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The Chi-LitesOne of the most popular smooth soul groups of the early '70s didn't hail from Philadelphia or Memphis, the two cities known for sweet, string-laden soul. Instead, The Chi-Lites were from Chicago, a town better known for its gritty urban blues and driving R&B. Led by vocalist Eugene Record, The Chi-Lites had a lush, creamy sound distinguished by their four-part harmonies and layered productions. During the early '70s, they racked up 11 Top Ten R&B singles, ranging from the romantic ballads "Have You Seen Her" and "Oh Girl" to protest songs like "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People" and "There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table)." All the songs featured Record's warm, pleading tenor and falsetto, and the majority of the group's hits were written by Record, often in collaboration with other songwriters like Barbara Acklin.

The Chi-Lites had been around for nearly a decade before they finally had a hit in the late '60s. Eugene Record, Robert Lester, and Clarence Johnson formed the doo wop group the Chanteurs in the late '50s, and they released one single on Renee Records in 1959. Shortly afterward, Creadel "Red" Jones and Marshall Thompson, who had sung with the Desideros, teamed with the trio to form the Hi-Lites. Over the next four years, the Hi-Lites released a number of singles on local labels. In 1964, they changed their name to Marshall & The Chi-Lites, adding the "C" as tribute to their hometown Chicago. By the end of the year, Johnson left the group and the remaining quartet truncated their name to The Chi-Lites. Over the next four years, the group continued to perform and release independent singles, with Record slowly emerging as the group's lead singer, songwriter, and producer.

In 1968, The Chi-Lites signed with the large Chicago indie label Brunswick Records, and early the following year "Give It Away" became their first national hit single, reaching number ten on the R&B charts. Despite the moderate success of "Let Me Be the Man My Daddy Was," the group wasn't able to deliver another big hit until "Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)" climbed into the R&B Top Ten in early 1971, beginning a string of ten Top Ten hits that ran intermittently over the next four years. The follow-up to "Are You My Woman?," "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People," was their first pop hit, setting the stage for a pair of slow, soulful ballads, "Have You Seen Her" and "Oh Girl," which both reached number one on the R&B charts; the latter was a number-one pop hit, as well. in the spring of 1972.

Shortly after the release of the hit "Stoned Out of My Mind," The Chi-Lites began to splinter in 1973, when Jones left the group and was replaced by Stanley Anderson, who was quickly replaced by Willie Kensey. The revamped lineup had three Top Ten R&B hits -- "Homely Girl," "There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table)," and "Toby" -- before they replaced Kensey with Doc Roberson. Shortly afterward, Brunswick became involved in serious financial problems, which prevented the label from promoting the group's record. Frustrated, Record left the band to become a solo recording artist for Warner Bros. The remaining trio, augmented by David Scott and Danny Johnson (who was replaced by Vandy Hampton in 1977), signed with Mercury, but none of their singles were hits.

All Music Guide

The Brunswick Catalog

The Chi-Lites
Ain't Too Much Of Nothing
Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)
Being In Love
Coldest Days Of My Life, The
Devil Is Doing His Work, The
(For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People
Give It Away
Happiness Is Your Middle Name
Have You Seen Her
Here I Am
Homely Girl
I Found Sunshine
I Had It So Good
I Heard It Through The Grapevine
I Like Your Lovin' (Do You Like Mine)
I Want To Pay You Back (For Lovin' Me)
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
I'm Not A Gambler
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
It's Time For Love
Just Two Teenage Kids
Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was
Letter To Myself, A
Living In The Footsteps Of Another Man
Lonely Man, A
Love Comes In All Sizes
Love Is
Love Is Gone
Love Me
Love Uprising
Man And The Woman (The Boy And The Girl), The
Marriage License
My Heart Keeps On Breaking
My Whole World Ended
Oh Girl
Power Of My Baby
Sally
Shy
Someone Else's Arms
Stoned Out Of My Mind
That's How Long
That's My Baby For You
There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated At The Conference Table)
To Change My Love
Too Good To Be Forgotten
Too Late To Turn Back Now
Trouble's A-Comin'
12th Of Never, The
24 Hours Of Sadness
(Um Um) My Baby Loves Me
We Are Neighbors
We Need Order
What Do I Wish For
Yes I'm Ready (If I Don't Get To Go)
You Don't Have To Go
You Got Me Walkin'
You Got To Be The One
You Smiled The Same Old Way
You're No Longer A Part Of My Heart

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

The Chi-Lites

 

 

 



 

 

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