Dayton, 1971 -
Lakeside were another fine hitmaking soul/funk group from America's funkiest city, Dayton. The group started around 1972 under the moniker of Ohio Lakeside Express, or Lakeside Express, named after a newspaper in Chicago, where the band had a club gig. Before Lakeside, the group had been known as the Young Underground. The band included founder Stephen Shockley on guitar, Mark Wood (vocals, keyboards), Tiemeyer McCain (vocals), Thomas Shelby (vocals), Norman Beavers (keyboards), Marivn Craig (bass) and singer Shirley Wood, Mark's sister.
The group travelled to Los Angeles and had some interest from Motown records, specifically Frank Wilson - the same FW who recorded the legendary soul song "Do I Love You" - and went through a couple singers (Otis Stokes replacing Ricky Abernathy who replaced Shirley Wood). They also added percussionist FRed Lewis and drummer Fred Alexander Jr who had been in a different LA group.
Finally in 1976 they recorded their first LP for ABC. Frank Wilson left Motown and landed at ABC and signed the group, while writing a number of the songs. The single "If I Didn't Have You" was not a huge hit but did enough to get them noticed. After the one LP they were looking for a new label, though, and ended up signing with Solar records who was doing well in the dance market. With their new producer Dick Griffey, they recorded a couple LPs that had a couple of 45s taken from each LP, with "It's All The Way" and "Pull My Strings reaching the top 40 R&B charts.
In 1980 the group had their biggest hit, the R&B chart topping "Fantastic Voyage", which also was their only 45 to make the top 40 charts. From 1981 to 1984 they released one LP a year, each having a top 10 R&B hit. The 1981 hit was a remake of the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Yout Hand". One of the band's trademarks was adopting a different personality for each album cover, going from Robin Hood era archers to pirates to cowboys.
After 1985 there were personnel changes with Norman Beavers, Tiemeyer McCain, and Otis Stokes departing and they didn't make another LP until 1987 with "Power" and had two more top 40 hits. They make their last LP to date in 1990 which was their poorest seller.
The group is still active today with original members Shockley, Wood, Craig, Shelby, and Lewis, with newer members Johnny Rogers and Donald Tavie