Ohio Players' James 'Diamond' Williams talks about the 'Love Rollercoaster' scream, old-school funk and more
The Ohio Players may be best known for their 1975 hit Love Rollercoaster, a song that spawned an enduring urban legend: At around the 2:30 mark of the song, the story goes, you can supposedly hear the scream of a woman being stabbed to death.
"The mystery helped sell a lot of records," said James "Diamond" Williams, the Ohio Players' original drummer. "We thought about screaming in some of our other records."
Instead, the Ohio Players have pressed forward through the decades, bringing a legacy of funk and R&B to new generations of fans -- like the ones they'll play for at Saturday's Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival at Curtis Hixon Park in Tampa.
"We've been blessed to create something that reminds people of certain times and instances," Williams said. "People remember hearing the siren in Fire and pulling over in their cars because they thought that meant the law was after them.
"Hearing it again brings back those same memories. And it does the same with us."
For more of Ernest Hooper's interview with Williams, and for more on the Tampa Bay Black heritage Festival, click here.