When you ask Beach Music fans for their opinions, it is likely that their answers will be many and varied. However, there are two issues on which everyone agrees:
The greatest of the seminal “Carolina Beach Music” bands?
The finest, most influential voice of that era…. (or any era)?
Jackie Gore…….. Without a doubt!
In 1958, at the age of 16, Jackie Gore and Bobby Tomlinson started a band that later became known as The Embers. They started out playing frat parties and small clubs in the Raleigh area. As the band grew tighter, the crowds grew larger, and the word began to spread. Bear in mind that this was a group of white teenage boys playing black music in the early sixties! Well, things began to snowball…. By 1965 they had opened the first Embers Club in Raleigh and it was “the place to be”… By 1968 they had a second club in Atlantic Beach, NC, and it too was enjoying unprecedented success. It was about this time that radio audiences nationwide first heard Jackie’s voice on the hit record “Far Away Places”. This was truly a “magical” time for Jackie and The Embers. There are some who feel that the Embers’ clubs and Jackie Gore in particular may be “ground zero” for Carolina Beach Music.
In 1979, Jackie wrote the Beach Music anthem and biggest Beach Music record of all time “I Love Beach Music”….This song propelled The Embers through the Landmark Hotel era into the Budweiser years. Jeff Grimes was living and performing in Miami, Fla. during those years and says that he heard “I Love Budweiser” on the radio several times per day and was filled with pride each time because The Embers were friends of his . “I Love Beach Music” was and still is a huge hit. There are literally thousands of people (perhaps even millions) across the country that sing along when they hear this song.
In 1994, sadly, The Embers experienced a “parting of the ways”. Who knows why these things happen?….. Soon afterward, Jackie moved to Pawleys Island, SC and left the high-profile lifestyle. The “band business” had lost its charm so he spent the next few years developing a quite successful solo career. In 2004 Jackie began to re-emerge with a quartet called Jackie Gore and the Allstars. They played many jobs to critical acclaim. Despite being a part-time band, “The Allstars” proved to be a great association for Jackie, and he was quite happy there. However, in 2007, Jackie, Gerald Davis, and Johnny Barker began discussing the possibility of putting the ‘Old” Embers back together. The temptation was too great to resist…and “The Legends of Beach” were born.
Suffice to say that while Jackie may have been out of the limelight for awhile, the list of younger musicians and singers that admire his talent and count him among the “greatest”, has continued to grow. Careers have been launched “standing on Jackie’s shoulders”.
And to his many fans and friends, Jackie Gore is back……and not a minute to soon….