I’ve always been fascinated by some of the names chosen by musical groups. Many of them are very clever and inventive, although some require further explanation. A good example is a pop group with the unlikely name of the Hues Corporation, which enjoyed a few years of popularity in the mid-1970s and is now mostly remembered for “Rock The Boat.”
An amorphous combo in the early days, one that varied in personnel and size while doing backup duty for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Glen Campbell, it eventually coalesced into what would become the Hues Corporation. Included among the members were St. Clair Lee, Fleming Williams, and a talented lady with the odd name of Hubert Ann Kelley.
So the story goes, the threesome chose the group’s name as a sort of play on Howard Hughes and the Hughes Corporation, which seemed to be in the news a lot in those days. (The ‘Hues’ spelling in the trio’s name was meant to be indicative of the members’ African-American heritage.) In any case, the group eventually began drawing some attention by showing up on the soundtrack of the 1972 film satire, Blacula. A recording contract soon followed, and a couple of moderately successful records led to the 1974 mega-hit, “Rock The Boat.”
Even though the threesome would not reach those heights again, the Hues Corporation continued to do pretty well with subsequent releases like “Rockin’ Soul” and “Love Corporation” (although Williams had departed by then, replaced initially by Tom Brown and later Karl Russell). But things inevitably slowed and the group dissolved before the end of the decade. In later years, various versions of the group would resurface but the original Hues Corporation was just a memory.