Willie Ford, Co-Founder of the Dramatics, Dead at 68

Some of the unsung stars in the world of R&B, while relatively unknown by casual music fans, will forever be remembered because of their voice.

Such is the case of Willie “Sugar Bear” Ford, a phenomenal bass singer and one of the co-founders of the legendary soul group The Dramatics (formerly The Dynamics), who died May 28 at the age of 68.

In an interview with EUR, Michael Henderson, another legendary singer, writer and producer, shared his thoughts about Ford.

“He was one the greatest bass singers of all time along with Melvin Franklin of The Temptations,” Henderson said about his friend.

He added that he’d just recently spoken with Ford who had been resting at his home but had been assured that he was ready to get back to work.

The Dramatics, formed in Detroit in 1964, are best known for their 1970s hit songs “In the Rain” and “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” which both reached the Top 10 Pop hits. Native Detroiters will fondly remember the group appearing frequently on the local dance show popular during the 70s, “The Scene.”

The group’s founders include: Ron Banks, Willie Lee Ford and Larry Reed.

Tragically, one of the founding members, Reed, survived victimization by Detroit Police officers in one of the events that touched off the Detroit Riots in the now historic July 1967 Algiers Motel incident — a situation during which the group’s valet, Fred Temple, was killed by the police.

Reed left the group after the incident.

To this date, The Dramatics continue to tour and perform, albeit in two separate versions of the original soul group.

Ford will be buried in his beloved hometown of Detroit on Wednesday, July 12.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Award-winning journalist and 21-year Black Press veteran, book editor, voice-over specialist and college instructor (Philosophy, Religion, Journalism). Before joining us, he led the Miami Times to recognition as NNPA Publication of the Year.

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