! Evans dropped out in 2000, but the band added keyboardist Barry Walsh and soldiered on until Chilton’s untimely death in 2010 at the age of 59 years.

Original Box Tops members Gary Talley and Bill Cunningham reformed the band in 2015 after a brief hiatus, hooking up again with keyboardist Walsh, guitarist Rick Levy, and drummer Ron Krasinski (sadly, Danny Smythe passed away in July 2016), and that’s where the band stands today. The Box Tops will celebrate their 50th anniversary in the summer of 2017, the legend kept alive by original ‘60s-era ‘mates Talley and Cunningham. The band plans on touring extensively over the next year, and have even hinted at a new album that would include obscure, previously-unreleased recordings made with Chilton. In the meantime, the Box Tops have a few 2016 shows scheduled, so be sure to check ‘em out when they come to your hometown!

The Box Tops Fall 2016 shows:
Sep 17 @ NYCB Theatre, Westbury NY (w/Herman’s Hermits, the Grassroots & Gary Lewis)
Sep 24 @ Holly Springs Cultural Center, Holly Springs NC
Sep 30 @ Grand Opera House, Oshkosh WI (headlining ‘Flower Power Weekend’)
Oct 29 @ The Casino, Dania Beach FL
Nov 5 @ Savannah Center, The Villages FL (Vietnam Vets fundraiser)

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