Our Top 10 Joe Tex Songs looks back at the career of an artist that probably never got the credit he deserved from his impact on popular music history. Joe Tex was born in Texas. He came to New York in the 1950s and was discovered at New York’s Apollo Theater where he continued to win the Theater’s talent contests Joe Tex was one of the great soul artists of the 1960s that was signed to Atlantic Records. Yet, because of the label’s huge stars like Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave etc.. he kind of always flew under the radar with the exception of his songs. The man had tons of r&b hits. Those hits were very influential on the development of r&b and soul and it ability to cross over onto the pop charts. Additionally, it could be argued that he could be the first rap artist as he recorded many spoken word raps over many of his songs.
There was a great sense of humor that perpetuated throughout the songs of Joe Tex. That humor defined many of his mid 70s hits like “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman),” Skinny Legs And All,” and I Gotcha.” It was a humor that the man would not have been able to get away with in the current climate and also probably why many of those songs have kind of been kept under wraps over the past thirty years.
One of the most fascinating chapters of the Joe Tex story was his rivalry with James Brown. The two men accused each other of often stealing each other’s dance moves and vocal styles. They even shared the same woman which resulted in a great Joe Tex song entitled “You Keep Her.” In the end, James Browne did record some of Joe Tex’ songs including James Brown’s big hit Baby’ Your Right.
While our goal has always been to present the great artists of classic rock history and all the links to the music from artists of other styles of music like r&b, soul, and jazz, it’s very important to present the artists that have fallen through the cracks, the ones whose names are not mentioned often enough, the ones who had a significant impact on music, the ones like Joe Tex. Your going to love these Joe Tex songs. They were loved heavily when they were first released, and they should be remembered as much as the music is of James Brown, Aretha Franklin, The Temptations and all the other great soul and r&b artists of the 1950s, 60s 70s and 80s.
# 10 – Baby You’re Right
We open up our Top 10 Joe Tex songs list with his classic song “Baby You’re Right.” Oh baby does this sound so sweet. Its r&b at its finest. James Brown knew it was too and that’s why he recorded the song. Joe Tex released the song in 1960. James Brown issued it as a single in 1961.
# 9 – I Want To (Do Everything For You)
The great song “I Want To (Do Everything for You)” was composed and performed by Joe Tex in 1965. The song went straight to number one on the Billboard R&B Charts and broke the Billboard Top 30 on the Mainstream Charts. The song was covered in the 1990s by Huey Lewis and The News.
# 8 – You Keep Her
Oh man you have to love this one. The long running fuel between James Brown reaches one of its most entertaining moments when Joe Tex recorded this great song to tell James Brown to keep his ex wife who left Joe Tex for James Brown. After a while, James Brown wrote Joe Tex a letter saying if he wanted his wife back he could have her. Joe Tex responded with this great song “You Keep Her.”
# 7 – Under Your Powerful Love
Continuing with our top 10 Joe Tex songs list we feature a great number entitled, “Under Your Powerful Love.” The song was released right in the middle of the 1970s in 1975. While it was unable to break the Billboard Top 100, it did well on the Billboard R&B charts peaking at number twenty three.
# 6 – Pneumonia
This great R&B soul funk tune entitled “Pneumonia,” was written by Joe Tex as a response to the song “Fever,” which Joe Tex had claimed to write. Supposedly, Joe Tex composed the classic song “Fever,” but sold away writing credits for the song because he needed money to pay bills. The songwriters who took credit for the song “Fever,” have denied this. Ether way, this was a great answer song to “Fever.” It was Little Willie John who had the big hit with “Fever,” and Otis Blackwell and Joe Cooley who got the songwriting credit.
# 5 – A Sweet Woman Like You
Joe Tex was on a hit streak in the mid 1960s releasing smoking r&b tunes infused with a southern spin that people fell in love with. The man was from Texas and his southern spirit fueled much of his soul. “A Sweet Woman Like You” was his third number one song on the Billboard R&B charts. It was released in 1966.
# 4 – Skinny Legs And All
Many fans would argue this was the best Joe Tex song ever released. It’s simply a killer R&B soul number that so many artists would had died to compose. “Skinny Legs and All” was released in 1967. The song broke the Billboard Hit 100’s Top 10 peaking right at number 10. The song hit number 2 on the Billboard R&B Charts.
# 3 – Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)
Do you think this song would go over well now in the age of social media and instant crucifixion. Probably not. In the end, its a pretty hilarious song fueled by a groove of R&B gold. The song was a top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. It echoed the disco era of the time wonderfully mixing in the roots of r&b, soul, and funk with a disco beat. It was brilliant!
# 2 – Hold What You’ve Got
This was big hit song for Joe Tex early on in his career. Its interesting to compare “Hold What You’ve Got,” and its sound to the previous on on this Joe Tex songs list called “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman). Sounds like two different artists.
# 1 – I Gotcha
I bet you forgot about this one, but the second you listened to it you said oh yeah! We close out our top 10 Joe Tex songs list with his classic recording “I Gothcha.” The song was released in 1972. It was originally released as a B-side to “A Mother’s Prayer,” Nonetheless it was the B-side that took off and became the biggest hit of the musical career of Joe Tex. “I Gothcha,” would also become his highest charting single on the Mainstream Billboard Hot 100 as the song reached all the way up to number two. It hit number one on the Billboard R&B charts.
Top 10 Joe Tex Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2020
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Feature Photo: Dial Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons