Soul Serenade: 100 PROOF Aged in Soul, “Somebody’s Been Sleeping”

100 PROOF Aged in SoulHolland-Dozier-Holland was a massively successful songwriting and production team at Motown Records. Their hits for the company are too numerous to mention but include such classics as “Heatwave” by Martha & the Vandellas, “Can I Get a Witness” by Marvin Gaye, the Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey,” the Four Tops “Baby I Need Your Loving,” and the Supremes “Stop! In the Name of Love.” But as it’s so often the case in the music (and other) business that the kind of success they had, and the piles of money that it brings in, lead to a dispute with management. And so, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland went to war with Berry Gordy, Jr. and their relationship with Motown was the first casualty of that war.

The team was hardly done, however. After leaving Motown in early 1968, they formed their own label and called it Hot Wax. The legal fallout from their Motown departure was so restrictive that they couldn’t use their own names on the songs they wrote, instead employing the nom de plume Edythe Wayne for many of them. The Motown artists they worked with didn’t, for the most part, follow them to Hot Wax, so they had to find people to record.

One of the first things that Holland-Dozier-Holland did at Hot Wax was to put together a vocal group that they called 100 PROOF Aged in Soul. The group was led by Joe Stubbs who, in addition to being the brother of Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, had been a member of Motown groups like the Contours and the Originals, and before that, the Falcons. Sonny Monroe had been the lead singer of the Falcons and he also made the transition to 100 PROOF. Other members included Eddie Holiday and Steve Mancha.

100 PROOF Aged in Soul - Somebody's Been Sleeping

In all, 100 PROOF recorded six singles and two albums for Hot Wax between 1969-1972. It is the second of these singles, “Somebody’s Been Sleeping,” that they are remembered for. The song was written by General Johnson, who sang lead for the Chairmen of the Board, along with Greg Perry and Angelo Bond. Perry produced the record. The song was a tale of infidelity heavily influenced by the fairytale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Fairytales sometimes do come true and that was the case for 100 PROOF. “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” rose up the charts until it reached the Top 10 on both the pop and R&B charts in 1969. The record sold over one million copies and was awarded a Gold Record. The album that included the single, Somebody’s Been Sleeping in My Bed, made it to #31 on the R&B chart. Several other 100 PROOF singles were Top 40 R&B hits notably the “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” follow-up which made the Top 20.

There was not enough success to sustain the group however and 100 PROOF Aged in Soul broke up in 1973. All of the original members are now deceased.

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