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Tighten Up - Archie Bell and The Drells

Tighten Up

Rock 'N' Roll Years - 1968
soul funk 60s funky soul rhythm and blues


"Tighten Up" was a 1968 song by Houston, Texas based R&B vocal group Archie Bell & the Drells. It reached #1 on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts in the spring of 1968. It is ranked #265 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and is one of the earliest funk hits in music history. "Tighten Up" was written by Archie Bell and Billy Buttier . It was one of the first songs that Archie Bell & the Drells recorded, in a session in October 1967 at the Jones Town Studio in Houston, Texas, along with a number of songs including "She's My Woman". Soon afterwards Bell was drafted into the U.S. Army and began serving in Vietnam. The song became a hit in Houston, and was picked up by Atlantic Records for distribution in April 1968. By the summer it topped both the Billboard R&B and pop charts. It also sold a million copies by May 1968, gaining an R.I.A.A. gold disc. The line in "Tighten Up", "we dance just as good as we walk" was a little ironic, given that Bell had been shot in the leg and was consigned to a military hospital bed at the time. The introduction features Bell introducing himself as being from Houston, Texas. According to the Billboard Book of Number One Hits by Fred Bronson, Bell heard a comment after the Kennedy assassination in Dallas, that "nothing good ever came out of Texas." Bell wanted his listeners to know "we were from Texas and we were good." The song described an accompanying dance that the band had invented, also called the "Tighten Up"; this dance became popular concurrently with the song. The phenomenal success of the single prompted the band to rush out an album, despite their incapacitated leader. In 1969 the group recorded their first full album with Gamble and Huff, I Can't Stop Dancing, which reached # 28 on the R&B chart.


Archie Bell (born in Henderson, Texas on September 1, 1944) & the Drells were a Houston soul vocal group, one of the main acts on Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records. The band's hits include "Tighten Up" and "I Can't Stop Dancing" (both 1968), "The Soul City Walk" (1976), and "Everybody Have A Good Time" (1977). Bell, the brother of American footballer Ricky Bell (1955-1984), moved to Houston as a young boy and formed the group in 1966 with his friends James Wise, Willie Parnell and Billy Butler. Show more ...

Tighten Up - Archie Bell and The Drells

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