e came from a town in Kentucky with a population under 10,000," said guitarist Jimmy Stokely. "Back in '63, we had hair to our shoulders and beards, and played rock'n'roll. The townspeople tended to regard us as outcasts -- or 'exiles.' When we'd walk down the street, people would point at us, and laugh at us. Sometimes, they'd throw things at us."
In the early sixties, Exile was a local band in the strictest sense -- they'd never played more than thirty miles from home. Their music was in a soul/R&B vain, with leader Stokely in a James Brown/Wilson Pickett bag. Over the next decade, though, the group toured endlessly, cutting hundreds of flop singles for dozens of obscure labels. It seemed like they'd never get a break and then...
"He sent us this song he had written on a demo he had made himself. We fell in love with it, you know. We recorded it along with the rest of our first LP for Warner-Curb. It was our consensus, as well as his and others, that it should be the single.
"We made it quite a bit funkier than he had it, you know. His demo was just two guitars, bass, one vocal, and a drum machine. You can't get very funky with that. He gave us his tape, and said, 'Do with it what you feel best. Put your own pieces into it; I'll come back and take a listen.' He did, and said, 'I like it.'"
"Kiss You All Over" broke onto the charts in July 1978, but didn't reach the top until October. It remained America's favorite record for four weeks, and stayed on the best-seller list for nearly six months.
"We were in the offices of Warner-Curb when we heard it had gone all the way," said Jimmy. "We all almost fainted. It was very -- well, after fifteen years, there were a few tears rolling, you know. We were shocked, just really blown away. We thought 'Kiss You All Over' would probably make the charts, but we had no idea that it would go to number one. We're just very lucky, very thankful."
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