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New mural in downtown Winston-Salem honors The “5" Royales

The group that influenced modern rock and roll got their start in the Twin City.

Multicolored mural on a brick building. Five people are singing in the mural while a person on an orange lift with an umbrella paints.

Group members (from left) Jimmy Moore, Obadiah Carter, Eugene Tanner, Johnny Tanner, and Lowman Pauling are featured in the mural.

Photo by WStoday

A new mural is taking shape on the corner of Trade and 8th streets. The downtown artwork pays tribute to The “5" Royales.

The quintet began as gospel group the Royal Suns in Winston-Salem in 1942. A decade later (and after a few member changes) they sent a demo to Apollo Records. The label wanted a group for rhythm and blues so The “5" Royales was born. Their songs “Baby Don’t Do It” and “Help Me Somebody” topped the charts. The group disbanded in 1964 but their talent lived on — they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.

The Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Public Art Commission put out a call to artists in the southeast last year. The review committee — which included family members of the band — chose Elio Mercado for the job. The artist is from Florida and told WStoday this is his first piece in NC. He hopes to complete it within the next week.

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