60’s Band of the Week: Adam Wade

15 Jun

Band/Artist: Adam Wade

Origin: Pittsburgh, PA

Genre: Crooner


Adam Wade? Isn’t he that guy who hosted that game show Musical Chairs back in 1975? Yes, indeed, but did you know that Wade also released several singles on both Coed and Epic records in the 1960s? Well, that’s why I am here.

Adam Wade can definitely fit into the expansive category of singer, who is also quite proficient in other creative fields. He actually started his odd career as a lab assistant to Dr. Jonas Salk. For those of you who have completely forgotten 9th grade biology, Salk invented the vaccine for polio. Wade’s passion for singing outlasted his scientific endeavors and he followed in the vocal tradition of Johnny Mathis and Nat King Cole. Wade moved to New York in 1960, played the Copacabana, and was consequently snatched up quickly by the eastern doo-wop inspired Coed records (the record label of the Duprees and The Crests).

Wade, like Mathis, took on good-looking male performer status like many vocalists were doing at the time, but he did not use this as a crutch. He was a prolific performer and his large collection of releases were rich in quality and quantity. Throughout the 1960s, beginning with his single Ruby/Too Far in 1960, Wade released several singles each year of the decade and this included full-length LPs. Here are a few highlights:

“Ruby”/ “Too Far” was Wade’s first major success in 1960

“Take Good Care of Her” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961

“As If I Didn’t Knowhit #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961

“The Writing on the Wall” hit #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961

After switching from Coed Records to Epic Records in 1962, Wade experienced a steep decline in singles popularity and after several years of unsuccessful recordings, Wade dropped the music studio for the movie studio and thus started a long career in acting, highlighted by his hosting of “Musical Chairs.” Wade became the first African American to host an American game show. The show, which had contestants fill in lyrics, allowed Wade to sing and act. After the show he went back into music in 1978 with funkier recordings and then back into acting, switching off between music and acting and usually combining the two in theater.

Suggested Listening

I am going to embed “The Writing on the Wall” because I think it best demonstrates his textured croon.

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