R.B. Greaves

Ronald Bertram Aloysius "R. B." Greaves III (November 28, 1943 - September 27, 2012) was an American singer who had chart success in 1969 with the pop single "Take a Letter Maria". A number two hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, this single sold one million copies, and it earned gold record certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Greaves also had a Top 40 pop hit one year later with "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me".


Greaves was born in 1943 on the U.S. Army Air Forces base at Georgetown, Guyana. A nephew of Sam Cooke, he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation in the United States, but he moved to England in 1963. Greaves had built a career both in the Caribbean and in the UK, where he performed under the name Sonny Childe with his group The TNTs. His debut recording "Take a Letter Maria", released under the name R.B. Greaves, had been recorded by both Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder before the author recorded it himself at the insistence of the president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Erteg√ľn, who produced it. The song is the story of a man who had learned of his wife's infidelity the night before, and then dictates a letter of separation to Maria, his secretary. This song has a distinct Latino flavor, complete with a mariachi-style horn section.
The record stayed in the Billboard chart for 15 weeks in the United States, selling a million copies. It received gold record certification from the R.I.A.A. on December 11, 1969. By 1970, sales of this song totalled 2.5 million.
Greaves recorded a series of cover versions as follow-ups, including Burt Bacharach's and Hal David's "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" and Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale". Greaves left the label in the 1970s in favor of Bareback Records, and then signed to Sunflower Records. His only chart release for the latter label was "Margie, Who's Watching the Baby". Greaves died from prostate cancer, in Granada Hills, California, on September 27, 2012 at the age of 68.
R.B. Greaves
Birth nameRonald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III
BornNovember 28, 1943[1]
Georgetown, Guyana
OriginGeorgetown, Guyana, but a native-born U.S. citizen
DiedSeptember 27, 2012 (aged 68)
Granada Hills, California
GenresPop music
Years active1969 - 70s
LabelsAtco Records, Bareback,Sunflower Records
Associated actsSam Cooke