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Soul legend born in Rogers

August
08
1935

On this day in 1935, Joseph Arrington Jr. was born in Rogers, Texas. Arrington, who later gained fame as a soul singer under the name Joe Tex, moved to Baytown at age five with his mother after her divorce from his father. In Baytown he performed song and dance routines to enhance his business as a young shoeshine and paper boy. He also sang in school and church choirs. As a high school junior, Arrington won first prize in a Houston talent contest and won $300 and a week's stay at a hotel in Harlem. During a four-week period he won the Apollo Theater's amateur night competition four times. After graduating from high school in 1955, he returned to New York City to pursue a music career. He landed his first contract with King Records and in the coming years, as Joe Tex, recorded a number of hits, including "Hold On To What You Got," "Papa Was Too," "Skinny Legs and All," and his biggest seller, "I Gotcha," which went platinum in 1971. In 1972 Arrington gave up show business and began a three-year speaking ministry for the Nation of Islam, which he had joined in 1968. Arrington returned to show business in 1975 and enjoyed moderate success until the 1977 smash "I Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)" put him back on the top of the charts. Arrington died of heart failure in 1982 at his home in Navasota.