Willie B. Holland, the last original member of The Persuaders, died on Sunday, February 13 after a battle with cancer. Holland’s death was announced on The Persuaders Fan Page on Facebook.
Formed in 1969 in the Bronx, the Persuaders released a number of terrific cuts in the early 70s – songs that have continued to resonate more than four decades later and some of which have been remade as hits in multiple genres.
The Persuaders were formed from the ashes of doo-wop groups the Internationals and the Majestics, and the group's original lineup, led by gritty lead singer Smokey Scott and also including Jimmy Barnes, Charles Stodghill and Holland, signed with Atco Records in 1971. The musical force behind the group was pianist/songwriter Richard Poindexter (who had spent much of the late 60s writing for such artists as Linda Jones and the O'Jays). They came out of the box on fire and scored a huge hit that year with the Poindexter- penned "Thin Line Between Love and Hate," a now-classic ballad of warning that described the (literally) painful consequences to a man who took his woman for granted.
While the Persuaders never again had a large crossover hit, they recorded a number of additional Soul charters over the next three years, including the top 10 "Love Gonna Pack Up" and the excellent mid-tempo "Some Guys Have All The Luck" (later recorded by Rod Stewart and Robert Palmer).
The hits stopped coming by the mid-70s, and the group's major label recording career was soon over. The Persuaders experienced a series of line-up changes over the next several years before breaking up.