The career of The Tymes lasted about a half century, which is 2600 weeks, give or take. Out of all those weeks, they only spent one at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. That occurred 50 years ago this week when “So Much in Love” topped the American music world for seven days.
The origin of The Tymes began in 1956 when George Hilliard and Norman Burnett met at summer camp and shortly after formed The Latineers with Albert Berry and Donald Banks. The last addition was George Williams, who quickly became the lead singer.
They were performing locally in the Philadelphia area when they entered a talent contest sponsored by Cameo-Parkway Records. The result was a contract with the company. Williams had written a song called “The Stroll.” Producer Billy Jackson added some seashore noise but more importantly changed the title to “So Much in Love.”
At this point in their career, they were more of an easy listening vocal group than a rhythm & blues or soul group. This was shown by their two top 20 follow-up hits, a cover of the Johnny Mathis hit “Wonderful! Wonderful!” and “Somewhere.” Then there was their 1968 top 40 hit, a cover of the song “People,” originally made famous by Barbra Streisand.
By the mid-1970s they had gone in a soul direction with their last major hit in the U.S., “You Little Trustmaker.” They were not done with the charts however. “Ms Grace” only reached 91 in late 1974 in the U.S., but in the U.K. it went all the way to the top of the charts.
The hits ran out for The Tymes in the late 1970s but they continued to perform and tour for almost three decades. That is a lot of weeks on the road and in the studio, but none was as bright as that week 50 years ago when “So Much in Love” was the number one song in the United States.