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The Tams, sometimes later billed as 'The Joe Pope Tams' or "The Mighty Tams" are an American vocal group from Atlanta, Georgia.
Original member Charles Pope has been with The Tams for 48 years. He co-founded the group with his brother, the late Joe Pope, in 1959. His son "Little Redd" has been performing with the group since he was 6 years old. Charles continues to bring the same "Tams sound" to their shows, while Little Redd adds a fresh, hip spin with his energetic performance.
They took their long lasting name from the Tam o'shanter style of hat that the group choose to wear on stage. From this trademark, the legendary Tams name was born. The Tams hard work, patience and perseverance eventually paid off when they were signed to Arlen records and had their first Billboard hit in 1962, the single “Untie Me”, which was number 12 on the R&B chart. In 1963, ABC Records signed them and their first album produced a Top Ten hit, “What Kind of Fool”. They began playing throughout the country and a string of hits followed. These included “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy”, “I’ve Been Hurt” and “Hey Girl”. Since then, they have released over 15 albums and been honored with one Platinum and two Gold records. They have toured and recorded with Jimmy Buffet and performed with such greats as Gladys Knight, Jackie Wilson and many more. They have received the title “Beach Band of the Decade” and have been inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame, the Atlanta Hall of Fame and the Beach Music Hall of Fame.
The Tams are still recording today and have recently released their latest singles “My Main Squeeze” and “This Love Will Last” from their newest CD The Tams Comin’ At Cha’.
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."
The current members include Charles Pope, his son Li’l Redd, Robert Arnold, Elton Richardson, Greg Gallashaw and Reginald Preston.
Member Joseph Jones Jr. (Little Joe) died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 31, 2010, at age 64.
Despite the unfortunate passing of “The Legendary Joe Pope”, The Tams have continued to be as popular as ever.
Fifty One years after the group’s formation, Charles and Li’l Redd continue to lead The Tams toward success. Fans clamor to see Charles Pope – Living Legend, and Li’l Redd – Fastest Feet in the South! And with a new generation of “Little Tams” coming along, Charles puts it best when he says “The Tams will NEVER die” !! We have three young Tams in training, Redd's son Mikai, Tiny's and Ti's, son King, and Elton son Jordan.
The Tams are an American vocal group from Atlanta, Georgia, who enjoyed their greatest chart success in the 1960s, but continued to chart in the 1970s, and the 1980s. Two separate lineups of the group continue to perform and record. One lineup, called 'The Original Tams with R. L. Smith', features original member Robert Lee Smith, and the other lineup is under the leadership of Little Red, the son of longtime member Charles Pope and the nephew of group co-founder Joe Pope.