Billy Paul facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Paul in 2012
|Birth name||Paul Williams|
December 1, 1934|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||April 24, 2016
Blackwood, New Jersey, U.S.
|Genres||Soul, R&B, jazz|
Paul Williams (December 1, 1934 – April 24, 2016), known professionally as Billy Paul, was a Grammy Award-winning American soul singer, known for his 1972 No. 1 single "Me and Mrs. Jones", as well as the 1973 album and single War of the Gods, which blends his more conventional pop, soul, and funk styles with electronic and psychedelic influences.
He was one of the many artists associated with the Philadelphia soul sound created by Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff, and Thom Bell. Paul was identified by his diverse vocal style, which ranged from mellow and soulful to low and raspy. Questlove of the Roots equated Paul with Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
- Life and career
- Early years
- First recordings
- Army years and resumption of professional career
- Philadelphia soul years
- Post-PIR studio recordings
- "Retirement" years
- "Me and Mrs. Jones" lawsuits
- Awards and honors
- See also
Life and career
Paul was raised in North Philadelphia. His love of music began at a young age, listening at home to his family's music collection.
He recalled: "That's how I really got indoctrinated into music. My mother was always...collecting records and she would buy everything from Jazz at Philharmonic Hall to Nat King Cole." He began singing along and tried to emulate the records he heard: "I always liked Nat King Cole. I always wanted to go my own way, but I always favored other singers like Dinah Washington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald – I loved Ella Fitzgerald. There are so many of them. Nina Simone was one of my favorites – Johnny Mathis, They all had a style, a silkiness about them.... I wanted to sing silky, like butter – mellow. I wanted to sing mellow you know what I mean. One of my favorites is Jessie Belvin – they used to call him Mr. Easy. A lot of people forgot about him you know – Sam Cooke is another one of my favorites."
Paul explained why he was particularly influenced by female jazz singers: "I think the reason behind that is because of my high range. The male singers who had the same range I did, when I was growing up, didn't do much for me. But put on Nina Simone, Carmen McRae or Nancy Wilson, and I'd be in seventh heaven. Female vocalists just did more with their voices, and that's why I paid more attention to them." Perhaps the female vocalist who had the most impact on him was Billie Holiday, whom he called "a BIG influence". He began developing a vocal style that would eventually incorporate traces of jazz, R&B, and pop.
He began his singing career at the age of 11, appearing on local radio station WPEN, then owned by the local Philadelphia Bulletin newspaper. He attended the West Philadelphia Music School and the Granoff School of Music for formal vocal training. He recalled: "Well you know, it was something that my mum would say I needed, holding my notes you know, and delivering my notes. It gave me assurity, cos my mother was 100% behind me and it created the style and uniqueness of Billy Paul. All my life I wanted to sound like myself, I never wanted to sound like anybody else. How that occurred was cause I always wanted to be a saxophone player....I took my uniqueness and treated it like a horn, which created a good style for me."
Paul's popularity grew and led to appearances in clubs and at college campuses nationally. He changed his name from Paul Williams to Billy Paul so as to avoid any confusion with other artists such as songwriter Paul Williams and saxophonist Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams. He explained: "I had Jules Malvin, who was like my play father. He was my manager at the time. He took me up to the Apollo and I warmed the Apollo for six weeks and that’s where he gave me the name Billy Paul. I didn't question it."
In 1952, he traveled to New York City and entered the recording studio for Jubilee Records. Backed by Tadd Dameron on piano and Jackie Davis on the Hammond organ, Paul released his first single that April: "Why Am I" with "That's Why I Dream" as the B-side (Jubilee Records 5081, both written by Bernard Sacks and B. Sidney Zeff). Billboard reviewed the tracks favorably, saying of "Why Am I" that it was "Expressive warbling of a moody ballad, by the label's new 16-year-old chanter", and of "That's Why I Dream": "Organ and piano lend the singer a hand in this slow-paced etching of a romantic number".
