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The Chi-Lites Biography

The Chi-Lites Tickets

The Chi-Lites In-depth Biography

One 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.

The original lineup of the Chi-Lites} re-formed in 1980, and the group began recording for Eugene Record}'s label, Chi-Sound}. Although their first singles were more successful than their Mercury Records}, they didn't have a genuine hit until 1982, when "Hot on a Thing (Called Love)"} reached number 15. The following year, they moved to Larc Records}, where they had their final Top Ten hit with "Bottoms Up."} Late that year, Creadel Jones} retired and the group continued to tour as a trio throughout the remainder of the decade. Record} left the group in 1990 to record as a solo artist. He was replaced by Anthony Watson}. By the early '90s, Jones} had re-joined the group, and this version of the Chi-Lites} became a regular on the oldies and soul} circuit during the '90s. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

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