Although she possessed a voice powerful enough to move mountains, Brenda Reid of the Exciters never really achieved the stardom she deserved. After forming the group with her husband and two friends, the Exciters hit it big in 1962 with their top 5 song, “Tell Him”. A true girl group-classic, the song even inspired soon-to-be superstar Dusty Springfield to give soul music a try. Dusty remembered, “The Exciters sort of got me by the throat…out of the blue comes blasting at you “I know something about love”, and that’s it. That’s what I wanna do.” Later in the 60’s, another singer would find inspiration in Brenda’s soulful voice, as Janis Joplin studied the art of digging deep to muster the powerful emotions it took to really deliver a song.
The Exciters recorded many more singles after “Tell Him”, including high-quality songs like “He’s Got the Power”. Then, in 1964, they became one of many girl groups who were ousted from the charts by the incoming British Invasion that followed the Beatles to America. But unlike most girl groups, the Exciters provided a big boost for one British band, in particular. In 1963, they recorded a song called “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, which failed to climb the charts despite its obvious charms.
Manfred Mann was a struggling British blues band when they recorded a cover of “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” in 1964. They quickly rose to fame in their native UK, and with this cover of the Exciters’ song they reached #1 in the US as well. It was the first in a string of half a dozen hits for the band, and their heartthrob lead singer, Paul Jones, clearly owed a debt to Brenda Reid for his soulful performance.