Charles Wright was born in Clarksdale, Mississippi, where he grew up and was musically inclined by playing the guitar and singing in several doo-wop groups, including, The Twilighters, The Shield, and The Gallahads. Wright briefly worked as A&R Director for Del-Fi Records and was responsible for the hit recording of “Those Oldies But Goodies (Remind Me of You)” by Little Caesar and the Romans in 1961. By 1964, Wright formed his own band called Charles Wright & the Wright Sounds, which included John Raynford, and Daryl Dragon, the “Captain” of Captain & Tennille.
Wright added more members to the group and they became known as the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and they played in several venues across Los Angeles. In the 1970s the band was best known for their world renowned hit, “Express Yourself.” It was written by Wright and distributed by Warner Bros.™, where it would hit #3 and #12 on the R&B and Pop charts, respectively. Another hit record under Wright’s reign was Do Your Thing, which set the stage for a 1970s pornographic study of Boogie Nights.
To date, Wright’s songs have been covered by legendary artists around the globe, including: Ray Charles, Les McCann, Della Reese, Roger Troutman & Zapp, The Ohio Players, and the Swiss Lon Genes Symphony Orchestra. During the rise of Hip-Hop in the 1980s, many rap artists sampled chunks of funk from Wright’s wax, including N.W.A. and their smash track, “Express Yourself.” Brand Nubian Funk, Naughty By Nature, Gang Starr, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs also gleaned inspiration from Wright’s work.