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One of D.C.’s legendary voices of classic soul and R&B has been silenced.

Joe Blunt, a lifelong resident of the Washington D.C. metro area, died Tuesday, March 26th, at his home in Temple Hills, MD. He was 74 years old.

During his decade (1975-1985) as one of the lead singers of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame group The Drifters, Blunt was privileged to perform alongside the legendary Ben E. King (Stand By Me) and the great Johnny Moore (Under The Boardwalk). During this period, The Drifters experienced a significant career resurgence, especially in England, where the group returned to the top of the charts with several top 10 hits, major tours, and media appearances. Blunt was featured as lead singer on several of The Drifters album tracks released during that period.

Joe received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from Sony Music for his service to the music industry as a member of The Drifters on the Bell/Arista Record labels.  Sony Music also awarded Blunt a Gold Disc for his contributions to the compilation CD, “The Drifters: The Very Best Of,” certified Gold in the U.K. The award was presented at a special concert featuring the Drifters Legends (consisting of Blunt and other former Drifters) at the O2 Arena in London, England.

After ten years of continuous television appearances, recording sessions, and major concert tours around the world which took him away from his family for months at a time, Blunt retired from The Drifters and returned to his musical roots as a gospel music performer in D.C.

Joe joined Alfred Street Baptist Church where he remained a member for over three decades, and sang with multiple choirs. He also pursued a passion for acting in various theatrical productions in and around the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan area.

Blunt went on to reunite with his childhood friends Glenn Leonard (formerly of the Temptations) and singer/songwriter/theatrical producer Joe Coleman to perform as “Leonard, Coleman and Blunt”. He waw also be a founding member of  the hugely successful vocal trio “Voices Of Classic Soul.  The group toured extensively all across the country and made dozens of media appearances, with Blunt singing lead on crowd-pleasing Drifters classics, including “Under The Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” “On Broadway,” “Up On The Roof,” and King’s “Stand By Me.”   Blunt retired from performing in 2023.

“Joe Blunt was a lifelong friend. We began singing together in the junior choir at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in D.C. when I was about eight and Joe was five. We’ve been all over several continents together. The world has lost a wonderful voice and a great man, and I’ve lost my best friend,” said Joe Coleman.

Longtime Voices Of Classic Soul manager Burke Allen said of Blunt, “Joe was the epitome of cool and class. His vocals and his demeanor were always smooth as silk. He had a terrific, dry sense of humor and was always able to deliver. Working with him all these years was an honor and privilege; the world is a better place because Joe Blunt was in it.”

Joe Blunt began his professional singing career while still a student at D.C.’s McKinley Tech High School, signing his first recording contract with Cap City Records as a member of the R&B vocal group The Chancellors (which also included future Temptations member Glenn Leonard). Joe was the lead singer on the group’s 1968 debut single,” Sad Avenue.”

Although the group eventually disbanded, Blunt and Leonard continued their quest for stardom with the formation of a popular local group called the “True Reflection,” (with Joe Coleman and Bobby Cox), whose 1973 debut album on Atlantic Records, “Where I’m Coming From,” has become a collector’s item among soul music fans all over the world. The album utilized many musicians and arrangers who popularized “The Sound of Philadelphia,” which greatly influenced the Soul/R&B music of that era. Several samples from the album appear on popular hip-hop tracks by 50 Cent, 2 Chainz and Jadakiss, G Unit, and others.

True Reflection toured the U.S. and Canada with many of the popular acts of the 1970s—Al Green, The Ojays, The Isley Brothers, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and The Dramatics, to name a few—and even performed on the popular national TV show Soul Train. The group, however, may be best remembered as producing a future member of The Temptations, a member of The Platters, and, in 1975, Joe Blunt became a member of the legendary Drifters.

Joe Blunt is survived by his wife of 47 years, Paula, and sons, Darren, Brian and Joshua, an extended family, and music fans worldwide. Funeral services for Mr. Blunt have not been finalized at this time.

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