Soul Survivors Founding Member, Kenny Jeremiah, Dies

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Kenny Jeremiah, the lead singer of the Soul Survivors, who scored a 1967 radio hit with “Expressway to Your Heart,” died December 4, 2020. His death, from the Covid-19 virus, was reported by his brother, Al. His age and place of death were not immediately known; he was believed to be in his early 70s and last posted on his Facebook page on November 7. He was still performing as recently as that month.

Jeremiah formed the soul music group in 1964 with brothers Richie Ingui and Charlie Ingui in New York City, three white guys who grew up listening to the R&B vocal groups of the ’50s. (The three were originally in a band called the Dedications, formed in 1962.) The Soul Survivors signed with Crimson Records in Philadelphia, a label co-owned by Philly DJ Jerry Blavat.

Blavat arranged for the group (which relocated to Philly after drawing large crowds there) to sing “Expressway,” written and produced by the newcomers Gamble and Huff. The tune, with a “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” vibe to it, was released as a single in July 1967. It ultimately reached #4 in Billboard, and not surprisingly, #3 on the R&B chart.

Related: The top radio hits of 1967

The Soul Survivors broke up in 1970, although the Ingui brothers eventually performed under the name again, as well as with other groups.

Richie Ingui died on January 13, 2017. The cause of death was heart failure. Ingui was 69.

Jeremiah went on to record with the disco group Shirley & Company, which topped the U.S. dance chart in 1975 with “Shame Shame Shame.”

The bio on his website notes that he spent much of the 1980s on the popular Jersey Shore circuit and continued to perform in 2020.

Related: Musicians we’ve lost in 2020

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  1. PonySoldier
    #1 PonySoldier 4 December, 2020, 18:57

    Kenny was one of the nicest people on earth. His remarkable talent was only superceeded by his loving, energetic and upbeat personality. Always a joy to be around– a sad loss for the many who loved him and enjoyed his live music.

    Reply this comment
    • rah
      rah 4 December, 2020, 23:07

      i had the pleasure of performing with him 3 times over the years, always great and always a gentleman and made you feel welcome as a part of his “band” even though you were only a sub.

      Reply this comment
      • Alison
        Alison 19 December, 2020, 10:12

        Hey, Rah! Thanks for your comments on Kenny. I’m doing a story on him for The Press of Atlantic City. Would love to get your input. Please call me at (347) 602-3571. Hope we can chat soon.
        Best,
        Alison Grillo
        For The Press of Atlantic City
        (347) 602-3571

        Reply this comment
  2. Tommy Zito
    #2 Tommy Zito 5 December, 2020, 13:01

    I performed with Kenny years back at Trump Plaza and he was one of the nicest and professional musicians I met

    Reply this comment
  3. Dee-Dee
    #3 Dee-Dee 5 December, 2020, 19:36

    It Was My Ultimate Privilege To Know Kenny Jeremiah For 53 Years. I Was Also Happy To Be His Personal Asst/Adm Mgr/Photographer & All Around Gal Friday. He Was Amazing To Know & Super Amazing To Watch.
    The Ultimate Entertainer.

    Reply this comment
  4. Anna
    #4 Anna 5 December, 2020, 19:45

    The Jeremiah family lived in ozone park, queens, ny. On 92nd street between 97th ave and 101 ave. My aunt and uncle lived next door to them. Way back in the 60s.

    Reply this comment
  5. ROCKLINEMUSICVAULT
    #5 ROCKLINEMUSICVAULT 5 December, 2020, 20:08

    Kenny was Non-Stop Energy ! He was also part of the South Jersey Area Music Scene playing multiple clubs and Casinos with his bands Full House and The Jeremiah-Hunter Band. You can see and hear some Kenny of the past at http://www.rocklinemusicvault.com/FullHouse/

    Reply this comment
  6. Bob w
    #6 Bob w 6 December, 2020, 00:55

    Kenny always said hi 2 u when he passed by, that’s how I remember him, and with a great big smile. God bless him and his family, small guy but a big personality. RIP my friend

    Reply this comment
  7. Jace
    #7 Jace 6 December, 2020, 07:01

    What a terrible and unnecessary loss of a great guy and a super talent. God please grant us better leadership through this pandemic in the months to come.

    Reply this comment
  8. Sharon yeakel
    #8 Sharon yeakel 9 December, 2020, 12:03

    We met Kenny about 10 years ago in Wildwood at a party at our hotel you couldn’t meet a nicer person than him. He will be truly missed by everyone

    Reply this comment

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