The origin of one of the most popular and influential groups of the sixties and seventies, “The Classics IV”, began very humbly when a young drummer from Detroit by the name of Dennis Yost moved to Jacksonville, Florida in the late fifties and formed a band with a few high school classmates called “The Echoes”. After minimum local success, the group disbanded within a few years. Dennis Yost then joined a band named “Leroy and the Moments”. This group consisted of Wally Eaton (Bass/Vocals), James R.(JR) Cobb (Guitar), and Joe Wilson (Keyboards). Soon afterward, the group changed their name to “The Classics” due to the fact that Dennis Yost, the new drummer, played a classic model drum kit.
By 1965, Wilson was replaced on keyboard by Dean Doughtry. The band recorded a song written by Joe South entitled “Pollyanna” which became a regional hit record. The group soon learned that another group from New York City also named “The Classics” had already had a small measure of recording success with a song entitled “Till Then”. It was evident to the group that they had to change their name, so they immediately changed it to “The Four Classics” and eventually “The Classics IV”. When lead singer and drummer Dennis Yost moved to the front of stage he was replaced by Kim Venable.
“The Classics IV”, through the Lowery Music Group of Atlanta, Georgia, signed with Capitol Records and in 1968 their recoding of “Spooky”, originally an instrumental song to which J.R. Cobb and Buddy Buie added lyrics and with Dennis Yost’s unique solo voice, skyrocketed to the top the music charts.
The next release, “Stormy”, also became a hit and shortly afterward “Traces Of Love” made it to number two on the Billboard music charts solidifying the “Classics IV” as a Pop, Rock, and a new developing style of music pioneer – Southern rock group.
A few more hits soon came along such as “Every Day With You Girl” and “What Am I Crying For”. Through the years the group compiled a total of 16 Billboard chart hits. During those years the complexion and personnel of The Classics IV was ever changing. The one constant was Dennis Yost. Dennis continued recording and touring throughout the next several years to enthusiastic fans worldwide, eventually relocating in Nashville, Tennessee in 1993, where he added record producing to his many accomplishments.
In 2006, Dennis Yost suffered a near fatal injury in an accident at his home and spent several months in a coma. Keeping the legendary songs of “The Classics IV” alive today is Tom Garrett, Dennis Yost’s hand picked successor to replace him. Garrett, joined by extremely talented musicians Kevin Lloyd-Bass, Tim Ridgeway-Drums, Joe Sadler-Guitar, Jim Yoder-Keyboards, and Garard Montague-Sax/Flute, is carrying on the tradition of bringing those wonderful “Classics IV” hit songs to life again. In addition, their audiences are entertained with their good humor and captivating personalities.
Though he had improved greatly over the two year period since his accident, Sadly, Dennis Yost passed away on December 7, 2008. Dennis may be gone but not forgotten as The Classics IV, the group, his life’s work, moves forward, at his request and in his honor.
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