b. Overton Vertis ‘O. V.’ Wright, 9th October 1939, Leno, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 16th November 1980, Mobile, Alabama, U.S.A.
O.V. Wright was an R&B singer whose career covered the Blues and Southern Soul genre’s.
He was born in Leno in Tennessee, and began singing in his local church at an early age.
on jesus program b/w another day lost - 1964 / there goes my used to be b/w that's how strong my love is - 1964
At the age of 17 (and still in high school), he joined the ranks of the gospel group The Sunset Travelers (members including: O. V. Wright, Johnny Frierson) who later released ‘Another Day Lost’ b/w ‘On Jesus' Program’ on the Peacock imprint in 1964.
O.V. later fronted the gospel groups the Harmony Echoes, The Spirit Of Memphis, and the The Highway Q.C.'S.
He then came to the attention of Roosevelt Jamison, a songwriter and manager.
In 1964 he signed to the Goldwax imprint and, under the group name of O.V. Wright with the Keys, his first single release was ‘That's How Strong My Love Is’ b/w ‘There Goes My Used To Be’.
The song was later to be covered by Otis Redding and the Rolling Stones.
A previous recording arrangement, agreed when he was recording with the Gospel group, led to a label change to the Back Beat imprint.
only for tonight - 1965 / 8 men and 4 women - 1968 / memphis unlimited - 1969 / nucleus of soul 1969
At Back Beat, O.V. released 5 albums between 1965 and 1973.
O.V. continued with much success, working alongside record producer Willie Mitchell.
ace of spade b/w afflicted - 1970 / a nickel and a nail b/w pledging my love - 1971
This pairing realised the several hits, including ‘Ace of Spade’ and ‘A Nickel and a Nail’.
Highly popular in the Southern States, O.V.’s hits included ‘You're Gonna Make Me Cry’ b/w ‘Monkey Dog’ (R&B number 6 in 1965), ‘Eight Men, Four Women’ b/w ‘Fed Up With The Blues’ (R&B number 4 in 1967) ‘Ace of Spade’ b/w ‘Afflicted’ (R&B number 11 in 1970), and ‘A Nickel and a Nail’ b/w ‘Pledging My Love’ (R&B number 19 in 1971).
During the Seventies, O.V.’s career stalled when he was imprisoned for narcotics offenses.
He released sides in 1975 and 1976 for the ABC imprint, including ‘What More Can I Do’ b/w ‘Hen Pecked Man’, and ‘Nobody But You’ b/w ‘Slow And Easy’, before relocating to the Hi Records label.
O.V. released several sides on Hi between 1976 and 1979, which included, ‘Rhymes b/w ‘Without You’ (in 1976), ‘Into Something (Can't Shake Loose)’ b/w ‘Time We Have’, ‘Precious, Precious’ b/w ‘You Gotta Have Love’ (in 1977), ‘I Don't Do Windows’ b/w ‘I Feel Love Growin’, ‘No Easy Way To Say Goodbye’ b/w ‘Bottom Line’ (in 1978), ‘We're Still Together’ b/w ‘I Don't Know Why’ (in 1979).
into something (con't shake loose) - 1977 / the wright stuff - 1977 / the bottom line - 1978 / we're still together - 1979
He also released 4 studio albums for the label, which were ‘Into Something (Can't Shake Loose)’ and 'The Wright Stuff' (in 1977), ‘The Bottom Line’ (in 1978), O.V. Wright Live’ (in 1979) and ‘We’re Still Together’ (in 1979).
By the end of this period, his career was on the decline.
O.V. had begun to struggle with health issues.
Drug problems took their toll and he passed away from a heart attack, in Mobile, Alabama at the early age of 41.
He was en route to a local hospital, when he died before reaching the building.
O.V.’s backing band continued to perform as the O.V. Wright Band for another 13 years.
During his career, O.V. Wright achieved three gold records ('You're Gonna Make Me Cry', 'Eight men, Four Women' and 'Ace of Spade').
He was survived by his wife, Mrs Alberta Wright, his son, Overton Wright Jnr., his sister, Mrs Ada Bell McCeight, and a brother, Gentry Wright (all of Memphis).
If It's Only For Tonight (Back Beat Records 1965)
8 Men And 4 Women (Back Beat Records 1967)
Nucleus Of Soul (Back Beat Records 1968)
A Nickel And A Nail And Ace Of Spades (Back Beat Records 1971)
Memphis Unlimited (Back Beat Records 1973)
Into Something I Can't Shake Loose (Hi Records 1977)
The Wright Stuff (Hi Records 1977)
The Bottom Line (Hi Records 1978)
O.V. Wright Live (Hi Records 1979)
We're Still Together (Hi Records 1979)