Frankie Beverly is an American singer, songwriter and record producer
Frankie Beverly is an American singer, musician, songwriter, and producer, known primarily for his recordings with the soul and funk band Maze. Beverly formed Maze, originally called Raw Soul, in his hometown of Philadelphia in 1970. After a relocation to San Francisco and an introduction to Marvin Gaye, Maze went on to release nine Gold albums and create a large and devoted following. Beverly is the band’s writer, producer, and lead singer.
The multi-talented artist, writer and producer has been involved with music since his early years growing up in Philadelphia. Born December 6, 1946, Frankie recalls that, “like most black artists, I was influenced by going to church. You know, it was like anyone that could sing was featured in a Sunday program! So I did my share of solos in church…a lot of singing!”
Secular music entered Frankie’s life when he was around eight or nine: “The first record I can remember was Lloyd Price’s “Lawdy Miss Clawdy.” I heard it and said, ‘what’s this?’ I loved it! But it was Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers who really turned my world upside down. In fact, I was so blown away by Frankie that I changed my own name – my birth name is Howard! But after I heard Frankie and the guys, I was totally bitten. I knew every one of their hits – “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” “I Want You To Be My Girl,” “Who Can Explain?,” “The ABCs Of Love”… Every time they appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” I was glued to the t.v. and whenever they came to town to appear at The Uptown Theater, I was right there. In fact, seeing Frankie was the catalyst for me to want to get into music. He was young, just like me, and he was up there doing it, making a living in music…”
Fueled by Lymon’s success and influenced vocally, he notes, “by Sam Cooke, who blended gospel and secular styles so well,” Frankie found himself in a local group during his junior high school years. Word of mouth in Philly about ‘Little Frankie’ (as he was known) led to his first professional gig…at the tender age of twelve! “There was this group, The Silhouettes who had a big hit with a song called “Get A Job.” They lost their lead singer and a couple of the guys in the group were from my neighborhood. They’d heard that I could sing like Frankie Lymon and the next thing I knew, they were at my house asking my parents if I could go on the road with them…”
For about a year, young Frankie found himself doing gigs as a member of The Silhouettes, performing on shows up and down the East Coast and getting his first taste of life on the road. “Before I ever joined the group, I knew that music was what I was meant to be doing so it was like a ‘natural’ thing for me to be performing,” Frankie says. “But after a while, I started feeling like this real young guy with all these old guys and then I knew it was time for me to move on…”