Known for his innovative
vocals on such classics as "Watching You" and "Just A Touch of
Love," with Slave, as well as, his solo work like "Weak at the
Knees" and "Nobody Can Be You", his songs have been sampled by
the likes of Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Snoop, LL
Cool J, Mariah Carey, and N.W.A. His music also helped create the blueprint of
90s west coast g-funk music along with Zapp and George Clinton. In 2000, Steve won a Grammy via participation for the Hit Single, “Money Ain’t A Thang”, performed by Jay Z and Jermaine Dupri (utilizing a sample of Steve’s hit “Weak At The Knees’’).
Music has always been part of Steve Arrington's life. Born in 1956, to
Dan and Lillian Arrington, in Great Lakes, Illinois, the family soon
returned to their hometown of Dayton, Ohio; where Steve grew up
listening to the music his family played on the radio and record
player. (Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye were in heavy rotation back in
the day.) Before he could read, he could identify the requested record
by the colors on the label and operate the record player. By age, five
he was playing drums on pots and pans. When he was about seven years
old, his grandparents bought him his first drum set, a blue sparkle set
By age, thirteen, Steve regularly played in the Dayton Battle of the
Bands and various talent shows, very serious business in Dayton at that
time. In addition, about this time, he began gigging regularly with
various bands in the Dayton area. One band, the Soul Illusions and
Eluders, opened for major acts such as, Spider Turner, The Five Stair
Steps, Irma Franklin, Rufus Thomas, and Jerry Butler, at the Lakeview
Palladium, once a great Dayton venue. By his senior year in high
school, he played with a band called the Young Mystics, of whom several
members became the original members of Slave.
In 1975, Steve and friend Victor Godsey, (later the keyboard player for
Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame), began touring the states with a lounge
band called The Murphy's. In 1977, Steve went to California studied
Latin percussion and drumming with Coke Escovedo and played drums with
Pete and Sheila Escovedo, (also known as Sheila E.) He did a tour
with the Salsa West Coast Latin All Stars, led by the Escovedos, featuring
Carlos Santana on guitar.
He returned to Dayton in 1978, to join the gold record winning funk
group Slave, as drummer and later as lead singer for five albums
(The Concept, and Just A Touch Of Love,
Stone Jam, and Showtime).
In 1982, he formed the innovative funk band, Steve Arrington's Hall of
Fame for two albums, Hall Of Fame I (1983) and Positive Power (1984). Band members
included Charles (Cedell) Carter on saxes and keyboards, Arthur Rhaimes
on guitar, Roger Parker (Dodge) on drums, Sam Carter on keyboards,
Hankerson on bass guitar, Gary Jackson on percussion, and Victor Bruce
Godsey on keyboards,
1984, was the turning point of Steve's life. While recording what would become "Positive Power", in New
York City, he took a break and went for a walk. Near Time Square, he
saw a man carrying and wearing signs that said, "Jesus is coming."
Then and there, Jesus became his Savior and Lord.
Steve embarked on his solo career and did three albums, Dancin In The Key Of Life (1985), The Jammin National Anthem (1986) and Jam Packed (1987).
“Dancin In The Key”, spent three weeks at #2 on the dance charts, while, “Feel So Real’’ reached #6 on the UK Singles Chart. 1986, also, included the very successful "Dancin in the Key of Life," European Tour, an appearance on Pat Boone's Gospel Gold show on TBN and nomination for the 1986 NAACP Image Award for Male Artist of the Year. According to music editor, Scott Galloway, Steve's solo album,
"Dancin in the Key of Life", paved the road for groups such as Sounds
of Blackness and Be Be and Ce Ce Winans to walk the line between gospel
and secular soul.
Steve was keynote speaker at the People of His Presence
International Praise and Worship Conference, with Rev. Derwin Ward,
Martha Munizzi and Vicki Yohe. He was keynote speaker and taught at
several Tri-State Praise and Worship Conferences in Cincinnati, Oh. He
also played drums on "Let's Have Church" and "I Give You Jesus", from
the Evangelist Network Video Series, with executive producer Don
Gessner. In December 2005, Steve played drums for the Hope For
The Nations Tour to Cardiff, Wales, London, England and Amsterdam,
Holland. In 2007, Steve traveled to Matagalpa, Nicaragua, and some surrounding villages, where he was able to minister and spend time with the band, Esperonza.
time, Steve continued to study different genres of music, from gospel to jazz,
classical to blues, electronic to world music, and Latin to hip hop. This
fusion of spirituality and musical study resulted in the 2009 self released
Pure Thang, Steve's first album in over 20 years. In it, you hear the
discovery of new ideas mixed with the musical legacy of those that came before
This led to modern funk artist, Dam-Funk, reaching out to
Steve to propose collaborating on some music which lead to Steve signing to Stones Throw Records.
Currently Steve is touring with a new band, as well as,
doing dates with artists like Public Enemy, DJ Quik and Q Tip, who are more than up for the
idea of sharing the stage with someone who influenced and inspired their