In June 1952, Paul released his second single – this time collaborating with the Buddy Lucas Orchestra – "You Didn't Know", backed with "The Stars Are Mine" (Jubilee Records 5086). Billboard was again positive, saying about "You Didn't Know" – "Billy Paul, new young singer, makes an impressive bow on the label with a strong performance of a weeper ballad which should pick up spins and plays. The Lucas ork furnishes okay backing. A good disk" and about "The Stars Are Mine" – "Paul sings this new tune more quietly, over a smooth ork reading. Side is not as exciting as flip and tune is not as strong." A few weeks later, Jubilee took out an ad in Billboard to promote their artists in anticipation of the annual NAMM Show – the music industry trade convention put on by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). Jubilee plugged Paul's latest single and noted: "He's New – He's Hot!" Despite Jubilee's efforts, none of the tracks by the young singer made the charts.
Army years and resumption of professional career
Paul's career took an unexpected turn when he was drafted into the Armed Services. He recalled:
Paul and the other members of the 7th Army Band, including Don Ellis, Leo Wright and Ron Anthony, used the service to further their musical careers as best they could—careers they knew would continue once they returned to civilian life. Paul said: "I sang in the service, I sang with a jazz band. So when I came out I sang Jazz, going to clubs and so forth.
Paul also did some boxing in the Army – a sport he had grown up with, as he explained in a 2012 interview: "Yeah we had a gym and all my friends from my neighborhood were boxers. Even during my army days I boxed as well as singing."
After his discharge, Paul formed a jazz trio with hard bop pianist Sam Dockery and bassist Buster Williams. In 1959 he joined the New Dawn record label and released the single "Ebony Woman" backed with "You'll Go to Hell" (New Dawn 1001), both written by Morris Bailey Jr. In 1960, Paul recorded "There's a Small Hotel" (Finch 1005, written by Rodgers and Hart), backed with "I'm Always A Brother" (Finch 1006, written by Leon Mitchell and Charles Gaston). None of these songs charted, but Paul would resurrect and re-record both "Ebony Woman" and "There's a Small Hotel" in later years.
Paul was a brief stand-in for one of the ailing Blue Notes with Harold Melvin. Paul remembered: "Well, I didn’t want to dance so Harold Melvin fired me (laughs). I had a six month stay with the Flamingos – I was with The Flamingos for a while." It was around this time that Paul established a lifelong friendship with Marvin Gaye—both singers filling in with other groups. Paul recalled: "I was one of the Blue Notes at one time and Marvin Gaye was in the Moonglows.... We were such good friends. We never did a record together and that would have been one of my dreams. And you know what one of my fascinations is? What we would be doing if he were here today. I think about Marvin every day. The love I have for this man is unbelievable. We were close, we were like brothers. When I would go on the road out in California, he would go round to the house – he and Blanche (Billy's wife) [would] make sure Blanche’s mother would take her insulin because she was a diabetic. I would heavily depend on him to make sure she ate and took her insulin. That’s how close we were. You know sometimes, even today. I wake up and hope it was a dream, but it’s real – it’s real you know."
Philadelphia soul years
In 2012, Paul was asked how important the city of Philadelphia was to him and what the Philly sound is: "It's very very important to me. I was born here and so many great and influential artists come from here as well. Its a city of its own and has its own sound. I think what makes it different is the drama; you know how they say everyone marches to their own beat? Well I think Philly has its own beat as well, and it's distinctive. It sounds easy, but it's hard to play."
Neptune and Gamble releases
Paul and his wife and manager Blanche Williams were in the process of recording his debut album when they met Kenny Gamble.
Paul's debut album Feelin' Good at the Cadillac Club was released in 1968 on the Gamble label. Largely a collection of jazz covers of songs popularized by others, it was a studio album that attempted to recreate the feel of Paul's live club performances. Neither the single "Bluesette" nor the album reached the charts. The album was re-released in 1973.
