Atlanta’s Tams were among the more popular up-tempo soul groups of the 60s, although they were never able to break Motown‘s pop stranglehold.
Joseph Pope’s gravely-voiced lead vocals were their selling point. He was joined by his brother Charles, Robert Smith, Floyd Ashton, and Horace Key.
They began on Swan in 1960, then landed their first hit with Untie Me (a Joe South composition) for Arlen in 1962. It peaked at #12 on the R&B charts.
They moved to ABC-Paramount the next year, where they remained until 1968.
They scored their biggest hit in 1963 with What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am), but many soul fans regard 1968’s Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy as their ultimate hit, although it only reached #26 on the R&B charts.
It went on to be a massive hit on the Northern Soul circuit in the UK.
The Northern Soul scene was also responsible for a re-issue of Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me hitting the #1 spot in the UK Singles Chart in September 1971.
Joseph Pope passed away on 16 March 1996, but two separate versions of the group continue to perform and record to this day.