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The Hues Corporation

The Hues Corporation
The Hues Corporation in 1970
Background information
Origin Santa Monica, California, United States
Genres Pop, soul, disco
Years active 1969–1978
(reunited in the 1990s)
Labels RCA, Warner Bros.
Past members St. Clair Lee
Fleming Williams
Hubert Ann Kelley
Tommy Brown
Karl Russel

The Hues Corporation was an American pop and soul trio, formed in Santa Monica, California in 1969. They are best known for their 1974 single "Rock the Boat", which sold over 2 million copies.[1]


  • Group name and background 1
  • Career 2
  • Group members 3
  • U.S. discography 4
    • Singles 4.1
    • Studio albums 4.2
    • Notable compilation albums 4.3
      • LP 4.3.1
      • Compact Disc 4.3.2
  • See also 5
  • External links 6
  • References 7

Group name and background

Before their success they were the opening act for some stars including Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Nancy Sinatra, and Glen Campbell. The original band had a lineup of three singers and three sidemen. The sidemen were Joey Rivera from the Checkmates; Monti Lawston; and Bob "Bullet" Bailey, formerly of the Leaves. Before the group had a hit single they performed as an opening act for Flash Cadillac, Ike Turner, and Delaney Bramlett. Bailey, Rivera, and Lawston left the band to form Goodstuff.

The group's name was a pun on the Howard Hughes Corporation, with the 'hue' (a synonym of 'color'), being a nod to the group members' African-American heritage. The band's members were St. Clair Lee (born Bernard St. Clair Lee, April 24, 1944, San Francisco, California; died 2011), Fleming Williams (born 1943, Flint, Michigan; died 1992)[2] and Hubert Ann Kelley (born 24 April 1947, Fairfield, Alabama).[3] The original choice for the group's name was The Children of Howard Hughes, which their record label turned down.


The group was formed in 1969.[4] Wally Holmes was the man who founded the group along with his friend Bernard St. Clair Lee. Female singer H. Ann Kelly was found at a talent show in Los Angeles. As a result of notices placed in southern California record stores, Karl Russell turned up. Not long afterwards he was replaced by Fleming Williams.[5] They recorded a single "Goodfootin'" / "We're Keepin' Our Business" that was released on the Liberty label in 1970. It didn't make any impact on the charts.[4][6]

The group's first big break came in 1972, when they were invited to appear in the blaxploitation film, Blacula, starring William Marshall. They were also asked to record three songs for the film's soundtrack: "There He Is Again", "What The World Knows," and "I'm Gonna Catch You." Shortly thereafter, RCA signed the group; their first single for the label, "Freedom For The Stallion", from the album of the same name, became a moderate hit, reaching #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The follow-up single, "Rock the Boat," became a #1 hit on the Billboard chart and the group's signature song. "Rock the Boat" was written by Waldo Holmes, who also wrote the Blacula songs, and was released in the U.S. in February 1974 and in the UK in July of that year.[7] It went to #1 for one week in the U.S. and #6 for two weeks in the UK, staying for 20 weeks in the U.S. chart with a gold disc awarded by the RIAA on 24 June 1974.[7] The track sold well over two million copies.[7] The song is considered one of the earliest disco songs. Some authorities proclaim it to be the first disco song to hit #1, while others give that distinction to "Love's Theme" by the Love Unlimited Orchestra, a chart-topper from earlier in 1974.

After the success of "Rock the Boat," the Hues Corporation's other charted singles on the Billboard Hot 100 included "Rockin' Soul" (1974, #18), "Love Corporation" (1975, #62), and "I Caught Your Act" (1977, #92).

Despite their initial success, the group was unable to duplicate the success of their earlier hits and disbanded in 1978. But with renewed interest in disco music throughout the 1990s, the group reunited for tour dates and special events, including the PBS special Get Down Tonight: The Disco Explosion.

Group members

Karl Russell was replaced by Fleming Williams who sang the male lead part on "Rock the Boat". Williams left not long after its recording.[8]

Williams was replaced by Tommy Brown. [5] It appears that around 1975, Karl Russell had rejoined the band replacing Tommy Brown.[9][10]

In an interview with Gary James, St. Clair Lee said that Williams was also brought back into the group at a later date.[11]

In later years, circa the 1990s St. Clair Lee revived the group and recruited Elaine Woodard and Bruce Glover as the new members.[12][13]

Hubert Anne Kelly later left the group to become a minister.[14][15]

Fleming Wiliams died in the 1990s. Many sources claim the date of his death was September 1992,[16][17] but other sources claim he died in February 1998.[2] According to the Social Security Death Index, Fleming Williams died on February 15, 1998.[18] His death has been attributed to a "long illness," although many others have also alluded to a long struggle with drugs.[2][19]

