The Tams have had four #1 songs at the national, and international levels, as well as one major regional hit:
- What Kind of Fool – #1 R& B / #6 Top 40 (1963) – This was The Tams first national hit record, bringing them into the households of millions through a tremendous amount of airplay.
- Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy – #26 Top 40 (1968) – This song is The Tams’ greatest US Chart success, selling over 1,000,000 copies and becoming their only RIAA Certified Gold Record single.
- Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me – Three weeks at #1 in England (1971) One of three UK chart hits for The Tams, this ABC/Dunhill records release also has the distinction of being the the #1 song of year in the UK.
- Walkin’ Dr. Bill – Officially recorded by “The Tams (with G.C. Cameron),” this was a duet with the former lead singer of The Spinners singing much of the lead. Charles Pope, Lil’ Red Cottle and the rest of the Tams lent excellent background vocals to the song. This heavily R&B-flavored but danceable song sat at #1 for almost a month on the Rhythm-and-Beach Top 40. “Walkin’ Dr. Bill was #1 in the Summer of 2000 and won “Song of the Year” at the 2000 CAMMY Awards.
- I’ve Been Hurt – Although never on the charts, “I’ve Been Hurt” was most likely the biggest regional hit ever (based on sales and airplay) prior to 1980. To show the importance of regional sales and airplay, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs have an RIAA Gold Record for Maurice’s song “May I” that never made the Billboard Top 100. Many radio stations and DJs consider “I’ve Been Hurt” to certainly be the biggest selling and most played Tams song EVER, even though it was primarily popular in the southeast (and not recognized as a national hit by Billboard).
Their total honors include:
- 1 Platinum record
- 2 Gold Records
- 13 Albums
- Featured in “Top of The Pops”
- Featured in “Gold Mine” magazine
- 1986 ” Beach Band of the Decade ” by Beach Music Awards
- 1988 ” Outstanding Black Musical Group” by the Atlanta Black History Awards
- 1992 Inducted into the Atlanta Hall of Fame
- 1994 Inducted in Beach Music Hall of Fame
- 1996 Inducted into Georgia Music Hall of Fame
- 1999 Recorded “Flesh and Bones” with Jimmy Buffett / Beach House on the Moon” CD
- 1999 Touring with Jimmy Buffett / Beach House on the Moon US tour
- 2000 Cammy Award Winner for “Walkin’ Dr. Bill,” a duet with G.C. Cameron
Bittersweet Success in England.
The Tams had a separate and successful tour of the British charts. “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” made it to the UK Top 40 (#32) in 1970. The next year they had the #1 song in the UK, with a reissue of Ray Whitley’s “Hey Girl Don’t Bother Me.” The song hit #1 on September 18, 1971 taking over from Diana Ross’ hit “I’m Still Waiting,” and remained there for three weeks until Rod Stewart’s mega-hit “Maggie May” bumped it from the top.
The Tams’ next major UK chart success was a Top 5 smash in 1987 called “There Ain’t Nothing Like Shaggin.” This song, featured the vocals of Joe Pope, and was released (as were all of the songs in England) by ABC/Dunhill Records. The final Tams hit in the UK was “My Baby Sure Can Shag.” Unfortunately for The Tams, all of the songs released in England were under their original contract with Bill Lowrey; this meant that The Tams never received one penny of royalties for the millions of records they sold in the UK (and Europe).