Winston-Salem music legend who influenced history of R&B honored

Roy's Folks

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The house on the corner of Rich Avenue and E.12th St. was once the gathering place for music royalty.

“Sam Cook, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, James Brown,” are just some of the people Lowman Donald Pauling remembers coming to visit his dad, Lowman Pauling, and his band the ‘5 Royales.’

“They were R&B before there was R&B,” Lowman’s son said.

In the 1950s, the ‘5 Royales’ had a string of hit records.

Like many in their day, they started out in gospel and went to the Apollo where they were encouraged to play secular music.

Lowman Pauling was a self-taught and gifted musician, and his style would rock the music industry. He wrote hundreds of songs with one of his best known, ‘Dedicated to the One I Love,’ being influenced by his wife Ellis.

“He wrote it on the back of an envelope,” Lowman’s son said. “When she heard it, he said this is for you.”

Pauling passed away in 1973 at the age of 47, but his impact on the music industry was recognized when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

The City of Winston-Salem honored the group with a star on their walk of fame and even named a street after the group.

In 2019, a historical marker was unveiled in front of Lowman’s home.

“It’s kind of sad that more people don’t know the history of the group,” he said.

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