Vintage Video: Carla Thomas Sings "Gee Whiz" on "Where the Action Is"

Today is Carla Thomas' 73rd birthday.

Known as the Queen of Memphis Soul, Thomas was born in the city, the daughter of vaudeville performer, DJ and future hitmaker Rufus Thomas and his wife Cornelia. At the age of ten, she started performing with WDIA's Teen Town Singers.

Carla released her first single, Cause I Love You, a duet with her father, in 1960 but it was her second release, Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes) that became her first and biggest hits. The record went to number 10 on the Hot 100 and 5 on the R&B singles.

She followed over the next fourteen years with over twenty more charting records including B-A-B-Y (1966 / #14 Pop / #3 R&B), Tramp (1967 / #26 Pop / #2 R&B) and Knock on Wood (1967 / #30 Pop / #8 R&B), the last two with Otis Redding.

Here she is on the September 22, 1966 edition of Where the Action Is singing her signature song.


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