published Friday, February 11th, 2011

Exile promises steamy 'Kiss,' lots of 'Love'

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    Exile features Marlon Hargis (keyboards), Les Taylor (guitar/vocals), Sonny LeMaire (bass/vocals), J.P. Pennington (guitar/lead vocals) and Steve Goetzman (drums).

A band with a single on Billboard's Top 10 list of the 50 Sexiest Songs of All Time should be a no-brainer for a Valentine's date.

That 1978 pop-rock ballad, "Kiss You All Over," was followed by a string of country hits in the 1980s. These were sweeter songs, lacking the get-a-room urgency of "Kiss," but they were no less heartfelt. Ten, including "Woke Up in Love" and "Crazy for Your Love," hit No. 1.

Exile, the band responsible for all these love cravings, will perform two shows Sunday at the Lower Level (formerly the Governor's Lounge).

Danny Howard, director of programming for Bahakel Communications' WUUQ-FM, said the booking was a natural fit for Classic Country 97.3/99.3.

"Everyone remembers all the Exile hits and all the fun times they had at the old Governor's site," he said of the band's and the club's 1980s heyday.

The love's not lost on the band. On their website, the musicians say they are proud of the fact they still get along after all these years. They formed in Kentucky as The Exiles in 1963. Club dates led to touring with Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars, opening shows and providing backup for major rock artists of the period.

Their biggest success was the smoldering "Kiss." At No. 9 on the Sexiest Songs chart, it tops five decades' worth of rock, soul, R&B and hip-hop options ranging from steamy slow-burns to rowdy call-outs.

With only minor pop success after "Kiss," Exile re-established in 1983 as a country band and enjoyed chart success through 1991.

In 2008, all five members of the band's original country incarnation -- J.P. Pennington, Sonny LeMaire, Les Taylor, Steve Goetzman and Marlon Hargis -- reunited for a charity concert. An EP of new work and tour dates followed.

Contact Lisa Denton at ldenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6281.

Exile No. 1s

* "Woke Up in Love"

* "I Don't Want To Be a Memory"

* "Give Me One More Chance"

* "Crazy for Your Love"

* "She's a Miracle"

* "Hang On to Your Heart"

* "I Could Get Used to You"

* "It'll Be Me"

* "She's Too Good To Be True"

* "I Can't Get Close Enough"

Source: "All Music Guide to Country"

IF YOU GO

* What: Exile in concert.

* When: 5 and 9 p.m. Sunday.

* Where: Lower Level (formerly Governor's), 4251 Bonny Oaks Drive.

* Admission: $15.

* Phone: 505-4390, 624-0808.

DID YOU KNOW?

Founder J.P. Pennington, one of BMI's Top 100 Songwriters of the Century, wrote or co-wrote many of Exile's songs. Several were covered by other artists, including "The Closer You Get" and "Take Me Down" by Alabama, "It Ain't Easy Bein' Easy" by Janie Fricke and "Just in Case" by the Forester Sisters.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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