Joe Tex (Joseph Arrington, Jr., August 8, 1935 – August 13, 1982) was an American rhythm & blues singer.
He gained success in the 1960s and 1970s with his brand of Southern soul, which mixed the styles of country, gospel and rhythm and blues.
Born in Rogers, Texas, in 1935 (often misreported as 1933) and raised in Baytown, TX, Tex's career started after he was signed to King Records in 1955 following four wins at the Apollo Theater. Between that year and 1964, however, Tex struggled to find hits and by the time he finally recorded his first hit, "Hold What You've Got", in 1964, he had recorded thirty prior singles that were deemed failures on the charts. Tex went on to have three million-selling hits, "Hold What You've Got" (1965), "Skinny Legs and All" (1967) and "I Gotcha" (1972).
Tex's style of speaking over the background of his music helped to make him one of the predecessors of the modern style of rap music.
Joe Tex with the raspy voice & charm of a southern preacher and the linguistic skills of a true street hustler made a string of funky chart topping hits and occasional raps with moral themes. His peak as a hitmaker occured in the mid & late 60's, but extended into the 70's disco era.
Tex's last name was Arrington. He later changed it to Hazziez after conversion to Islam but his stage name was Joe Tex, for Texas, the state he was born & later died in.
His breakthrough 1965 song "Hold What You've Got" topped both the Pop and R&B charts. In 1966 he released "I Believe I'm Gonna Make It", which was the first major pop record associated with the Vietnam War. His style was usually more light hearted fare, like "S.Y.S.L.J.F.M. (The Letter Song)" and his biggest hit "Skinny Legs And All".
His last major record was 1972's funky jam "I Gotcha", a #1 song that would not have been out of place on a James Brown record of that era. It was after this release that he converted to Islam. After the death of Elijah Mohamed in 1975, Joe Tex received the blessing and approval of the Nation of Islam to begin recording and performing again. His career resurgence came as the disco years were in full swing. His late career comeback song was "Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman)".