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the tams

The Tams

The Tams comprised, at various times, of:

Robert Lee Smith (b. 18th March 1936, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Charles Pope (b. 7th August 1936, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. d. 11th July 2013, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Joseph Lee Pope (b. 6th November 1933, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., d. 16th March 1996, Decatur, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Little Red (son of Charles Pope)

Horace ‘Sonny’ Key (b. 13th April 1934, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)

Floyd ‘Little Floyd’ Ashton (15th November 1933, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.)


Albert Cottle, Jr.

The vocal R&B group, formed in 1952 by Charles and his brother Joseph Pope along with Horace Key and Robert Lee Smith, who all hail from Atlanta, Georgia.

Probably best remembered for the chart hit ‘Hey Girl, Don’t Bother Me’, still perform today, however, they perform in two incarnations.

Group member, Robert Lee Smith, performs with ‘The Original Tams with R. L. Smith', whilst the other group are led by Charles Pope, the brother of co-founder Joe Pope.

The Tams were sometimes billed as ‘The Joe Pope Tams' or ‘The Mighty Tams’.

The Tams, originally, took their stage name from the hats they wore on stage, namely, the Tam o'shanter.

The TamsThe Tams

vacation time b/w if love were like rivers - 1961 / untie me b/w disillusioned - 1962

In 1961, the group signed to the Heritage imprint, releasing ‘Vacation Time’ b/w ‘If Love Were Like Rivers’.

In 1962 they signed to the Arlen records imprint 1962, releasing ‘Untie Me’ b/w ‘Disillusioned’ , an a-side penned by Joe South.

‘Untie Me’ reached the Top 20 U.S. R&B chart.

The TamsThe TamsThe TamsThe Tams

presenting the tams - 1964 / hey girl, don't bother me - 1964 / time for the tams - 1966 / a little more soul - 1968

Further singles followed on Arlen, up until 1963, when the group switched labels to ABC, and in 1963, ‘What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)’ b/w ‘Laugh It Off’, which climbed into the Top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

‘What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)’ also spent three weeks at number one on the Cash Box R&B chart.

The group remained at ABC Records, up until 1968.

In 1964, the Tams released ‘Hey Girl Don't Bother Me’ b/w ‘Take Away’.

The song also was a hit, and was followed by another success for the group, with ‘Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy’ reaching number 26 on the R&B chart in 1968.

The single also reached the U.K. Top 40 in 1970.

The TamsThe TamsThe TamsThe Tams

a portrait of the tams - 1969 / the mighty, mighty tams - 1978 / beach music from the tams - 1983 / steppin' out in the light - 1999

When ‘Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me’ b/w ‘Weep Little Girl’ was re-released on U.K. ABC in 1971, the song became a big hit in the U.K.

The single reached number one in Ireland, which made the Tams, the first R&B group to top the Irish Charts.

When the Tams left ABC Records, they released material for several imprints, including 1-2-3, Capitol, APT, MGM South, Sounds South, Passion, Wonder and Compleat Records.

The TamsThe Tams

making true love b/w my baby sure can shag - 1983 / there ain't nothin' like shagging b/w get a job - 1987

Further singles were less successful, however, the group’s 1987 single ‘There Ain't Nothing Like Shaggin' b/w ‘Showtime’ reached the charts in the U.K. again.

This was partly due to the term ‘shag’ having a double meaning in the U.K., although, the originally intended use of the word referred to a dance practised on the U.S. Beach music scene.

The song featured in the 1989 film, ‘Shag’.

The Tams still perform to this day in the Southeastern United States.

They still record in the studio and perform at live concerts.

The TamsThe Tams

forever tams - 2002 / comin' at cha! - 2005

In 1999, they performed with Jimmy Buffett, contributing to his album ‘Beach House on the Moon’.

The Tams

The Singer-songwriter, Tameka Harris, was born in 1975, to Dianne Cottle-Pope and Charles Pope in College Park, Georgia.

Charles Pope passed away on the 11th of July 2013, at the age of 76 from alzheimers.

Charles had been with The Tams for 48 years, whilst his son 'Lil' Red, has been a 'Tam' for the last 46 years, and now fronts the latest incarnation of the Tams.

Real Player


Presenting The Tams (ABC Records 1964)

Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me (ABC Records 1964)

Time For The Tams (ABC Records 1967)

A Portrait Of The Tams (ABC Records 1969)

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy (Stateside Records 1970)

The Mighty, Mighty Tams (Sounds South Records 1978)

Steppin' Out in the Light (Ripete Records 1999)

The Tams Live at CT's (Ripete Records 2000)

Forever Tams (Bradley House Music 2002)

Comin' at Cha (Mossland Records 2005)

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