Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ronnie Dyson

Soul and Gospel Singer Ronnie Dyson scored a Top Ten Hit with his version of "Why Can't I Touch You", a song that he ALSO performed in the Off-Broadway Musical "Salvation", in 1970.

Dyson first gained notoriety with a lead role in the Original Broadway Production of "Hair" before pursuing a pop career. (That was Ronnie singing the opening line of "When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars" on the classic "Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In". He later reprised this role in the movie version of the musical.)

He had two other National Top 40 Hits with "I Don't Wanna Cry" (#35, 1970) and "One Man Band" (#20, 1973). The latter was produced by the legendary Thom Bell, one of the guys responsible for "The Sound Of Philadelphia" in the '70's. His "One Man Band" album also included Ronnie's version of "Just Don't Want To Be Lonely", a song that would go on to become a Top Ten Hit for The Main Ingredient the following year.

Dyson later added "film actor" to his resume when he starred in the movie version of "Hair" as well as the comedy "Putney Swope".

Ronnie was born in Washington, D.C. in 1950 but died just forty years later in Philadelphia due to heart failure complicated by chronic lung disease, ironically just a few months after his father passed away. The following year, Ronnie's recording of "Nola" was featured in the Spike Lee film "She's Gotta Have It".

Despite its Top Ten status, "(If You Let Me Make Love To You Then) Why Can't I Touch You?" has been absent from the oldies airwaves for quite some time ... and "One Man Band (Plays All Alone") was a Top 20 Hit in its own right. Today we feature BOTH of these tracks in our little mini-tribute to Ronnie Dyson. (Hopefully a couple of the jocks on the list will see fit to play at least one of these on the radio again, too!)