Major Lance (April 4, 1939), 1941 or 1942 – September 3, 1994 was an American R&B singer. After a number of US hits in the 1960s, including “The Monkey Time” and “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um”, he became an iconic figure in Britain in the 1970s among followers of Northern soul. Although he stopped making records in 1982, Major Lance continued to perform at concerts and on tours until his death in 1994.
“Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um” is a song, written by Curtis Mayfield. The first recording to be released was by Major Lance, as a single in December 1963, produced by Okeh label president Carl Davis. The song was Major Lance’s third release to make the Billboard Hot 100 and his most successful hit with a #5 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1964 with a #1 peak on the Cash Box R&B chart (Billboard did not run an R&B chart November 1963-January 1965). In the UK it reached #40, Lance’s only UK chart appearance. The song would become a major UK hit in the autumn of 1964 via a rendition by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders which reached #5. A French rendering entitled “Hum, hum, hum” had been recorded by Frank Alamo and charted in France in early 1965 with a chart peak of #6.
Johnny Rivers remade the song for his 1977 album Outside Help from which it was issued as the follow-up single to the Top Ten hit “Swayin’ to the Music (Slow Dancing)”: Rivers’ version renamed the song “Curious Mind” after a lyric in the second verse, the full title of the Rivers’ version being “Curious Mind (Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um)”. “Curious Mind…” was heavily supported by easy-listening radio with a February 1978 peak of #4 on the Easy Listening chart in “Billboard” and almost afforded Rivers’ a Top 40 hit with a #41 peak on the “Billboard” Hot 100 where it would be Rivers’ final charting. In Canada, Rivers reached number 33 with the song.