Next stop for O’Jays’ ‘Love Train’: The Villages

The O’Jays

Get off the bus and get on the love train. The O’Jays are rolling into town.

The hall of fame singing group is scheduled to perform at 7pm Saturday, March 16, at the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, 1051 Main St., The Villages. Tickets cost $46-$149 and can be purchased at getoffthebusconcerts.com, thesharon.com, or by calling 352.753.3229. The show is presented by Get Off the Bus Concerts and is in support of Lake Hills School in Howey-in-the-Hills.

The O’Jays have achieved 10 gold albums, nine platinum albums, and 10 No. 1 hits, including “Love Train,” a news release states. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, both in 2005, and the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2013.

With a lineup of original lead singers Eddie Levert Sr. and Walter Williams Sr., along with Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1995, the O’Jays are still hitting the road with the same electrifying energy they’ve had for more than 50 years—the “Love Train” is still going strong. The group’s songs often can be heard in movies, commercials, and TV shows.

Eddie and Walter first met as youngsters, and as teenagers in Canton, Ohio, they formed a band with William Powell, Bobby Massey, and Bill Isles. In 1963, the band took the name the O’Jays in tribute to Cleveland radio disc jockey Eddie O’Jay, the release states.

In 1972, Gamble & Huff, a team of producers and songwriters with whom the O’Jays had been working for several years, signed the group to their Philadelphia International label. With this magic formula, often called “The Sound of Philadelphia,” the O’Jays scored their first No. 1 and million-seller, “Backstabbers.” Subsequently, they succeeded with chart-topping pop and R&B singles including “Put Your Hands Together,” “For the Love of Money,” “I Love Music,” “Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love),” “Livin’ for the Weekend,” and “Use Ta Be My Girl.”

Eddie and Walter share a lifelong bond and still appreciate their friendship, dedication to each other and the group, and their love for good music.

“We probably could have had great solo careers, but I don’t think either one of us could have ever have been as big as the O’Jays,” Walter says in the release.

The mission of Lake Hills School is to provide students with high-quality learning opportunities and functional skills instruction, enabling each student to reach the highest level of achievement and to contribute to their community. To learn more, visit lake.k12.fl.us/Page/17107.

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