William DeVaughn was working as a Government employee in the capacity of a drafting technician when he managed to put together $900 to develop "Be Thankful For What you Got" which he wrote in 1972.
He payed this money to Omega Sound (which was a Philadelphia Production House) and an arrangement was made and sent to be recorded at Sigma Sound Studio - a session which featured many members of no other than MFSB's rhythm section.
Frank Fioravanti, the Omega vice-president liked the record and began looking for interested parties.
In the end, it was Roxbury that released the record with Fioravanti as producer and John Davis working as arranger.
On release it sold close to 2 million copies, making it all the way to the top of the R&B Charts and #4 in the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring on 1974.
Initially when the record was first heard, many people thought it was a new release by an artist with a similar vocal delivery to DeVaughn's - Curtis Mayfield. Indeed other comparisons could also be drawn such as the positive message contained in the music.
The song received a lot of airplay, and DeVaughn (himself a devout Jehovah's Witness) could hear his record played even on gospel stations.
After the initial success he was able to leave behind his government job and work on an album to put out.
Just looking at the names of some of the album tracks such as "We Are His Children" one could be forgiven for thinking it was actually a gospel LP.
The second single "Blood Is Thicker Than Water" managed to get to #10 on the R&B Charts and #43 on the Pop Charts the summer of '74.
When performing his music, he could often be seen speaking and preaching to his audience members. Perhaps it is not suprising that he stepped away from music afterwards and returned to regular jobs such as being a draftsman and working in a record store.
He returned in the new decade and in 1980 released the album "Figures Can't Calculate" on TEC Records, with the song of the same name being a minor R&B hit.
A remake of "Be Thankful For What You Got" was also made with a disco sound. Both versions of the song are played on soul radio stations to this day.