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The Persians

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  • Formed: Baltimore, MD
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Like Rodney Dangerfield as Baltimore/D.C. area groups go, the Persians got no respect, despite cutting seven singles on ABC-Paramount, GWP, GWP Grapevine, and Capitol Records. They were a soulful quintet from Baltimore similar to the Persuaders ("Thin Line Between Love and Hate"), who dressed up their rather mundane stage outfits with smarmy turbans. The members were James Ellis (first tenor), Leroy Priester (baritone), Freddie Lewis (bass), James Harlee (baritone), and William June Brown (second tenor); Louis Crawley replaced Brown in 1971. Although some of their releases have surfaced on compilation CDs (e.g., GWP NYC TCB), to date there has not been an entire CD of the Persians' tracks.

"Too Much Pride," their debut on ABC Paramount, released in the summer of 1968, is their most memorable recording. They toured the DJ circuit, doing little television shows at odd hours to promote the record. Turbans (usually the only piece of clothing they wore that matched) and hard passionate singing were the group's trademarks. A second ABC single in 1968, "I Only Have Eyes for You," a remake of the standard defined by the Flamingoes, flopped. The summer of 1969 found them on GWP Records for "Here It Comes" b/w "I Don't Know How." In early 1970, they cut a single on GWP Grapevine entitled "I Can't Take It Anymore" b/w "Detour"; both GWP recordings were abject failures. One last shot on Capitol Records from 1971-1972 certainly wasn't the charm. Three singles -- "Your Love" b/w "Keep on Moving," "I Want to Go Home" b/w "Baby Come Back Home," and "I Won't Cry for You Anymore" b/w "Give Me a Little Time" -- found no takers, and the Persians put the sleek Turban head adornments away for good.