-----Levert was born in Bessemer, Alabama, but was raised in Canton, Ohio. While attending high school, he met buddies Walter Williams, Bill Isles, Bobby Massey, and William Powell. In 1958, while attending Canton McKinley High School, they decided to form a singing group after seeing Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers.
Originally known as The Triumphs, and then The Mascots, the friends began recording with "Miracles" in 1961, which was a moderate hit in the Cleveland area. In 1963, they took the name "The O'Jays," in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O'Jay.
The O'Jays had their first hit with "Lonely Drifter," in 1963. In spite of the record's success, the group had been considering quitting the music industry when Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters, took an interest in the group. With Gamble & Huff, the O'Jays (now a trio after the departure of Isles and Massey) emerged at the forefront of Philadelphia soul with "Back Stabbers" in 1972, and topped the Billboard Hot 100 the following year with "Love Train."
Throughout the 1960s, they continued to chart with songs such as "Lipstick Traces," "Stand In For Love "Stand Tall "Let It All Out "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow "Look Over Your Shoulder "Deeper In Love With You and "One Night Affair along with several other regional and national pop and R&B hits. In 1972, they finally scored with their first million-seller, "Back Stabbers," from the album of the same name. By this time, original members Bill Isles and Bobby Massey had also departed, leaving the group a trio. This album produced several more hit singles, including the #1 hit, "Love Train."
During the remainder of the 1970s the O'Jays continued releasing hit singles, including "Put Your Hands Together," "For the Love of Money," "Give the People What They Want," "Let Me Make Love To You," "I Love Music," "Livin' for the Weekend", "Message in Our Music" and "Darlin' Darlin' Baby (Sweet Tender Love)." Original member William Powell died of cancer in 1977 at age 35.
After adding Sammy Strain of Little Anthony and the Imperials, the O'Jays continued recording, though with limited success. 1978's "Use ta Be My Girl" was their final Top Five hit. Though they continued charting on the R&B charts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the O'Jays never again achieved pop success.
In 1992, Sammy Strain left the group, and returned to the Imperials, to be replaced by Nathaniel Best, and later, by Eric Grant. Their latest album was Imagination in 2004. Though they continued charting on the R&B charts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the O'Jays never again achieved pop success.
Later in the 1990s, the group did little recording, though they remained a popular live draw.In 1992, Sammy Strain left the group, and returned to the Imperials, to be replaced by Nathaniel Best, and later, by Eric Grant. Later in the 1990s, the group did little recording, though they remained a popular live draw.
The O'Jays were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004, and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005.
Eddie Levert released a solo CD, "I Still Have It," in 2012.
For more about Eddie and the O'Jays, visit their Websites: