Founded in Richmond, Kentucky in 1963 by a group of high school students, The Exiles began playing local clubs, before touring with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars as a backup to major rock artists and as an opening act. In 1973, the band shortened their name to just “Exile” and released their debut album. Although the singles were met with little success and it would be another five years before they released a full-length follow-up album, the group did eventually find their niche and were met with success. Their 1977 single “Try It On” became a minor hit and was followed by their first Number One hit, “Kiss You All Over,” which soared to the top of the U.S. charts.
It was in the 80s that the band really took stride, however, moving into the country music genre and releasing more Number One singles like “Woke Up in Love,” “I Don’t Want to Be a Memory,” “She’s a Miracle,” “It’ll Be Me,” “She’s Too Good to Be True” and “I Can’t Get Close Enough.”
In the late 80s, they received eleven nominations for Vocal and Instrumental Group of the Year from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association.
In 1985, their lead singer and co-founder Jimmy Stokley passed away from hepatitis. In the 90s, the band went through a series of lineup changes before playing farewell concerts, including one at the Grand Ole Opry House. In 1995, two of the members resurrected the name Exile and began playing at a regular basis with their band.