Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Rock, Urban, Soul, Funk, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s
Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band is a pioneering American soul and funk band. Formed in the early 1960s, they had the most visibility from 1967 to 1973 when the band had 9 singles reach Billboard's pop and/or rhythm and blues Hot 100 lists, such as "Do Your Thing" (#11 Pop, #12 R&B), "Till You Get Enough" (#12 R&B, #67 Pop), and "Love Land" (R&B #23, Pop #16). They are best known for their biggest hit on Warner Bros. Records, 1970's "Express Yourself" (#3 R&B, #12 Pop), a song that has been sampled by rap group N.W.A. and others.
Charles Wright was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he grew up and was musically inclined by playing the guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups including, “The Twilighters, “The Shield” and “The Gallahads”. Wright briefly worked as A&R Director for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the "Hit" recording of "Those Oldies But Goodies" (“Remind me of you”) by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961. By 1964, Wright formed his own band called Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds which included, John Raynford, along with Daryl Dragon, "Captain" of Captain & Tennille.
Wright added more members to the group and they became known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and they played in several venues across Los Angeles. In the 1970’s the band was best known for their world renowned hit, written by Charles called, "Express Yourself" via Warner Bros. records. (#3 R&B, #12 Pop)
Another hit record, under Wright's reign was, “Do Your Thing”, which set the stage for a 1970's pornographic study of “Boogie Nights.”
To date, Wright’s songs have been covered by legendary artists around the globe including: Ray Charles, Les McCann, Della Reese; Roger Troutman & Zapp, The Ohio Players, plus the Swiss Lon Genes Symphony Orchestra. During the rise of Hip Hop in the 1980's many rap artists lifted chunks of funk from Wright's wax, which included N.W.A’s smash “Express Yourself,” Brand Nubian Funk; Naughty By Nature, Gang Starr, and Sean “Diddy” Combs to name a few. By the 1990’s “Express Yourself” had been sampled in dozens of action and comedy films including: “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”, “Cheaper By The Dozen”, “The Little Fockers”, “Panther”, and “The People Vs. Larry Flint”.
Charles Wright “Express Yourself”, has been endorsed by companies such as: Bit Burger Beer, Algida Ice Cream, Nokia, The PGA, U Draw, Tide Soap, Nike, Burger King, Singer Sewing Machine, Kinko’s, and has been the soundtrack song for the Kohl's Spring ad campaign (year), as well as the anthem for the (year) Los Angeles Lakers start-up games.
Furthermore, the NBA featured the classic hit in its 2004, “I Love This Game” campaign, and another compliment was made to the timeless appeal of “Express Yourself” when Good Morning America used it as a theme for their “Advice Guru” talent search.
Wright re-arranged a version of “Express Yourself” with a message to youth to “Protect Yourself” from sexually transmitted diseases. He performed the remake for fans at the first Aids Walk Circle of Life Concert at the Los Angeles Greek Theater in 2013.
In addition, Charles Wright owns an independent production company that has produced the documentary “Bring Back The Harmony” and the concert presentation “Live at the Ford Theater.” In his latest venture, Wright has produced “Express Yourself”, a television show that highlights legendary celebrities, and will feature guests such as Little Richard, Brenda Lee Eagar, Hank Dixon of The Originals and Charles McCormick of Bloodstone.
Currently, Charles continues to create iconic music with his latest solo album, “Let's Make Love Tonight,” which he dedicated to those who truly love soulful music. It’ is currently available online and in stores worldwide.