In 1958, a couple of enterprising high school boys in Raleigh, North Carolina answered the Soviet challenge of Sputnick by forming a band called The Satellites. They played for school dances and parties making as much as sixty-dollars for all of their efforts on a good night. The name didn't last long but the Rhythm and Blues music they chose to play is timeless and is as popular today as it was in the late fifties and early sixties. Over the years this music has been titled many different ways, originally pegged as Delta. Until the mid-fifties, very few Caucasian musicians played this style of music making THE EMBERS very unique in this genre of music.
Rhythm and Blues became the foundation and essence of Soul music and the Motown sound, but in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Alabama the name that applies is "Beach Music". Bobby Tomlinson, drummer and the leader of the band, believes that Beach Music is music with a memory. Tomlinson says, "One week of the year you go to the beach, meet a girl, take her dancing and you will hear this music. When you hear those special songs again you think of that girl and the fun you had at the beach." Others believe that Beach Music is simply lyrics that are easy to sing with and simple melodies and pretty harmonies that accompany them.
To say that "The Embers play Beach Music" is an understatement. After forty-one years, seventeen albums, numerous single releases and forty-five's, THE EMBERS are one of the most popular bands as well as one of the most active groups in the country. THE EMBERS boast an average of three-hundred dates per year all ranging from Toronto to Florida, and westward to California and Hawaii.
In 1981, THE EMBERS were the first "regional band" to be used by a major beer company for one of it's national commercials. Anheuser-Busch contracted THE EMBERS to record a version of their original tune, "I Love Beach Music" substituting the words "I Love Budweiser". The commercial began receiving national air play in March of that year and followed soon thereafter by THE EMBERS version of "This One's For You". Budweiser has contracted THE EMBERS longer than any other musical group it has sponsored.
In 1990, THE EMBERS were honored to be selected by the Travel and Tourism division of North Carolina to do a series of radio announcements and television commercials to promote tourism in North Carolina. The campaign, "North Carolina Style", was launched and met with outstanding results. In early 1997, "North Carolina Style" was still receiving an enormous amount of airplay throughout the southeast region of the United States. THE EMBERS were originally chosen to head-up this promotional campaign due to their ability to cross demographic lines, and appeal to all age groups and musical preferences. In 1998, THE EMBERS were involved in a video/commercial for the Piggly Wiggly corporation in which the advertisement was placed in heavy use within the Carolina's. THE EMBERS also participated in a limited campaign for the Coca-Cola Company in 1998 and enjoyed much success with that corporation as well. The group continues to produce and direct many commercials and endorsements much to the satisfaction of their benefactors.
THE EMBERS are currently outfitted and tailored by the Dillard's corporation with stage and leisure clothing such as: Perry Ellis, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren. Alexander Julian, Nautica and several other reputable clothing designers.
Throughout the years, THE EMBERS have appeared in concert with many national artists such as: The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Jackie Wilson, Jerry Butler, Lou Rawls, Alabama and numerous others. True Beach Music lovers can appreciate knowing that THE EMBERS received three standing ovations when they performed with The Beach Boys.
THE EMBERS of today consist of:
Bobby Tomlinson (Leader/Drummer)
Johnny Hopkins (Trumpet/Fluegel Horn/Trombone/Guitar/Vocals)
Gerald Davis (Musical Director/Bass/Vocals)
Craig Woolard (Saxophone/Lead Vocals)
Andy Swindell (Keyboards/Lead Vocals)
Jeff Grimes (Guitar/Vocals)
R. Mark Black (Saxophones/Vocals)
THE EMBERS are truly one of the finest entertainment experiences of our lifetime.