Paul's second LP, Ebony Woman (1970), was a more commercial release on Gamble & Huff's Neptune label. Paul cut a new version of his 1959 single and made it the title track. Gamble & Huff were firmly in control of the production. Merging jazz and soul, the LP achieved some modest success reaching No. 12 on the Billboard soul chart an No. 183 on the pop chart.
Philadelphia International releases
After Neptune folded, Gamble and Huff started their third label – Philadelphia International Records (PIR) – and brought Paul with them. Gamble and Huff signed a distribution deal with Clive Davis and CBS Records.
Going East (1971) was the first Billy Paul album released on the Philadelphia International Records label, making full use of the label's regular group of ace musicians MFSB at Sigma Sound Studios. As they had done on the previous LP, Gamble and Huff sought to find the balance between Paul's jazz roots and the funky soul that they hoped would bring mainstream success. Paul nearly reached the charts with the single "Magic Carpet Ride" (cover of the 1968 Steppenwolf hit) and the album climbed to No. 42 on the Billboard soul chart and No. 197 on the pop chart.
"Me and Mrs. Jones" and international fame
With each album, Gamble and Huff were moving closer to realizing the sound they envisioned for Billy Paul, and they achieved it with the 1972 album 360 Degrees of Billy Paul and the single "Me and Mrs. Jones". Both the album and song received commercial and critical acclaim.
"Me and Mrs. Jones" was a No. 1 hit for the last three weeks of 1972, selling two million copies (platinum single status), and went on to win Paul a Grammy Award. The gold album and platinum single broke the artist on world charts, including the United Kingdom, where the single entered the Top 20 of the UK Singles Chart, reaching No. 12 in early 1973. In the years since then, the song has been covered numerous times, most notably by The Dramatics in 1974, Freddie Jackson in 1992 and Michael Bublé in 2007. Paul recalled the Grammy win and the song's overall success: "Oh man! I was up against Ray Charles, I was up against Curtis Mayfield, I was up against Isaac Hayes. I was in the Wilberforce University in Ohio, I had to go do a homecoming – my wife and her mother went. And when I see Ringo Starr call my name, I said Ohhh... Yeah... The most sobering thing is to have a number one record across the whole entire world in all languages. It’s a masterpiece, it’s a classic."
The song was PIR's first No. 1. In addition, the label was enjoying considerable success with their other artists, including the O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Paul remembered the atmosphere at the label: "It was like a family full of music. It was like music round the clock, you know."
Final PIR recordings
Paul released Only the Strong Survive in 1977 and it proved to be his final charting album, reaching No. 152 on the Pop chart and No. 36 Soul. The LP's title track was the first single, reaching No. 68 on the Soul chart and No. 33 in the UK. The next time Paul's voice would be heard during the summer of 1977 was on the track "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto", featuring the "Philadelphia International All-Stars": Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Archie Bell, Teddy Pendergrass, Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, and Eddie Levert and Walter Williams of The O'Jays. The song reached No. 91 on the Pop chart and No. 4 on the Soul chart. The Let's Clean Up the Ghetto album also included the Billy Paul tracks (both written by Gamble & Huff) "New Day" and "New World Comin'". All proceeds from the album and single went toward a program to benefit inner-cities throughout the U.S. Paul followed up the success of both his "Only the Strong Survive" single and "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto" with "Sooner or Later" – another track from his latest LP. Yet the track failed to chart as did "Don't Give Up on Us" and "Everybody's Breaking Up", which was officially released in the U.K. but only issued to radio in the U.S.
Paul's final studio album for Philadelphia International was First Class, released in 1979. It was the first album since his 1968 debut Feelin' Good at the Cadillac Club that did not make either the Pop or Soul charts. The LP's first single "Bring the Family Back" failed to chart but a 12" disco version did reach No. 90 on the Soul chart and No. 51 on the Dance chart. "False Faces" was also released in both single and 12" disco versions but neither charted.
Paul's run at Philadelphia International officially ended with the 1980 release Best of Billy Paul. This double-album compilation included four previously unreleased tracks: "You're My Sweetness", "Next to Nature", "What Are We Going to Do Now That He's Back", and "My Old Flame". The UK version was a single LP titled Billy Paul's Greatest Hits with a different track listing and only one of the "new" songs: "You're My Sweetness". That song was released as a single and reached No. 69 on the Soul chart. Paul's final single for Philadelphia International was an edited version of a song from his first Philadelphia International album Going East: "Jesus Boy (You Only Look Like a Man)", which failed to chart.
Numerous "best of" compilations of Paul's Philadelphia International work have been released over the years, though critics have made plain that most have failed to capture the right balance of singles and album tracks to fully represent the depth and breadth of his PIR output. For example, AllMusic's Andrew Hamilton said of the 2002 collection Super Hits: "If you didn't live and die with Billy Paul's albums when he cranked them out on Philadelphia International Records, you won't have a clue as to what his fans want to hear. To compile a CD from Paul's singles is to compile a mediocre collection; you have to supplement the singles with choice LP cuts. And with a brief ten-track collection like this, some of the singles should have been replaced with a few of Paul's icy album joints." By contrast, Jason Ankeny said that the 1999 compilation Me & Mrs. Jones: Best of Billy Paul "goes far beyond the classic title track in restoring the singer to prominence, showcasing his versatility via superb covers of pop favorites.... [and] the inclusion of R&B chart hits.... it all adds up to a definitive portrait of Paul in his prime."
Paul was on the Philadelphia International label, in all, for nine years and while he enjoyed considerable success – especially with "Me and Mrs. Jones" – critics generally agree that he deserved better. Andrew Hamilton put it bluntly: "Gamble and Huff did a horrible job picking Paul's singles. Some better choices, and his career might have been Hall-of-Famish." Similarly, Jason Ankeny wrote: "Too easily dismissed as little more than a one-hit wonder, Billy Paul was, in fact, one of the most gifted and affecting talents to grace the Philadelphia International stable – the recipient of some of the Gamble and Huff team's most lush and sophisticated productions. His deeply soulful voice bridged the gap between jazz and soul, textured in equal measure by street-smart swagger and touching vulnerability."
Post-PIR studio recordings
Paul made two studio albums in the 1980s. The first, Lately, was released in 1985 and was a dramatic musical departure from the lush Philadelphia Soul of his previous efforts. Recorded for Lonnie Simmons' Total Experience Records, the album's synthesizer and keyboard-driven tracks (typical of music production at the time) were closer to Simmons' work with the Gap Band and Yarbrough and Peoples than they were to Paul's '70s orchestrated wall of sound. The album's title track, a ballad, was released as a single in the U.K. but did not chart. The follow-up single fared better, climbing to No. 80 on the U.K. charts.
Paul's final studio album was 1988's Wide Open for the Ichiban label. Similar in production style to his previous release, though perhaps a bit smoother, it reached No. 61 on the Soul chart. However, the singles "We Could Have Been" and "I Just Love You So Much" failed to chart.
Paul announced his retirement in 1989 on stage in London. But like so many artists before him, he could not resist the temptation to continue to play live shows and record. In 2009 he was asked how he was enjoying his retirement in South Jersey: "Retired? Are you serious?"
Post-"retirement", Paul regularly toured in the U.S. and abroad playing small clubs, hotel ballrooms, Las Vegas showrooms, Jazz festivals, and theaters. Asked in 2012 whether playing in Philadelphia held special meaning to him, he said: "I try to feel comfortable wherever I play, but they call it being a native son and I do get a lot of respect there so it is special. The reaction internationally is great as well, so even in Paris or Brazil we have great audiences. Songs like Mrs. Jones are huge everywhere so I do perform a lot overseas."
