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The Life and Career of Tommy Hunt, American Soul Singer

Tommy Hunt, whose birth name is Charles James Hunt, is an acclaimed American singer, known for his soul and northern soul music.

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Tommy Hunt

Tommy Hunt, whose birth name is Charles James Hunt, is an acclaimed American singer, known for his soul and northern soul music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 as a member of the popular R&B group, The Flamingos.

Hunt’s passion for music started at a young age, and he spent most of his learning hours practicing for and entering talent shows. He was sent to reform school for his obsession with music, but was released when he was ten years old. Hunt and his mother later moved to Chicago, where he formed a music group called The Five Echoes. It was while performing in a club that he was discovered by Zeke Carey of The Flamingos, who invited him to join the group as Carey’s replacement while he was on military duty.

The Flamingos’ biggest hit was “I Only Have Eyes for You,” which became a timeless classic and remains popular today. However, Hunt left the group in 1961 due to creative differences. Despite the setback, he quickly resumed his music career with his debut solo single, “Parade of Broken Hearts,” which was produced by Luther Dixon. Although slow to gain traction initially, the song eventually gained popularity after a disc jockey mistakenly played the B-side track, “Human,” which became Hunt’s biggest hit in the US.

Hunt’s talents as a singer and performer quickly became evident, and he was soon performing alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Jackie Wilson, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, and Sam and Dave. His time at The Apollo in New York City remains one of the highlights of his career, as he is the only artist to have his photograph framed twice in the venue’s foyer, once with The Flamingos and again as a solo artist.

In 1969, Hunt left the US and traveled to Germany, where he sang for the US Army. He then moved to the UK, where he continued to perform in various theatre clubs. It was at the second anniversary of the Wigan Casino that he gained fame on the northern soul scene in the UK. He was discovered by Russ Winstanley and Mike Walker of the Casino and signed with Spark Records, releasing several hits such as “Crackin’ Up” and “Loving on the Losing Side,” which peaked at No. 39 and No. 28, respectively, on the UK Singles Chart.

In 1982 and 1983, Hunt won the Male Vocalist of the Year award, presented by Club Mirror. One of his most notable hits, “One Fine Morning,” reached No. 44 on the UK chart in December 1976.