Edwin Starr - Agent '00' Soul

1942 - 2003

25 miles signed record

Autographed copy of 25 Miles

Born Charles Edwin Hatcher on 21st January 1942 in Nashville, Tennessee, Edwin went to Detroit in 1962 and became one of the artistes on the newly formed Ric Tic label run by Ed Wingate. The pair collaborated to release classic songs like 'Agent 00 Soul', 'S.O.S' and 'Headline News'.
In 1968 Berry Gordy took over the Ric Tic label and all the artistes found themselves part of the great Motown stable. Edwin's first release for Motown was 'I Am The Man For You Baby', but his first really big hit came in 1969 with 'Twenty Five Miles'

Album cover Classic Edwin album cover

Edwin's wasn't like the rest of the Motown family. He stood out from the norm with his incredible rough voice that was almost a shout and unusually, he co-wrote some of his own numbers. Producer Norman Whitfield who was working with the Temptations and Gladys Knight amongst others, was looking for a particular type of voice for the re-recording of 'War'. Edwin and the single shot straight to number 1.

Nominated for Grammy Awards on two occasions, once with "Agent 00 Soul", Edwin received the accolade of having "H.A.P.P.Y Radio" in the Hall of Fame.

In 2003 Edwin was top of the Northern Soul Poll in two categories; 'All-Time Favourite Artist' and 'Best All-Time Live performer', ahead of such greats as the Temptations, The Isleys and Junior Walker. www.northernsoul.co.uk

I would like to add another category to those, 'All-Time Mr Nice Guy'

Edwin promo

Edwin Starr Promo card

Tribute to Edwin

There could not have been a sadder loss than brother Edwin Starr on the 2nd April 2003. Messages of condolence on his web site spoke volumes about the high esteem in which he was held throughout the music world, but especially within northern soul and Motown circles where his music will live on forever.

25 miles Album coverFor those of you who had the pleasure of meeting him will remember just what a friendly and unselfish person he was, who always took time out to speak with his many fans and nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble. I was first introduced to Edwin personally in October 1994 after requesting that he join me in a radio studio where at that time I was presenting a soul and Motown show, and not only did he accept my offer to be part of that show, we actually ended up doing the whole three hour programme as an Edwin Starr ‘special’ – for which he didn’t charge me a single penny.

In addition to that, he made three personalised jingles for me and I am extremely proud to own the master tapes to that show that featured all of his work at Motown and Ric Tic, which now takes pride of place on my personal Motown web site.

We will all remember in our own special way the times that we saw him perform live around the UK. From the days of the Twisted Wheel where he was a regular visitor, to the California Ballroom in Dunstable, The Golden Torch at Tunstall, Wigan Casino, and countless other venues where he performed regularly. Whilst James Brown has commanded the tag of being the hardest working man in show business, I would argue that Edwin could easily have qualified for that accolade too.

Hell up in Harlem Album cover We will all miss Edwin and life on the soul scene will never quite be the same anymore although his legacy of music will continue for many years to come. Life seems to have a cruel habit of taking people from this earth without warning, and I know that everyone reading this tribute will have their own special memories of this great man. At the young age of 61 this was a cruel blow to deliver and sadly he has now been added to a long list of soul greats that have now departed from this earth and I am sure he will join the likes of Marvin, Tammi, Laurence, Shorty, Jackie Wilson, Curtis Mayfield, and Major Lance but to name a few in that great place in the sky where I am sure he will keep them entertained.

It is ironic that his 1970 epic recording ‘War’ had a more powerful message than any other anti-war song of our generation and is one that will be in our hearts during this difficult time throughout the conflict in the middle east. I had recently reviewed on this web site two of Edwin’s CD releases via Universal Music where they had coupled four of his classic albums over two releases. Sadly he will never know just how many copies were sold.

Edwin Starr was a unique artist the likes of which we will never see again, his boundless energy on stage, his powerful vocal delivery, and electrifying stage presence is an inspiration to all of today’s new breed of ‘soul’ acts.

God bless Edwin – may you rest in peace. We will NEVER forget you.

Alan Taylor

Web Author/DJ/Radio presenter

Autographed copy of Time

Autographed copy of Time

California Ballroom advert

Advertising the Edwin concert at the California Ballroom in 1973

The Edwin Starr Tribute concert

September 28th 2003 in Tamworth

Appearing in honour of Edwin were:

Edwin's backing band - The Team
Angelo Starr
Gwen Dickey (Rose Royce)
Clem Curtis (Foundations)
Viola Wills
Jaki Graham
Real Thing
Lorraine Silver
Geno Washington

Both performances were sold out

Edwin Starr autograph

Autograph from the California Ballroom in 1972

From my autograph book

The first time I met Edwin Starr, was Christmas Eve 1972. I asked him for his autograph, something I did with most artistes who appeared at the California Ballroom. Neither of us had anything to write on so Edwin dashed off to the gents and came back with a sheet of Jeyes toilet paper and signed that. As you can see I stuck in in the book but if you unfold it, I have a unique autograph, it says.....

Love Edwin * Starr JEYES

That says everything about Edwin as far as I'm concerned. How many other big stars would even contemplate signing their name on a sheet of toilet paper?

Essential collection album cover

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