Famed Northern soul singer DEAN PARRISH died on Tuesday June 8th. Right now, few details are available, save that Dean was 79.
Dean was born Phil Anastasia in Brooklyn and worked the local music scene using first his given name and then “Dean Parrish”. His biggest hit was ‘I’m On My Way’ but he also enjoyed some success with his version of ‘Tell Her’ and ‘Bricks, Bottles and Sticks’. By the late 60s, though, his career had stalled – till the Northern soul scene discovered ‘I’m On My Way’. That evergreen slice of proto blue-eyed soul became a Wigan Casino staple. It’s place in music history secured by being one of the famous “3 at 8” closing tunes and, indeed, it was last record ever played before the wrecking crew got their hands and machines on that hallowed old venue. So yes, Dean Parrish was a proper Northern soul icon… legend even! He regularly toured the UK and Europe and was honoured in 2008 with a BBC special, ‘I’m On My Way – The Dean Parrish Story.’ When not touring on the back of ‘I’m On My Way’, Parrish worked in movies and TV dramas – most famously in ‘The Sopranos’.
Earlier this year, almost out of the blue, Acid Jazz Records issued Dean’s oddly named ‘It’s Time – Purple Mountain Majesty’ – a tune very different to ‘I’m On My Way’. Acid Jazz’s Eddie Piller called it “a towering slice of psychedelic soul, that references the work of Norman Whitfield and like those records, comes with a powerful message.” Eddie added that he thinks its Parrish’s best record ever. Devoted Casino-goers would, I’m sure, disagree.