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  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Blue Magic singer Keith Beaton dies at 72

    From SoulTracks.com-

    We received sad news this morning via a post from legendary Blue Magic singer, Ted “Wizard” Mills, that Blue Magic co-founder and longtime member Keith "Duke" Beacon has died. He was 72.

    Beaton was part of Blue Magic from the beginning, and helped grow the act into one of the all-time great Philly soul vocal groups. Formed by Temple University student Mills with some friends, the group scored an early hit with Mills' composition "Spell." When the other members who participated in the recording balked at touring, Mills merged with local band Shades of Love [Beacon, Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, and Richard Pratt] to form the nucleus of Blue Magic that would top the charts for years to come.


    Signed to Atlantic Records in 1973, the group came out with several hit singles on the way to creating a debut album. Blue Magic became one of the earliest acts produced by veteran Philly guitarist Norman Harris, who spent most of the decade in the shadow of Gamble & Huff but who masterminded a number of great albums for artists from the Trammps to the Temptations.
    Blue Magic's debut album included a number of quality tunes, perhaps the most surprising of which was "Look Me Up," an infectious stepper highlighted by Mills' clear falsetto, and which created early comparisons with the Stylistics. But real crossover success came with "Sideshow," a now classic Philly forlorn ballad that topped the Soul charts and made the Pop top 10. The rather contrived follow-up, "Three Ring Circus," was musically another solid ballad that did well despite its obvious attempt to mimic "Sideshow" [even beginning with the same carnival barker]. Over the next three years Blue Magic became know mostly for smooth ballads, and the group stayed high on the Soul charts with "Stop to Start" and "Chasing Rainbows" before landing a big hit with the dance tune "Magic of the Blue."

    Blue Magic's fortunes faded as the 70s came to an end, and Pratt left in the early 80s, with the Sawyers following. Mills and Beaton worked together with new singers for a few years before splitting, with Mills creating a solo career. Over the past two decades, Blue Magic splintered into multiple groups each led by one or more original members. Beaton moved to New York and participated in one of the splinter groups.

    The five members of Blue Magic reunited in 2018 for an episode of TV One's music biography show, Unsung. It was the first time they had all been together in nearly three decades, and they mulled over the possibility of a full reunion, though it did not materialized. Sadly, with the death of Beaton and the passing last year of Richard Pratt, a full reunion will never happen.
    We will be praying for Mr. Beaton's family, even as we celebrate the half century of musical greatness he brought.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    From SoulTracks.com-

    We received sad news this morning via a post from legendary Blue Magic singer, Ted “Wizard” Mills, that Blue Magic co-founder and longtime member Keith "Duke" Beacon has died. He was 72.

    Beaton was part of Blue Magic from the beginning, and helped grow the act into one of the all-time great Philly soul vocal groups. Formed by Temple University student Mills with some friends, the group scored an early hit with Mills' composition "Spell." When the other members who participated in the recording balked at touring, Mills merged with local band Shades of Love [Beacon, Vernon Sawyer, Wendell Sawyer, and Richard Pratt] to form the nucleus of Blue Magic that would top the charts for years to come.


    Signed to Atlantic Records in 1973, the group came out with several hit singles on the way to creating a debut album. Blue Magic became one of the earliest acts produced by veteran Philly guitarist Norman Harris, who spent most of the decade in the shadow of Gamble & Huff but who masterminded a number of great albums for artists from the Trammps to the Temptations.
    Blue Magic's debut album included a number of quality tunes, perhaps the most surprising of which was "Look Me Up," an infectious stepper highlighted by Mills' clear falsetto, and which created early comparisons with the Stylistics. But real crossover success came with "Sideshow," a now classic Philly forlorn ballad that topped the Soul charts and made the Pop top 10. The rather contrived follow-up, "Three Ring Circus," was musically another solid ballad that did well despite its obvious attempt to mimic "Sideshow" [even beginning with the same carnival barker]. Over the next three years Blue Magic became know mostly for smooth ballads, and the group stayed high on the Soul charts with "Stop to Start" and "Chasing Rainbows" before landing a big hit with the dance tune "Magic of the Blue."

    Blue Magic's fortunes faded as the 70s came to an end, and Pratt left in the early 80s, with the Sawyers following. Mills and Beaton worked together with new singers for a few years before splitting, with Mills creating a solo career. Over the past two decades, Blue Magic splintered into multiple groups each led by one or more original members. Beaton moved to New York and participated in one of the splinter groups.

    The five members of Blue Magic reunited in 2018 for an episode of TV One's music biography show, Unsung. It was the first time they had all been together in nearly three decades, and they mulled over the possibility of a full reunion, though it did not materialized. Sadly, with the death of Beaton and the passing last year of Richard Pratt, a full reunion will never happen.
    We will be praying for Mr. Beaton's family, even as we celebrate the half century of musical greatness he brought.
    Very sad new, Blue Magic were always one of my favourite sweet soul groups, and i still regularly play their albums. Thank you for the music Sir and may you rest in eternal peace.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2014
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    Well, hello there, Bluebrock! Great to see you're back again! I was just thinking about you recently! Hope all is well.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philles/Motown Gary View Post
    Well, hello there, Bluebrock! Great to see you're back again! I was just thinking about you recently! Hope all is well.
    Thank you for the very kind wishes. I am very well thank you and i hope you are too.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebrock View Post
    Thank you for the very kind wishes. I am very well thank you and i hope you are too.
    Doing well, Bluebrock. Thank you for asking.

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