55 years of gold for a 40 year Old
For as long as I can remember, I have had a love for music. I share that love with my baby brother. (Who is not such a baby anymore). My little brother Luke turned 40 earlier this week. Little brother has been listening to the music of Exile since the day he was born, I guess. He rates them as his favorite band ever.
My little brother recalled some memories last night, he said he could still see himself sitting in his room alone with a vinyl record of Exile spinning on the turntable. He told me that the music of Exile was soothing to him and removed his fears of those imaginary monsters in the closet that haunts each of us at one time or another through our childhood. My brother’s “monsters” happened to come in the form of clowns, and he was glad that he had this music to drown out their noise.
Last night we finally got to see this group we have loved for so long perform live.
With my sister in laws persistence, she helped make this night extra special for Luke, the band went as far as handwriting his name onto their setlist and singing him “Happy Birthday” from the stage. After the show, we were honored to spend a moment with the group backstage and thank them personally for creating 55 wonderful years of wonderful music.
I will be forever grateful that I got to share this moment in time with my brother. It is a memory that I shall never forget. The concert last night at the Cactus Theatre in Lubbock was greater than any of my expectations.
The band Exile was formed in 1963. As I recall, they were most popular in the late 70’s and Early 80’s. The band was originally formed in Richmond, Kentucky after a band called the Fascinations featuring Jimmy Stockley merged with another local band whose lead singer/ guitarist was JP Pennington. When the band first began, they aligned themselves to becoming a rock group but later switched to the country genre.
In 1978 the band scored big in the pop charts with their number one hit “Kiss You All Over.” This song featured the vocals of both Stockley and JP Pennington. It was written by Mike Chapman and Nicky Chinn. On a radio broadcast from May 1979, Top 40 Disk Jockey, Casey Kasem reported that Chapman’s inspiration for the song “It’s Ecstasy When You Lay Down Next to Me” by Barry White.
Throughout their extended musical career, Exile has toured with some of the greatest bands of my generation including Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, The Oak Ridge Boys and Kenny Rogers.
Exile’s founder Stockley is now deceased, but his co-founder, Pennington has done his best to obtain many of its original members and to keep their one-of-a-kind style of music alive. The group of performers we saw and met last night, Included lead vocalist JP Pennington, Vocalist and Guitarist Les Taylor, Bassist and backup vocalist Sonny LeMaire, Keyboardist Marlon Hargis, and Drummer Steve Goetzman.
Besides performing music and making their own hits, in my own observation, this group did much for country music as a whole. JP Pennington is responsible for writing and first recording some of Alabama’s greatest hits. Pennington penned the songs, “Take Me Down” and “Closer You Get” both of which became #1 hits for the group Alabama. Exile Guitarist, Les Taylor, created the song “It Ain’t Easy” which would become award winner musician Janie Fricke’s second number one hit.
Members of Exile have also written songs that were recorded by other major artists such as Kenny Rogers, the Forrester Sisters, Sheena Easton, Tracy Lawrence, and Travis Tritt.
If I had the chance to see this band live every week, I would. This concert was for sure one for the books for me. The group had such a grand stage presence and were delighted to interact with their fan base young and old. Even though it was a sold-out show, there were moments that I felt like they were playing only to me. The group encouraged us to sing along with them on our favorites and they made each of us feel welcomed. I think I knew every word to everything they sang last night and after some reflection I realized they hadn’t even come close to playing their entire catalog of music during the two-hour set.
I encourage those of you who appreciate music to listen to Exile. This group continues to make my life better through their song.