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Remembering Ron Banks, Founder of The Dramatics

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Ron Banks, singer and a founding member of the Detroit vocal group.

Banks’ sweet voice and smooth choreography helped distinguish the Dramatics, particularly in Detroit’s post-Motown scene of the 1970s, when the group enjoyed crossover pop success with songs such as”Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get” and “In the Rain.”

Born Ronald Dean Banks on May 10th, 1951, in Detroit. MI. Banks was tall and strapping, with a vocal delivery inspired by the Temptations’ Eddie Kendricks. He was among a group of teenagers who formed the Sensations in 1964 and then changed their name to the Dramatics the next year.

The Dramatics began on the Wingate label, but had no charting hits with that lable. Their first hit came with "All Because of You," which landed at No. 43 in 1967 and was released on the Sport label.

After signing with Stax Records in 1971, they released “Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get,” which reached No. 3 on the R&B charts and No. 9 on the pop charts, and the atmospheric “In the Rain,” which went to No. 1 on the R&B charts and No. 5 on the pop charts.

The band later had top-10 R&B hits with “Me and Mrs. Jones,” "Be My Girl” and “Shake It Well” on ABC Records and “Welcome Back Home” on MCA.

The Dramatics were officially inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame at Cleveland State University on Saturday August 17, 2013.

Banks died on March 4, 2010.  He was 58. 

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., as well as weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.