Edwin Starr – Headline News


Mr. Edwin Starr (in a serious moment…)


Listen – Headline News MP3″

Greetings all.

Hope all is well on your end.
Things are groovy hereabouts, with a new stack of vinyl (and a few choice pieces currently rolling my way via the postal service), general familial health, good weather and lots to read. If only there were a few more hours in the week…
Today’s selection is a longtime fave, not only of yours truly, but of soulies, Northern, Southern and othern the world over.
If you haven’t already heard Edwin Starr’s ‘Headline News’, you might be forgiven, because unless you live in an especially hip market, the only tunes of his you might have actually heard on the radio are ’25 Miles’ and the 1969 pounder ‘War’.
The fact of the matter is that much of Edwin Starr’s best work was recorded previous to his Motown stint for Detroit’s storied Ric-Tic imprint (one of Ed Wingate’s labels which included Wingate (of course), Golden World and Impact). The half-dozen 45s that he recorded for that label (not counting one promo 45 for a local radio station) are among the finest to come out of Detroit in the mid-60’s. While at Ric-Tic Starr recorded ‘Agent Double-O-Soul’, ‘Stop Her On Sight (S.O.S.) practically a Northern Soul anthem, and today’s selection ‘Headline News’.
A quick survey of the Ric-Tic sides makes it obvious why Starr is such a fave on Northern Soul dance floors with their heavy four-on-the-floor beats, and anthemic sing-along choruses.
‘Headline News’, released in 1966* is – in my humble opinion – not only the best thing he recorded for Ric-Tic, but the best thing he ever did, anywhere, for anyone in a career that spanned three decades.
Opening with piano chords over a thunderous bass, the record soon blows up in a rain of handclaps, snare beats, vibraphone, rhythm guitar chank and a backing chorus before Starr drops in with his brilliant tenor.
‘Headline News’ – though not the ur Northern side by any means – is a fantastic example of the genre as it includes many of the signal elements that were repeated/adapted in recording studios all over America (especially Philadelphia) during the period, in particular the pounding drums, and the contrast of the shimmering vibraphone accents against the honking baritone sax solo.
What sets this record apart from the pack is first and foremost Starr’s remarkable voice. The vocal on ‘Headline News’ is much smoother than the rough delivery on his Motown hits a few years later. The way Starr soars in the chorus is a thing to behold. It might be cause to wonder why Starr wasn’t a much bigger success, but the world of 60’s soul is sadly, one story after another of unrealized commercial potential.
Though Starr wouldn’t score another major hit after 1971’s ‘Stop the War Now’ (he did have minor hits in the disco era), after moving to England in 1973** he continued to record and perform consistently until his death in 2003.
Fortunately all of Edwin Starr’s best work is available in reissue, and if you just have to have the records, his original 45s aren’t too hard to come by at affordable prices.
I hope you dig it.

*That same year, Starr wrote and produced ‘Oh How Happy’, a Top 20 hit by the blue-eyed soul group the Shades of Blue on Wingate’s Impact label.

**Oddly enough, Starr played a mythical Northern Soul legend named “Ossie Sands” in the bizarre UK surfing film ‘Blue Juice’ in 1995, featuring early appearances by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Ewan McGregor.

Don’t forget to head on over to Iron Leg for some Link Wray…


15 Responses to “Edwin Starr – Headline News”

  1. Drok Says:

    looks sweet! thx

  2. mike Says:

    hi larry… i just love all the ric-tic releases by edwin starr… his motown work is also nice, but his earlier stuff really has that extra thing going on… and as you said most of them are available for a reasonable price… keep up the good work… mike

  3. Seamus Says:

    Hey Larry, any chance of a Northern Soul Mix in the future??

  4. Neil Says:

    Hi Larry
    Try Edwin’s jock jingle rarity – “Scotts on Swingers” inna “Stop her on Sight” Stylee! Personally love “Time” though!
    Any chance of playing us Albert Collins’ Cookin’ Catfish soon?
    Best regards from Blighty!

  5. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks everyone!

    A Northern Soul mix(es) is a 100% certainty. Expect one soon.

    ‘Cookin’ Catfish’ was in Funky16Corners Radio v.3 – Soul Food Pt1, which has yet to be reposted. I’ll see if I can dig up the files.


  6. Groovin' Dan Says:

    I used to have this great single, and was a big fan of “Harlem” on the flip, as well…

  7. MANU... Says:

    superbe ! hye from france

  8. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    I for one would love to hear (and subsequently have) that F16CR v.3 as I am collecting them like baseball cards… In fact, it looks like great material for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day post.
    I recently picked up another one of Starr’s Gordy singles (Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On b/w Cloud Nine). Suffice it to say I am a sucker for the “Psychedelic Soul” of Norman Whitfield, but on your strength, I will definitely put my good ear on this Ric Tic piece. As always, thanks for the share.

    Peace and blessings.

  9. whiteray Says:

    Thanks, Larry — This looks like a good one!

  10. Molly Says:

    Love it! But how on earth could you not mention H.A.P.P.Y. Radio?
    That one got a lot of airplay at least here in Seattle. Yeah, I know, Seattle’s a little bit weird… 🙂

  11. frankai Says:

    love this one ,flipside to s.o.s.
    added some other picture covers too ,
    and its the same to the money runner (little richard ,wilson pickett ,otis redding and isley brothers 45s : the flipside is the better one (imho)

  12. frankai Says:

    …sorry ,so you can see ,what i`m talkin bout ,have a look at this :

  13. Suspect Says:

    Fantastic post. Ric Tic had some fantastic releases, I’ve just posted RT-138 by the Detroit Emeralds.

  14. Daniel E. Friedman Says:

    Thanks for the insight into Edwin Starr. I really enjoyed the post.

  15. JoJo Says:

    Hey there!
    What is about the track “The Price Of Pain”from Ossie Sands/Edwin Starr from the movie”Blue Juice”?
    Is it avaible?

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