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A natural singer, vocalist/actor/drummer Adam Wade was influenced by Jesse Belvin, Johnny Mathis (who bounced out of the gate a few years before Wade), and Nat King Cole. Wade grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and briefly worked as a lab assistant for the famed Dr. Jonas Salk (who invented the vaccine for polio). He moved to New York in 1960 and tasted success instantly. He signed with CoEd Records and sang at the city's most prestigious club, The Copacabana, within six months of setting foot in the Big Apple. Wade scored a modicum of recording success in 1960 with "Ruby" and "I Can't Help It." He fared better in 1961 with three Top Ten singles: "Take Good Care of Her," "The Writing on the Wall," and "As if I Didn't Know." After two albums in 1960 and 1961, he left CoEd to replace Johnny Mathis at Epic. The move all but killed his recording career. He only charted once at Epic with "Crying in the Chapel," which reached number 88. Subsequent efforts failed to make much of an impact, and by 1969, Wade had dropped recording for acting. He found work doing voice-overs, including Sweet Lou Dunbar and Gismo Man on The Harlem Globetrotters Show, and started acting with roles in Wanderlove (1970) and Shaft (1971), followed by roles as Benjy in Comeback Charleston Blues (1972), Gordon's War (1973) playing Hustler, and Crazy Joe in Phantom of the Paradise and Claudine, both released in 1974. In 1976, he became the first African-American to host a national television talk show, Musical Chairs. Wade resurrected his recording career somewhat on Kirshner Records in 1978; this time he went for a funkier sound. On Kirshner, he recorded "Alexander's Soul Time Band," among others. In 1978, he played in an all-Black cast of Guys and Dolls in Las Vegas for six months. He returned to acting in 1982 with Kiss Me Goodbye, in which he played Roscoe, and worked quietly behind the scenes thereafter. Several years after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Adam Wade died in Montclair, New Jersey at the age of 87. ~ Andrew Hamilton, Rovi
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