Peaches & Herb

  • R&B and disco vocal duo formed in 1966 from Washington D.C. Herb is Herb Fame (born Herbert Feemster). There have been numerous Peaches over the years. The original Peaches was Francine Day (born Francine Barker). The most successful Peaches was Linda Greene during the late 70s.
  • Fame sang in his church choir and in neighborhood groups as a youngster. After high school, he worked at a record store. Meanwhile, Barker was the lead singer of a group called the Keystones. Her nickname Peaches came from her childhood, so called because of her genteel manner. Still a teenager, Barker started her own vocal group called the Darlettes. That group was signed to a local record label, and their name changed to the Sweet Things. The manager for the group approached Fame about a promotional appearance by the group at his record store. The discussion led to an audition by Fame, and he was signed as a solo artist to the same label as the Sweet Things. In 1966, after a recording session by both acts, a producer asked Fame and Barker to sing together to use up some available studio time.
  • Two of the songs that they sang as a duo were released as a single. The A-side, We’re In This Thing Together, did not generate interest. A DJ in St. Louis played the B-side on the radio – a cover of the 1934 hit Let’s Fall In Love – and Peaches & Herb had their first hit when the song peaked at #11 on the R&B chart. Fame and Day followed up with two studio albums and ten more singles that made the R&B chart between 1967 and 1970. Two years into touring, Day decided to retire from touring, and Marlene Mack was chosen to be Peaches while on tour, though Day continued to record with Fame through 1970.
  • In 1970, Fame decided to retire, and he went to the Washington D.C. policy academy, and became a police officer. In 1976, he decided to reenter the music business. He reformed Peaches & Herb, with Greene as his new Peaches. Signed to a new label, this version of Peaches & Herb had their greatest success, taking advantage of the growing disco craze. Between 1977 and 1983, they released six albums, with the 2 Hot album topping the R&B album chart and peaking at #2 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Two singles from 1978 became their signature hits – Shake Your Groove Thing peaked at #5 on the Hot 100 and Reunited became their only #1 single.
  • After their last album in 1983, Fame and Greene decided to end their partnership. Fame went back to police work, and in 1986 he took a job as a court security officer. In 1990, he revived Peaches & Herb, selecting Patrice Hawthorne as Peaches number four. They did not release any recordings and they only performed occasionally. Fame remained a court security officer, and in 2002 a fifth Peaches became part of the duo – Miriamm Wright. She was introduced as the new Peaches during a fund raising event for Public Broadcasting. They performed as a duo for three years. In 2008, Meritxell Negre was chosen to be the sixth Peaches. Fame and Negre released an album in 2009. Linda Greene occasional performed with Fame in later years. Peaches & Herb still perform – today – Peaches is Wanda Makle.
  • While I’m no disco lover, there are a bunch of disco songs that got me tapping my foot – and Shake Your Groove Thing was one of them. Here is Peaches & Herb, version three, performing the song on American Bandstand.

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