Northern Soul Monday’s first installment of the New Year is the Northern Soul Stomper “A Quitter Never Wins” by Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. What better way to kick off the New Year than with this Classic from Okeh Records, released in 1967 on the Album Two For the Price Of One, and as a Single release. Are you ready to turn this first of 2018 Northern Soul Monday selection?
“A Quitter Never Wins” by Larry Williams and Johnny “Guitar” Walker
Larry Williams, born in May of 1935, was best known for writing and recording a slew of Rock and Roll Classics from 1957-1959 with Specialty Records. Many of those Classics were later recorded by The Beatles, among other British Invasion Groups (via Wikipedia). He was a renowned singer-songwriter, producer, and pianist. In the 60’s he found success in the Soul Scene. Despite his successes, Williams struggled with drug addiction and a history of violence that followed him around like a shadow of dread.
Johnny “Guitar” Watson, born John Watson, Jr., in February of 1935, was known for his showmanship and signature electric guitar playing credited as the T-Bone Walker Style. He ran the gamut of Music Styles, from Rock and Roll, Soul, and later in the Seventies, Disco, and Funk. His biggest solo hit was from the latter, the Song “A Real Mother For Ya”, released, and charted, in 1977.
The two worked together in the Sixties around the time that Williams was having a “comeback”. They both worked on Music with Little Richard who, at the time, was returning to Secular Music. They also recorded the Fantastic Soul Album, Two For the Price of One with Okeh Records.
The Song “A Quitter Never Wins” is Track 10 on the Album.
In 1977, Williams pulled a gun on Little Richard over a drug debt. At the time the two, who had not just worked together, but become friends, were over-indulging in both cocaine and heroin. Little Richard had bought drugs from Williams, with an IOU promise to pay later. When Little Richard didn’t show for the “later” payment Williams went after him. He backed down eventually. This incident has been credited to Little Richard’s return to religion.
Unfortunately, Williams continued with drugs and violence, which led to his death in January of 1980. At age 44, Williams died of a gunshot wound. Although it was declared a suicide much speculation points to it being murder.
As for Johnny “Guitar” Watson, he was never the same after the shooting death of his friend Larry Williams. That, along with other personal setbacks and issues led to Watson withdrawing from the Music Business in the Eighties. He tried to get his life in order and free himself from the people he’d found himself close to. He told The New York Times “I got caught up with the wrong people doing the wrong things.”
In the 90’s, Watson various artists sampled his Music including Redman, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige. The Sample most recognizable is the “bow wow wow yippi-yo yippi-yay” of Watson’s that was used in Snoop Dogg’s hit “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?)”.
In May of 1996, Watson died of a myocardial infarction. He collapsed on stage while on tour in Japan.
What do you think of “A Quitter Never Wins”? Share your thoughts in the comments below – we’d love to read them!
Be sure to check back every Monday for more Northern Soul Music. Right here is where you can find the Best Northern Soul Songs Banging and Stomping every Monday. Get ready to start your week off right and Dance Dance Dance.
Talc not included.