Archie Bell

Born:  Sept 1, 1944

Bell moved to Houston, Texas with his family and

began singing at the age of five in a Baptist

Church in Houston's Fifth Ward. While attending E.O.

Smith Junior High School, Bell formed the group, The

Drells (later Archie Bell & the Drells). The Drells - a

vocal quartet consisting of Billy Butler, Joe Cross,

James Wise and Bell got their start playing talent

shows and neighborhood sock hops. Picked up by

Skipper Frazier, the group recorded their first single,

"She's My Woman, She's My Girl" (1960) in San

Antonio, Texas. The following year, Bell received his

draft notice, and the future for the group looked bleak.

Feeling a bit down one day, Bell was cheered up by

Butler who did a little dance for him he called "The

Tighten-Up." Bell turned Butler's slang into an

irresistible groove song he called "Tighten Up." Bell

maintains the spoken intro to the song was in response

to hearing a deejay say, after President Kennedy's

assassination that nothing good came out of Texas. Bell

wanted "people to know that Archie Bell & the Drells

were from Texas and that we were good."


 The song was released in 1967 and became a big hit in

Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, and eventually was

picked up by Atlantic Records for national distribution

all while Bell was stationed in Germany. "Tighten

Up" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 30,

1968 and reached No. 1 on May 18 that same year.

When Bell returned from the service in April 1969, the

group toured and released follow-up hits "I Can't Stop

Dancing" and "(There's Gonna Be A) Showdown."


The enticing charm of "Tighten Up" can still be attested

to - the song was ranked No. 5 in 2004 on Texas

Monthly's list of "The 100 Best Texas Songs," and

it is ranked #265 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of 

the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It is one of the 

earliest funk hits in music history.

Archie Bell and the Drells perform "Tighten Up."
Tex Ritter Portrait