5 Things You Might Not Know About Rose Royce
In the ‘70s, Rose Royce were a force to be reckoned with on the R&B charts, scoring eight top-10 singles in the second half of the decade, including “Car Wash,” “Wishing on a Star,” and “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.” But beyond that, how much do you know about this group?
- They started out as Edwin Starr’s backup band.
Founded in the early 1970s, the future Rose Royce was known originally as Total Concept Unlimited. In 1973, they secured a gig as Edwin Starr’s backup band and toured with him when he traveled to England and Japan. It was Starr who introduced them to Norman Whitfield, and Whitfield was so taken with them that he took them under his wing, a move which turned out extremely well for them in the long run.
- They only found their singer, Gwen Dickey, because she happened to be playing in Miami when they stopped their on tour.
While Undisputed Truth was on tour and in Miami, bandleader Joe Harris became aware of a local group named The Jewels and their singer, Gwen Dickey. Harris told Whitfield, Whitfield flew Dickey to Los Angeles to audition, and the rest is history.
- Norman Whitfield wrote the soundtrack to Car Wash while the film was being made.
In most instances, soundtracks don’t tend to be written until after at least a rough cut of a film is completed, so that the composer has something to see when they’re trying to write. In this instance, however, Whitfield started working on songs based on the script outlines, and then he and the band visited the set and got more of a feel for the film that way. It’s also worth noting that it was the soundtrack that led the band to officially adopt the name that brought them fame: Rose Royce.
- “Wishing on a Star” was originally written with Barbra Streisand in mind.
The song’s composer was Billie Rae Calvin, a singer/songwriter who’d spent time as a member of Undisputed Truth, and when she penned the number, she did so with the idea that Babs could belt it out perfectly. Before that could come to fruition, however, Whitfield opted to use it for Rose Royce instead. Funnily enough, the song didn’t even crack the Hot 100 when Rose Royce recorded it, but it hit #2 when the Cover Girls recorded it in the ‘90s.
- Miles Gregory’s wife inspired the writing of “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore.”
Actually, it was Gregory’s wife leaving him that inspired it, which is pretty sad to begin with, but when you find out that the title came from the phrase she’d scrawled on the bathroom mirror with lipstick, it’s enough to make you break out in heaving sobs. At least Gregory had the consolation of knowing that the song inspired a major hit for Rose Royce: it was a top-40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, hit the top 5 on the R&B Singles chart, and climbed all the way to #2 in the UK.