Herman Griffin / Herman Lewis / the Boys In The Band

Cincinnati, 1966-71

Herman Griffin and Herman Lewis are the same person, real name Herman Lewis Griffin. He started out in Detroit (where he was a native, or at least living there) and was involved with the very early Motown productions. He was married to Motown singer Mary Wells for a while. Around 1966, after his marriage to Wells had ended, he married Marian Jackson, alias Gigi from the Cincinnati girl vocal group the Charmaines. He ended up relocating to Cincinnati.

We're not sure how active Griffin was in the local performing scene, but he was quite active in recording. Not only with helping his wife's group, but he was also involved with the Strangers In Town recordings, using his relationship with the Columbia records Date subsidiary (the Charmaines were on the Date label) to issue their 1st 45.

Griffin also partnered with Cincinnati area producer Gordon Neal on a couple record labels, Prime and Stone Blue. Prime issued a record by the Shirtails who had also released a 45 by Date. The Stone Blue label only released one 45, but it's a brilliant midtempo soul record - "Who's Kissing You Tonight" (credited to Herman Lewis) that was later issued on Mercury records. The flip side of the Stone Blue record was a duet by Griffin and Jerri Jackson, his wife's sister. It's not clear if these songs were recorded in Cincinnati or Golden World in Detroit. The Mercury issue of "Who's Kissing You Tonight" has a different flipside song with Griffin only. Gordon Neal ended up using the Stone Blue name for his music publishing.

In 1969/70 Griffin hooked up with a new group called The Boys In The Band. The BITB project seems to have both Detroit and Cincinnati connections. The records were produced by New York City people, including Bob Feldman and Richard Gottehrer of Strangeloves fame. Their 1st 45 "(How Bout A Little Hand For) The Boys In The Band / "Something Heavy" was a hit, reaching the 30s on the national charts. This was issued on Spring records, a MGM soul subsidiary. The group released a second 45 on Spring and a third 45 on a Detroit label. After the BITB 45s, there does not seem to be any more Herman Griffin recordings that have Ohio connections. Herman Griffin died in 1989.

As Herman Lewis:
Who's Kissing You Tonight / Right Direction (Stone Blue 101) c. 1969
Who's Kissing You Tonight / Think Twice Before You Walk Away (Mercury 73002) c. 1970
As The Boys In The Band:
(How Bout A Little Hand For) The Boys In The Band / Something Heavy (Spring 103) c. 4/70
As Herman Griffin And The Boys In The Band:
Music Gonna Save The World / Groovin' With The Boys In The Band (Spring 109) 1970
Are You For Me Or Against Me / Gettin' Better (Magic Touch 007) 1970/1
Promo copies of the Mercury 45 exist with "Think Twice...." on both sides.