In 2000 he released a CD – Live World Tour 1999–2000 – on his own label, PhillySounds. Recorded in São Paulo, Brazil; Paris, France; Bermuda, and Philadelphia, it contained the following tracks: "Billy's Back Home", "Love Buddies", "When Love is New", "This is Your Life", "Thanks for Saving My Life", "Let's Get It On/What's Going On", "War of the Gods", "I Believe I Can Fly", "Your Song", "Without You", and "Mr & Mrs. Jones". Two years later, a complete show from that tour was released outside the U.S. on the PID label. Titled Your Songs: Live in Paris, it was recorded in December 2000 at a private event for the RFM TV Channel at Studio 287 in Paris, France. It includes the songs "July, July, July, July", "Only the Strong Survive", "It's Too Late", "Brown Baby", "Let 'Em In", "It's Critical", "False Faces", and "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto", among others.
As these live albums illustrate, Paul's concert set lists were varied, containing both his own songs as well as cover versions of jazz, soul, rock, and pop tunes. For example, his September 16, 2001, Sunday afternoon show at Gloria's Seafood in Philadelphia featured "Billy Boy", "Billy's Back Home", "Just in Time", "Old Folks", "Sleeping Bee", "Ebony Woman", "Thanks for Saving My Life", "Love Buddies", "April in Paris/I Love Paris", and "Me and Mrs. Jones".
His show of June 12, 2011, in São Paulo, Brazil consisted of "Thanks for Saving My Life", "I Will Survive" (performed by backing vocalist Anna Jordan), "Hello", "Purple Rain", "Smile", "Mrs. Robinson", "Your Song", "Me and Mrs. Jones", and "You Are So Beautiful".
"Me and Mrs. Jones" lawsuits
In 2000, Nike began airing a commercial featuring track and field star Marion Jones – the face of Team USA for the 2000 Summer Olympics, winning five medals, which were all later stripped from her for cheating. The campaign, entitled "Mrs. Jones", depicted the athlete as a half-hidden DJ talking about issues such as education and better pay for female athletes. The ad also featured Paul's studio recording of "Me and Mrs. Jones". Paul saw the commercial and contacted an attorney, who filed suit in a federal district court in Los Angeles against both the sportswear company and its advertising agency, Wieden & Kennedy. Paul sought $1 million in lost licensing fees, arguing that the company had cheated him by not obtaining his permission to use the song.
On the heels of the Nike suit, Paul targeted his former record company for unpaid royalties on his signature song. He claimed that he had not received an accounting statement from Philadelphia International Records in 27 years and sued Assorted Music, its owners Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and Sony Music Entertainment for nearly half a million dollars. At the 2003 trial in a federal district court in Los Angeles, Joseph E. Porter, the attorney for Assorted Music, argued that Paul was only owed about $27,000, explaining that while the company had mistakenly failed to collect proper foreign royalties on the record, Paul actually owed the company about $314,000 for the costs of recording and producing the 10 albums he made for Philadelphia International from 1971 to 1980.
In the end, the jury deliberated for less than an hour and found that Paul did not owe the company anything. Instead, they awarded him half a million dollars in unpaid royalties for his recording of "Me and Mrs. Jones". Paul said through a statement issued by his attorney: "I'm so glad my path to justice has finally come to an end. I've been waiting years to be paid for my recordings." Seymour Straus, who testified at trial on Paul's behalf commented: "There is no question that Billy Paul's royalties had been improperly calculated for many years." Jay Berger of the Artists Rights Enforcement Corporation said: "This case firmly establishes the rights of singers signed to small production companies to receive 50% of the money earned by the major labels that distribute the records." Chuck Rubin the president of Artists Rights said: "The producers will no longer walk off with any of the artist's royalties." Paul's lawyer Steven Ames Brown commented: "It was a stunning victory for Billy. The jury awarded him $12,000 more than we requested. The years of deception and excuses are over and Billy Paul will from now on enjoy the fruits of his talents. Los Angeles juries have no patience for deadbeat record companies." Brown added: "And Billy Paul was Kenny Gamble's best friend. Can you imagine what might have happened to the others?"
Paul's wife and manager Blanche Williams called the decision a "moral victory".
Gamble & Huff's attorney Porter said after the verdict: "It was nothing but an accounting (issue). No one said 'you cheated me.'" Still, Paul's case was an important precedent for other artists including Archie Bell of Archie Bell & the Drells and the O'Jays who also sued Gamble & Huff for unpaid royalties.
