THE O'JAYS Set for Picnic with the Pops, 7/12
After more than 50 years creating international hits as "Back Stabbers," "For the Love of Money," "Darlin' Darlin' Baby," "Love Train," "I Love Music," "Use Ta Be My Girl," and "Have You Had Your Love Today," the O'Jays have a recording history that includes 24 Top Ten records and 59 songs on the charts.
Nationwide Insurance Picnic with the Pops presents The O'Jays at the Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion (160 S. High St.) in the Columbus Commons on Saturday, July 12. Gates open at 6 pm. Concert begins at 8 pm.
Tickets are $23 for adults when purchased in advance by phone at 614.228.8600, online at www.PicnicWithThePops.com or www.ticketmaster.com, in person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), or at central Ohio Kroger Ticketmaster locations. Adult tickets are $25 at the gate on the night of the show. Tickets for children ages 3-14 are always $8 regardless of when or where they are purchased. Children 2 and under are free.
The term "living legend" is often overused, but with The O'Jays, there's little argument that the honorable tag truly applies. After more than 40 years of international hit-making, Eddie Levert, Sr., Walter Williams, Sr., and Eric Nolan Grant just get better with time. Blessed to have worked with the late great choreographer Cholly Adkins, The O'Jays learned the importance of showmanship and how to execute steps while delivering their songs.
There have been four faces in the O'Jays' lineup over the years. Established in Canton, Ohio, the group began with Eddie Levert, Sr., Walter Williams, Sr., William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles, naming themselves after Cleveland DJ Eddie O'Jay. Isles left the group in 1965, and Massey left in 1971. Levert, Williams, and Powell then continued as a trio. Due to illness, Powell retired from touring due in 1975, and was replaced by Sammy Strain, formerly with Little Anthony & The Imperials. Strain returned to his former group in 1993, and was replaced by Nathaniel Best.
After the departure Best in 1995, Eddie Levert, Sr. and Walter Williams, Sr. reached out to Eric Nolan Grant, a gifted vocalist who was already a part of the group's extended Cleveland-based music family. Their chart-topping album, Love You to Tears, marked Grant's first appearance with the group. "Eric was the ideal person for The O'Jays, because he was used to working within a group," stated Levert. "He was really a shoe-in and he fit perfectly. With his addition, we have been able to keep our performances at a level that we're used to having stage-wise and in the studio."
Photo credit: Denise Truscello