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The group first formed under the name The Kays in 1959, and scored a Top 10 hit in the U.S. in 1968 with the tune "Girl Watcher" (#5 Pop, #6 R&B). The song was first released on the North State record label owned by Ronald Killette (Buck Trail), then based in Goldsboro, N.C., under the production of John I Whitfield . Authorship credit for the song was originally shared by Buck Trail and O'Kaysions band member Wayne Pittman. Due to the popularity of this single it was sold to and released nationally by ABC Records where it eventually reached #5 on the Billboard pop charts. "Girl Watcher" received gold record status for a million sales from the R.I.A.A. in December 1968. It was their only major hit, and they released their full-length album in 1969 entitled The O'Kaysions on the ABC label. In 1987, the song was reworked as "I'm A Wheel Watcher" and was used to promote the TV game show, Wheel of Fortune (as well as its French-Canadian and New Zealand versions). This reworked version was performed by Kool & the Gang.
As the song was recorded at Pitt Sound Studio, Greenville, North Carolina, a budget studio, the master tape was long thought to be missing, a story dismissed by original member Wayne Pittman who believes that ABC Records took possession of the master and still maintains it. Others have claimed that a needle-drop of The North State single was used by ABC to create the nationally released hit single. That "master" is now the property of MCA Records and is leased to other record labels. The group still receives royalties from MCA.
The group still performs today with a different line-up. Wayne Pittman is the only original member remaining active in the band. He also serves as the manager of the group.
In November 2003, the original line-up reunited for a one-time show at the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where they received a CBMA Hall of Fame Award.
Original band members
- Donnie Weaver - vocals, organ
- Wayne Pittman - guitar
- Eddie Dement - trumpet
- Gerald Toler - saxophone
- Jimmy Hinnant - bass
- Steve Watson - drums
|1968||"Girl Watcher"||—||—||North State Records||"Deal Me In"|
|"Girl Watcher"||5||6||ABC Records||"Deal Me In"||Girl Watcher|
|"Love Machine"||76||—||"Dedicated to the One I Love"|
|1969||"Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa"||—||—||"Colors"|
|1970||"Watch Out Girl"||—||—||Cotillion Records||"Happiness"|
|1971||"Life and Things"||—||—||"Travelin' Life"|
|1968||Girl Watcher||153||49||ABC Records|
- MurrellI, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 245. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- Biography, Allmusic.com
- "Official Website of The O'Kaysions - Hit Single "Girl Watcher"". Theokaysions.com. Retrieved 2012-10-18.
- Billboard, Allmusic.com
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