In 2009, the biographical feature film Am I Black Enough for You?, directed by Swedish director Göran Hugo Olsson, was released. Awarding the film three stars, Uncut magazine said "Olsson modelled his film on Let’s Get Lost, Bruce Weber’s 1989 portrait of Chet Baker, saying: "Paul is certainly no fallen demi-genius to set alongside Baker, but he proves an engaging, articulate subject, with a story that stretches back to playing alongside Charlie Parker, and peppered with the usual racial prejudice. His career is, in its way, emblematic of black America’s struggles over the last half century..."
Paul explained why he had agreed to work with the filmmakers: "Well I'm not getting any younger and I wanted to express some things that might have been hidden. I wanted to release my heart and tell people about my highs and lows and I think you get that from this documentary.... It wasn't difficult to make. We were followed all over the world by this film crew from Europe and I got to be very good friends with the filmmakers. I would say things and do things as if the camera wasn't even there. They approached me about doing this film, and they are real fans. "Am I Black Enough for You?" is very popular in Sweden and these guys really knew their music. They were serious about it, they flew over and followed me and it got real personal...and I trusted them. It's very important like the relationship I have with my wife is based on trust. I wish everyone could have that level in their lives.... I am now at peace with myself, I think this movie has done a lot for me because it's helped me get rid of a lot of demons.
In 2011, Paul participated in an album by French singer Chimène Badi, recording a duet with her on the Motown song "Ain't No Mountain High Enough".
To mark the 40th anniversary of Philadelphia International Records, in 2011 Big Break Records in the UK began remastering and reissuing many of the albums released on PIR, including Paul's works. They included new liner notes, interviews, and bonus tracks. In the U.S., Legacy Recordings issued Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live in San Francisco 1973 – a record company event recorded on June 27, 1973, at the Fairmont Hotel. Paul and other PIR acts were backed by MFSB which featured 35 musicians including Leon Huff on organ. Paul's performances of "East" (10:21) and "Me and Mrs. Jones" (8:34) appear on the album. AllMusic's Andy Kellman gave the release 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Awards and honors
In addition to receiving the Grammy for "Me and Mrs. Jones", Paul won several Ebby awards given by the readers of Ebony magazine; was a recipient of an American Music Award, the NAACP Image Award and numerous proclamations and keys to cities across the United States. Paul received the 2015 AMG Favorite Retro Artist of the Year award, as well as being given the Sandy Hosey Lifetime Achievement Award during the Artists Music Guild's 2015 AMG Heritage Awards broadcast held on November 14, 2015, in Monroe, North Carolina.
In 2010 Questlove of the Roots equated Paul with Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.
Paul died on the afternoon of April 24, 2016, at his home in the Blackwood section of Gloucester Township, New Jersey, from pancreatic cancer at the age of 81. He's buried at the West Laurel Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania near labelmate Teddy Pendergrass.
