In 1963, while still in high school J.P. Pennington, Buzz Cornelison and Jimmy Stokley started a band in Richmond, Kentucky. Catching the wave of the sixties, they grew long hair, wore funky clothing and played rock 'n roll music. They called themselves THE EXILES.
1965 Dick Clark Caravan of Stars with Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Sam the Sham and The Pharaohs, The Yardbirds, Bobby Hebb, Brian Hyland, Jimmy Clanton, The Distant Cousins, Dale Wright & The Wirght Guys and Jimmy Stokely & The Exiles
The Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars hit the road in 1965 and picked up THE EXILES to perform on several dates in and around Kentucky. They continued touring nationally with the Caravan of Stars through '68 opening the show and providing backup for headlining superstars like Freddie Cannon, B.J. Thomas and others. During their time with the "Caravan of Stars" tour, Clark gave them an added bonus, a piece of advice: "Don't ever forget your audience," Clark preached. The boys adopted Dick Clark's advice as their creed.
In the late '60s they recorded for Date Records and Columbia Records, and in the early '70s for SSS International, Date, Curb and Wooden Nickel. With the help of Cecil Jones of Lemco Sound Studios in Lexington, the Exiles developed and polished their sound. The band changed musical styles throughout the mid-sixties and, in 1976, changed their base of operations to Lexington, KY. They shortened the name to EXILE. Regional hit records such as "Devil's Bite" and "Church Street Soul Revival" (written and produced by Tommy James) came easily as the band became a Kentucky tradition.
In 1976 Exile met Mike Chapman, an Australian who had established himself as a record producer in England. He had come to the United States to find an experienced group who wrote their own material. Chapman heard a demo and went to Exile's next show. The first Exile/Chapman collaboration contained the "magic ingredient" required for success. This combination produced the Mixed Emotions album on Warner/Curb, the source of "Kiss You All Over," which remained on the pop music charts for 23 weeks, holding the No. 1 spot for a solid month. "Kiss You All Over" broke onto the charts in July 1978, but didn't reach the top until September. It remained America's favorite record for four weeks, and stayed on the best-seller list for nearly six months. Their follow up single, "You Thrill Me," also from this album, went Top 40 as well. The band had finally hit pay dirt with the #1 pop smash, and hit the road touring with Aerosmith, Heart, Dave Mason, Boston, Seals & Crofts and other hot pop acts of the late seventies throughout the U.S., Europe and Africa.