I happened upon a video of THE BOXTOPS from Memphis, TN, doing their mega-hit THE LETTER this morning. The group was composed at the time of, (I think because there were several different permutations) Alex Chilton, Gary Talley, Bill Cunningham, Danny Smythe, Tom Boggs, Dave Waterbury, and Rick Allen.
The name that jumps out is Lead Singer ALEX CHILTON, who went on to form the group, BIG STAR, that never had the success of The Box Tops, but was a cult favorite and respected by other musicians. The group was originally known as "The Devilles," but changed their name when they discovered there was another recording group using it.
So with a brand new identity the boys went into Chips Moman's hot recording studio, American Sound with Producer Dan Penn, and cut the 2 minute long song. "The Letter" took off like a rocket, hitting #1 on The Billboard Chart and staying at the Top for a month. The single sold a remarkable 4 million copies making it Solid Gold. Until the band disbanded in 1970 they had several more Chart Records, including "Neon Rainbow," but nothing near the popularity of The Letter. Here they are doing their signature hit on the Upbeat Show. @therealdonrocks
A version of this post originally appeared on The Don Rocks Facebook page. For more stories like this everyday, join us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.