|Year||Album||Label||Peak chart positions|
|1968||Feelin' Good at the Cadillac Club||Gamble SG 5002||—||—|
|1970||Ebony Woman||Neptune NLPS 201||183||12|
|1971||Going East||Philadelphia International KZ 30580||197||42|
|1972||360 Degrees of Billy Paul||Philadelphia International KZ 31793||17||1|
|1973||War of the Gods||Philadelphia International KZ 32409||110||12|
|1975||Got My Head on Straight||Philadelphia International KZ 33157||140||20|
|When Love is New||Philadelphia International KZ 33843||139||17|
|1976||Let 'Em In||Philadelphia International KZ 34389||88||27|
|1977||Only the Strong Survive||Philadelphia International KZ 34923||152||36|
|1979||First Class||Philadelphia International KZ 35756||—||—|
|Best of Billy Paul||Philadelphia International Z 2-36314||205||58|
|1985||Lately||Total Experience TEL8-5711||—||—|
|1988||Wide Open||Ichiban ICH 1025||—||61|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
|Year||Label||Single (A-side / B-side)||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1952||Jubilee 5081||"Why Am I" / "That's Why I Dream"||—||—||—||—|
|Jubilee 5086||"You Didn't Know" / "The Stars Are Mine"||—||—||—||—|
|1959||New Dawn 1001||"Ebony Woman" / "You'll Go to Hell"||—||—||—||—|
|1960||Finch 1005||"There's a Small Hotel" / "I'm Always a Brother"||—||—||—||—|
|1969||Gamble 232||"Bluesette" / "Somewhere"||—||—||—||—|
|1970||Neptune 30||"Let's Fall in Love All Over" / "Mrs. Robinson"||—||—||—||—|
|1971||Philadelphia International 3509||"Magic Carpet Ride" / "Love Buddies"||—||—||—||—|
|1972||Epic 1313||"Brown Baby" / "It's Too Late" (UK only)||—||—||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3515||"This Is Your Life" / "I Wish It Were Yesterday"||—||—||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3521||"Me and Mrs. Jones" / "Your Song"||1||1||9||12||
|1973||Philadelphia International 3526||"Am I Black Enough for You?" / "I'm Gonna Make It This Time"||79||29||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3538||"Thanks for Saving My Life" / "I Was Married"||37||9||—||33|
|1974||Philadelphia International 3551||"Be Truthful to Me" / "I Wish It Were Yesterday"||—||37||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 2225||"The Whole Town's Talking" / "I Was Married" (UK only)||—||—||—||—|
|1975||Philadelphia International 3563||"Billy's Back Home" / "I've Got So Much to Live For"||—||52||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3572||"July July July July" / "When It's Your Time to Go"||—||—||—||—|
|1976||Philadelphia International 3584||"Let's Make a Baby" / My Head's on Straight"||83||18||—||30|
|Philadelphia International 3593||"People Power" / "I Want Cha Baby"||—||82||—||—|
|1977||Philadelphia International 3613||"How Good Is Your Game" / "I Think I'll Stay Home Today"||—||50||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3621||"Let 'Em In" / "We All Got a Mission"||—||91||—||26|
|Philadelphia International 3630||"I Trust You" / "Love Won't Come Easy"||—||79||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 5038||"Without You" / "Word Sure Gets Around" (Italy only)||—||—||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 5391||"Your Song" / "How Good Is Your Game" (UK only)||—||—||—||37|
|Philadelphia International 3635||"Only the Strong Survive" / "Where I Belong"||—||68||—||33|
|Philadelphia International 3636||"Let's Clean Up the Ghetto" / "Let's Clean Up the Ghetto"||91||4||—||—|
|1978||Philadelphia International 3639||"Sooner or Later" / "Everybody's Breaking Up"||—||—||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 5983||"Everybody's Breaking Up" / "One Man's Junk" (UK only)||—||—||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3645||"Don't Give Up on Us" / "One Man's Junk"||—||—||—||—|
|1979||Philadelphia International 3676||"Bring the Family Back" / "It's Critical"||—||90||—||51|
|Philadelphia International 3699||"False Faces" / "I Gotta Put This Life Down"||—||—||—||—|
|1980||Philadelphia International 3736||"You're My Sweetness" / "Me and Mrs. Jones"||—||69||—||—|
|Philadelphia International 3737||"Jesus Boy (You Only Look Like a Man)" / "Love Buddies"||—||—||—||—|
|1985||Total Experience 49899||"Lately" / "I Search No More" (UK only)||—||—||—||—|
|Total Experience 49934||"I Only Have Eyes for You" (UK only)||—||—||—||80|
|1988||Ichiban 88–141||"We Could Have Been" / "I'd Rather Be Alone"||—||—||—||—|
|Ichiban 88–150||"I Just Love You So Much" / "This May Be Love"||—||—||—||—|
|2011||"Me and Mrs. Jones"||—||—||—||177|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that territory.|
- 2009, Am I Black Enough for You? (Cert 12A), Director: Göran Hugo Olsson
- List of 1970s one-hit wonders in the United States