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the controllers

The Controllers

Formed 1965 in Fairfield, Alabama, U.S.A.

The Controllers comprised of:

Leonard Brown (a.k.a. LeNard Gerron Brown)

Larry Crenessia McArthur (b. 1953, Alabama, U.S.A.)

Reginald McArthur (b. Reginald Duwayne McArthur, 25th September 1954, Fairfield, Alabama, U.S.A. d. 19th April 2018, Bessemer, Alabama, U.S.A.)


Ricky Keith Lewis (b. 1954, Alabama, U.S.A.)

Brothers Reginald and Larry McArthur, (and their cousins) Ricky Lewis and Lenard Brown, all hail from Fairfield, a few miles outside of Birmingham, Alabama.

Reginald McArthur was the second child of four born to the late Daniel McArthur and Beatrice Brown McArthur.

Their upbringing was based around gospel music and their roots were in the church.

Whilst still at High School, they were introduced to Cleveland Eaton, (who was the bassist for the Ramsey Lewis Trio).

At the time they went under the name of The Soul Controllers, and recorded their first single, called 'Right On Brother, Right On'.

The song became a regional hit while they were still attending Fairfield High School.

On leaving High School, three members left and the remaining four became the Controllers.

Their growing reputation brought them to the attention of the Miami based, Juana Records, who signed them in 1975.

By this time they were managed by Clinton Harris, who with Frederick Knight formed Juana Records.

Knight immediately put The Controllers into the Malaco Studios in Jackson where they recorded their debut album.

In ControlFill Your Life With Love

in control - 1977 / fill your life with love - 1978

Frederick Knight produced some of their material, including, the 1977 debut LP, 'In Control', which included the R & B hit ballad, 'Somebody's Gotta Win, Somebody's Cotta Lose'.

'Heaven Is Only One Step Away' and 'We Don't' were also particularly popular.

The Controllers began to become an accomplished opening act, sharing the stage with the likes of Ray Charles, Nancy Wilson, B.B. King and the Temptations.

The group enjoyed further success with other Juana singles and albums.

1978's 'Fill Your Life With Love' contained the track 'Listen To The Children', a song later covered by Tommy Tate.

Next In LineThe Controllers

next in line - 1979 / the controllers - 1984

'Next In Line' followed in 1979, and contained the dancefloor friendly 'I Can't Turn The Boogie Loose'.

In 1983, The Controllers, signed with San Francisco-based manager, the late Jimmy Bee, who landed the group a recording contract with MCA Records.

The Controllers relocated to MCA in 1984.

The 'The Controllers' was released the same year, and contained the popular dancer 'Giving Up On Love'.

Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on harmonica for their first MCA single, 'Crushed,' which reached No. 30 on the R & B charts.

StayFor The Love Of My Woman

stay - 1986 / for the love of my woman - 1987

Their biggest MCA hit was 'Stay,' which peaked at No. 12 in 1986, and was taken from a parent album, which featured the song 'My Secret Fantasy', popular amongst Soul fans in the U.K, and the Marvin Gaye cover version of 'Distant Lover'.

Just In TimeClear View

just in time - 1989 / clear view - 1997

Jimmy Bee then signed the group with Capitol Records in 1988, issuing 'Just In Time' that year, an album which has now become highly collectable.

Jimmy Bee jimmy bee

Jimmy Bee passed away in April 1993 from a heart attack.

The group joined the Malaco label and released the CD, 'Clear View' in 1997, containing the song 'When I’m Away', along with a cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition'.

Lenard Brown and Reginald McArthur recently participated as television hosts on a show entitled 'Inside The Juke Joint'.

The Controllers scored 18 Billboard charted records and five gold records.

They won five Soul Train Awards, achieved five HBO appearances and 5 MTV appearances.

In recent years, Reginald McArthur joined New Mount Moriah Baptist Church, Hueytown, Alabama and was baptized on the 10th of August 2003.

Reginald McArthur

reginald mcarthur

Reginald passed away in 2018 in Alabama. He was 63.

Real Player


In Control (Juana Records 1977)

Fill Your Life With Love (TK Records 1978)

Next In Line (Juana Records 1979)

The Controllers (MCA Records 1984)

Stay (MCA Records 1986)

For the Love of My Woman (MCA Records 1987)

My Love Is Real (Timeless Records 1987)

Just in Time (Capitol Records 1989)

Clear View (Malaco Records 1997)

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