Richie Ingui, ‘Expressway to Your Heart’ Singer, Dies

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The Soul Survivors’ sole charting album

Richie Ingui, a founding member of the Soul Survivors, the group that recorded the 1967 top 5 hit “Expressway to Your Heart,” died on Jan. 13. The cause of death was heart failure. Ingui was 70.

“Expressway to Your Heart” not only gave the Soul Survivors their biggest hit but also launched the careers of Philadelphia International Records moguls and producers/songwriters Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

The Soul Survivors were formed in New York City in 1965 by brothers Richie and Charlie Ingui, plus Kenny Jeremiah, all three 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 Phily after drawing large crowds there) to sing “Expressway,” written and produced by the newcomers Gamble and Huff and it ultimately went to #4 in Billboard, staying on the singles chart for 15 weeks total.

Related: 1967 in rock music

They placed three further singles on the chart, but only the immediate followup, “Explosion (In My Soul),” went anywhere, rising to #33. The group also had one charting album on Crimson, When the Whistle Blows, Anything Goes, in 1967-68.

The original Soul Survivors

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

Gamble and Huff went on to great fame, producing massive hits by the O’Jays, Billy Paul, Lou Rawls, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and many others, and building their label and studio into one of the most important of the era.

Related: What were the other big hits of late ’67?

Jerry Blavat, the legendary Philadelphia disc jockey, posted on Facebook, “Terribly sad and shocking news that I wish I did not have to report…our friend and colleague Richie Ingui of the legendary Soul Survivors passed away suddenly today. This is a tremendous loss not only to his brother Charlie Ingui and their family and friends but to everyone who loved soul music. Richie represented a young man who grew up on R&B and was a product of the music he heard, helping to create from his heart that unique sound that will live forever. He was a beautiful human being as well.”

Listen to “Expressway to Your Heart” in glorious stereo

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