Ray, Goodman and Brown

Much of the confusion concerning the group’s history came about due to information being tailored by their record label to promote the group in what became its definitive lineup. The original members of The Moments were Mark Greene, Eric Olfus, Sr., Richard Gross, and John Morgan. The group formed in Washington, D.C. in the mid 1960s. In 1965, at Washington DC’s famous Howard University, the Mizell Brothers (Fonce Mizell and Larry Mizell) and Freddie Perren, along with schoolmate Toby Jackson, founded Hog Records and signed the harmony group the Moments. The Moments recorded [“Baby I Want You” and “Pray For Me”][1] under the Hog Records label. The lineup consisted of Eric Olfus, Sr., Richard Gross, and John Morgan. Mark Greene would later join the group after the Hog Records’ 45 release. The group later signed to the newly established Stang Records label set up by Sylvia Robinson at All Platinum Studios in Englewood, New Jersey, run by Sylvia and her husband, Joe Robinson. The group had their first hit almost immediately late in 1968 with “Not On The Outside”, which reached #13 on the R&B chart and #57 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart with Greene handling lead vocal duties on the first chart hit.

The first Stang album release by ‘The Moments’ pictured Brown, Goodman and Morgan on the cover, though various members’ voices existed on the different tracks recorded between 1968 and 1969. Before the original members of The Moments left All Platinum, they recorded their big breakthrough song “Love On A Two Way Street”, which reached 1 on the R&B chart and 3 on the pop chart in the spring of 1970. All Platinum also released a single recorded by Mark Greene, titled “My Confession of Love,” with the flip side, “I’m So Lost” on the Stang Label. The B-side track appeared as a filler song on the first ‘Moments’ album(with Billy Brown’s replacement lead vocal)in 1969, and was released as a single off the album later that year but only saw moderate chart success.

The group quickly scaled down to a trio(some sources credit Greene, Richard Gross aka Richie Horsley and Johnny Moore as comprising this lineup and an old photograph of the three together has surfaced in recent years)but Greene and Gross aka Horsley both left All Platinum in 1969, being replaced by baritone Al Goodman (born 31 March 1947, Jackson,Mississippi) and new lead tenor/baritone singer William “Billy” Brown (born 30 June 1946, Perth AmboyNew Jersey) while Morgan stayed on. Brown had previously been a member of The Broadways, who had recorded on the MGM label. Goodman(after a couple of performing stints with The Corvettes and The Vipers)had been hired by Joe Robinson as a studio production creative assistant/singer/songwriter and on records played the substitute role of ‘Mickey’ (as in Mickey & Sylvia – of whom Sylvia Robinson was formerly one-half).

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