Richard Lewis Spencer

Biography

(Photo Credit: Peter Cole)

Richard Lewis Spencer is an African-American musician and teacher. He played tenor saxophone in Otis Redding’s band, behind Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions with The Winstons. He was awarded the Grammy Award (R&B Songwriter Of The Year 1969) for his composition “Color Him Father”. Spencer wrote “Color Him Father” and Richard was the singer of the mega-hit with The Winstons on Metromedia Records.

Spencer is a Wadesboro, North Carolina native who, at the ages of 11 and 12, studied classical piano at the famed Beckwith Piano School in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the age of 13, he became the organist and pianist for the late Bishop J.H. Sherman of The Church Of God In Christ.

In 1962, Spencer moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked with various bar bands including recording with Leroy Taylor and The 4k’s as one of the first acts to sign with historic Shrine Records.

In 1969, Richard was lead singer for the song “Color Him Father” became a hit for The Winstons, an R&B group from Washington, D.C. The Winstons’ recording reached No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. The song was also recorded by Linda Martell who took it to No. 14 on the Billboard country chart. Spencer is the owner of the famous Amen break featuring a drum solo by the now-famous G.C. Coleman (deceased). There are some who claim that this piece of music helped to launch hip-hop and the electronic subcultures.

After a successful career, Spencer left the music business in 1970. He returned to college to study at the University of the District of Columbia where he received a B.A. in political science and a M.S. in labor management relations. He studied for a M.Ed. at the University of Phoenix and the University of North Carolina, and completed the course work for a Ph.D. at Howard University. Spencer retired from the Washington Metro system in 2000, and is currently a licensed Baptist Minister and high school teacher (U.S. history, psychology, civics) in Montgomery County, Maryland.[citation needed] In March 2015, Spencer was selected and received the prestigious “DC Legendary Musicians Award”.

Richard currently resides in Wadesboro, North Carolina. He has one son Richard L. Spencer, III.

Video Biography

Music Sample

The Winstons-Color Him Father

The Winstons-Amen Brother

The Winstons-Ain’t Nothing Like A Little Loving

The Winstons- Need A Replacement

The Winstons- Love of the Common People

Interview

WTVI PBS Charlotte Interview 2017

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