Founding member St. Clair Lee died on March 8, 2011, in Lake Elsinore, California. He is said to have died from natural causes at the age of 66, as written in the Los Angeles Times obituaries in March. He was survived by his mother, sons, and sister.[20]

U.S. discography


  • "Goodfootin'" / "We're Keepin' Our Business" - Liberty 56204 - 1970 [4][6]
  • "There He Is Again" / "Main Chance" (Love Theme from BLACULA) - RCA Victor 74-0813 - 1972
  • "Freedom for the Stallion" / "Off My Cloud" - RCA Victor 74-0900 - 1973
  • "Miracle Maker (Sweet Soul Shaker)" / "Go to the Poet" - RCA Victor APB0-0139 - 1973
  • "Rock the Boat" / "All Goin' Down Together" - RCA Victor APB0-0232 - 1974
  • "Rockin' Soul" / "Go To The Poet" - RCA Victor PB-10066 - 1974
  • "Love Corporation" / He's My Home" - RCA Victor PB-10200 - 1975
  • "Rock the Boat" / "All Goin' Down Together" - RCA Gold Standard - 1975
  • "I Caught Your Act" / "Natural Find" - Warner Bros. / Curb WBS 8334 - 1977
  • "Telegram of Love" / "Dancing Together Again" - Warner Bros. / Curb – WBS 8454 - 1977 [21]

Studio albums

  • Freedom for the Stallion - RCA Victor – APL1-0323 (1973) [22]
  • Rockin' Soul - RCA Victor – APL1-0775 (1974) [23]
  • Love Corporation - RCA Victor – APL1-0938 (1975) [24]
  • I Caught Your Act - Warner Bros. Records – BS 3043 (1977) [25]
  • Your Place or Mine - Warner Bros. Records – BSK 3196 (1978) [26]

Notable compilation albums


  • The Best of The Hues Corporation - RCA Victor APL1-2408 (1977) [27]
  • The Best of The Hues Corporation - Pickwick ACL-7068 (1979) [28]

Compact Disc

  • The Very Best of the Hues Corporation - Camden 74321 603422 (1998) [1]


See also

External links

  • by Martin PopoffGoldmine Standard Catalog of American Records 1948-1991Hues Corporation discography featured in book:
  • The Hues Corporation biography at
  • Gary James' interview with St. Clair Lee
  • The Hues Corporation at Soul Walking
  • N.Z. Broadcaster Peter Williams with St Clair Lee, Hubert Ann Kelly and Karl Russell.


  1. ^ a b Ron Wynn. "Hues Corporation - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Fleming Williams". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  3. ^ More Hues Corporation info
  4. ^ a b c Rhythm and Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop by Frank Hoffmann Page 127 Hues Corporation
  5. ^ a b Super Serventies RockSite "Rock the Boat" Hues Corporation RCA 0232 July 1974
  6. ^ a b Popsike Promo Northern Soul 45 HUES CORPORATION "Goodfootin' " Liberty HEAR
  7. ^ a b c Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 345.  
  8. ^ Disco Museum. Fleming Williams Born: 12-26-1943 Died: 2-15-1998 (undisclosed)
  9. ^ Mental Itch The Hues Corporation – “Rock the Boat”
  10. ^ Billboard Hues Corporation Biography ~ Ron Wynn, Rovi
  11. ^ Gary James' Interview With St. Clair Lee of The Hues Corporation
  12. ^ The Independent Monday 13 June 2011 By Pierre Perrone
  13. ^ Mental Itch The Hues Corporation – “Rock the Boat”
  14. ^ The Independent Monday 13 June 2011 By Pierre Perrone
  15. ^ Soulwalking hues corporation
  16. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1992 - 1993". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  17. ^ Disco (RIP) Pioneers
  18. ^ "RootsWeb: Database Index". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  19. ^ Pore-Lee-Dunn Productions. "Interview With The Hues Corporation". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "Afterword". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  21. ^ 45cat The Hues Corporation - Discography
  22. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – Freedom For The Stallion}
  23. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – Rockin' Soul
  24. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – Love Corporation
  25. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – I Caught Your Act
  26. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – Your Place Or Mine
  27. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – The Best Of Hues Corporation
  28. ^ Discogs Hues Corporation, The – Best Of The Hues Corporation
  29. ^ Muzyczne ABC Hues Corporation [US] - The Very Best Of The Hues Corporation
  30. ^ "The Hues Corporation". Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  31. ^ "The Very Best of the Hues Corporation - Hues Corporation - Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
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