The Barkays were formed in 1966, inspired
by classic Memphis soul instrumental bands like
T. & the MGs. They released their first
single, "Soul Finger," for Stax/Volt Records in early
1967. The record made the Top 20 Pop and Top 5 R&B
Redding enlisted them as his backing band.
Unfortunately, en route to a gig on December 10, 1967,
four members of the Barkays were killed in the same
plane crash that claimed
Redding. Remarkably, the surviving Barkays
reformed the band, which went on to become a popular
funk act, consistently scoring R&B hits through the end
of the 1980s.
The most successful phase of their career began after
they signed with Mercury in 1976. Their label debut,
Hot to Stop, charted, spawning the smash
single "Shake Your Rump to the Funk." The hits kept
Flying High on Your Love (1977), their
first gold album;
Money Talks (1978), which produced
another Top 10 hit, "Holy Ghost;"
Injoy (1979), featuring the Top 5 single
"Move Your Boogie Body;" 1980's
Nightcruising (which generated two hits -
"Hit and Run" and "Freaky Behavior"), and 1982's
Propositions, which contained two more
hits: "Do It (Let Me See You Shake)" and "She Talks to
Me With Her Body." 1984's
Dangerous featured one of the Barkaysí
biggest hits, "Freakshow on the Dancefloor," plus two
more R&B charters, "Dirty Dancer" and "Sex-O-Matic." The
bandís last R&B Top 10 hit was "Certified True." 1988's
Animal was the Barkaysí last Mercury
album. The band went on hiatus when their contract with
the label was up.
The Barkaysí 40-year career produced 27
albums (5 gold and 1 platinum), 37 singles (28 in the
Top Ten) and membership in the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of
Fame. Lead singer Larry Dodson and bassist James
Alexander rekindled the group in the 1990s, and they
continue performing today.