Sam Dees Biography
Sam Dees is a prolific songwriter, producer, and recording artist who wrote or co-wrote hit songs for Atlantic Starr (their radio-aired LP track “Am I Dreaming,” “Send for Me”), Larry Graham’s million-selling number one R&B single “One in a Million You,” Gladys Knight and the Pips’ number one R&B hit “Save the Overtime (For Me),” and Whitney Houston’s “Lover for Life,” among others. After the classic soul era, Gerald Alston of the Manhattans covered “Send for Me” on his 1992 Motown LP Always in the Mood. “Am I Dreaming” was redone by Ol Skool featuring Keith Sweat and Excape.
The Birmingham, Alabama, native was born in 1945, and is mentioned in the same breath as other top soul/pop songwriters as Lamont Dozier, George Jackson, Bunny Siglar, and Jo Armstead. Dees won singing contests as a child and in his early twenties began recording for Nashville producer Shelby Singlsgon’s SSS International Records. The following year in 1969, Dees began cutting for Natte McCalla’s Birmingham label, Lola Records, including a song originally meant for Percy Sledge, “It’s All Wrong.” In the early ’70s, he recorded singles for Chicago-based Chess Records, “Love Starvation” b/w “Maryanna” and “Can You Be a One Woman Man” b/w “Put You Back in Your Place.” Dees’ 1975 LP The Show Must Go On was released on Atlantic Records. In the late ’70s, Dees was introduced to Gladys Knight by Jack Gold who produced Knight’s solo debut, Gladys Knight. Dees co-wrote and co-produced half of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ Visions LP.
Other artists who recorded songs written/co-written and or produced by Dees are the popular radio-aired LP track “Lover for Life” from Whitney Houston’s I’m Your Baby Tonight album, which was jazzily covered by Doc Powell on Laid Back and Kirk Whalum on For You; Loleatta Holloway’s “Cry to Me” (number ten R&B, early 1975); Gladys Knight and the Pips’ “My Time” from early 1985; Barbara Hall’s “Drop My Heart Off at the Door”; Carl Carlton’s “I Never Got Over You,” “Mama’s Boy,” and “Free Fine and 21” from his 1986 Casablanca album Private Property; Rozetta Johnson’s “Who Are You Gonna Love”; Larry Graham’s “One in a Million You” (gold, number one R&B, number nine pop from spring 1980); Rockie Robbins’ danceable, inspiring “Hang Tough”; Tyrone Davis’ “Homewreckers” from spring 1975; Margie Joseph’s “Just As Soon As the Feeling’s Over”; the George Benson/Aretha Franklin duet “Love All the Hurt Away” (number six R&B from summer 1981); Dorothy Moore’s “Special Occasion”; Denise LaSalle’s “Keep Your Pants On” on Right Place, Right Time; and TK/Juana artist Anita Ward’s “Spolied By Your Love.” Anti-drug themes surface in Dees’ songs “Signed Miss Heroin” and “Aint No Use for Drug Abuse.” With singer Jeffrey Osborne, Dees co-wrote “Where Did We Go Wrong,” a number seven hit for LTD in summer 1980, and “Greatest Love Affair” for Osborne’s 1983 A&M LP Stay With Me Tonight.
Forming his own Pen Pad label, Dees issued his Secret Admirer album in 1988, which yielded the singles “After All” (later issued on RCA) and “Just Wait Until I Get You Home.”
Other Sam Dees-related releases are his own Second to None CD (released July 18, 1995) and Heritage of a Black Man (the title track was originally recorded for but not included on The Show Must Go On) issued September 29, 1998. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi