I have yet more sad news to report, Jimmy Ellis the iconic voice of Disco and Soul outfit the Trammps has died at a nursing home in South Carolina aged 74. His family has said that he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. He still sang live with the band as recently as 2010.
Ellis was the band’s stalwart against a backdrop of quite a few personnel changes. The last time the original members sang together was when they performed the classic “Disco Inferno” during their induction into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Many of you probably know them for that song alone, which benefited from its appearance on the soundtrack of the ‘Saturday Night Fever‘ movie. But they had many more great hits; including some classics that you can enjoy at the end of this post.
Incidentally their Dance Music Hall of fame took place on September 19th 2005 which would have been my Dad’s 74th birthday, but sadly he died in 2001.I often used to joke with my Dad before he died that we would play “Disco Inferno” at his cremation. In the end that didn’t happen, but we did laugh about it a lot. “Disco Inferno” was the band’s biggest US hit reaching number 11 on the Billboard chart and number 9 on the US R & B charts. Their biggest UK hit was “Hold Back The Night” which reached number 5 in 1976.
The extra ‘m’ in the band’s name allegedly came from the days when they used to sing on street corners. The police called them tramps and Jimmy Ellis said that he would prefer that they were high-class tramps and so added that extra ‘m’. Jimmy whose real name was James Thomas Ellis II began his singing career in a church gospel choir like many of his contemporaries. He went on to sing in a few bands including the Volcanoes and the Exceptions.
This is yet another sad loss for music and my thoughts go to Jimmy’s family, friends and fans. RIP Jimmy Ellis.