Beat R&B vocalist Jimmy James was born Michael James on September 13, 1940, and grew up in Jamaica. He started performing American soul music in the late '50s. As a solo artist, he notched two number one records in Jamaica as Jimmy James on Tip Top Records: "Bewildered and Blue" and "Come to Me Softly" (the latter reached number 70 in the States). After the two solo smashes, one of Jamaica's most popular bands, the Vagabonds, approached him; they needed a lead singer and Jimmy was hot. James agreed to work with the band, and Jimmy James & the Vagabonds formed in 1960. They found steady work at the Marquee Club in London, where the British clamored to hear their bag of American soul music. The Northern soul boom was still seeding, and American soul singers rarely came to England, so Jimmy James & the Vagabonds filled a void. The Vagabonds were Rupert Balgobin (drums), Phillip Chen (rhythm guitar), Coleson Chen (bass), Wallace Wilson (lead guitar), Carl Noel (organ), Carl Griffiths & Fred Fredericks (sax), and the focal point, next to Jimmy, Count Prince Miller, a crowd-pleaser who got the audience involved in the show.