On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ron Banks. Banks, singer and a founding member of the Detroit vocal group, which formed in the mid-1960s and continued to play for avid audiences around the country.
Banks’ sweet voice and smooth choreography helped distinguish the Dramatics, particularly in Detroit’s post-Motown scene of the 1970s, when the group enjoyed crossover pop success with songs such as "Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “In the Rain.”
Born Ronald Dean Banks on May 10, 1951, in Detroit, Banks was tall and strapping, with a vocal delivery inspired by the Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks. He was among a group of teenagers who formed the Sensations in 1964 and then changed their name to the Dramatics a year later.
The Dramatics began on the Wingate label, but had no charting hits with that imprint. Their first hit came with "All Because of You," which landed at No. 43 in 1967 and was released on the Sport label.
After signing with Stax Records in 1971, they released “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” which reached No. 3 on the R&B charts and No. 9 on the pop charts, and the atmospheric “In the Rain,” which went to No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 5 on the pop charts.
The band later had top-10 R&B hits with “Me and Mrs. Jones,” "Be My Girl” and “Shake It Well” on the Los Angeles-based ABC label and “Welcome Back Home” on MCA.
On March 4, 2010, Banks died of a heart attack. He was 58.