The Delfonics

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The Delfonics
The Delfonics at The Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 2006 (L to R) Randy Cain, William Hart and Wilbert Hart
The Delfonics at The Rhythm & Blues Foundation in 2006 (L to R) Randy Cain, William Hart and Wilbert Hart
Background information
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
GenresR&B, Philadelphia soul, Soul
Years active1965–present
LabelsPhilly Groove Records
La La Records
Poogie Records
Associated actsThe Stylistics, The Chi-Lites, Blue Magic, The Dramatics, Black Ivory
MembersOriginal Members
William "Poogie" Hart
Wilbert "Wil" Hart
Past membersRandy Cain* (Deceased)
Major Harris (Deceased)
(*) Original member

The Delfonics are an American R&B/soul vocal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The Delfonics were most popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their most notable hits include "La-La (Means I Love You)", "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "Break Your Promise", "I'm Sorry", and "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)".[1] Their hit songs were primarily written/composed and produced by lead vocalist and founding member William "Poogie" Hart and the musical instrumentation was arranged/conducted by songwriter and producer Thom Bell.

Their songs have been used in film soundtracks, including Quentin Tarantino's 1997 movie Jackie Brown, in which "La-La (Means I Love You)" and "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" underscore the pivotal relationship between the characters played by Pam Grier and Robert Forster. Their songs "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" and "Funny Feeling" were used in the video game Grand Theft Auto V on the fictional radio station The Lowdown 91.1.


Early days[edit]

Prior to forming the Delfonics, William "Poogie" Hart sang in a variety of groups including Little Hart and The Everglows, the Veltones, the Four Guys, and the Four Gents. Members of some of these early groups included brothers William and Wilbert Hart, Ritchie Daniels, Randy Cain, Stan Lathan, and Donald Cannon, friends who met at Overbrook High School in the 1960s.[2]

Circa 1964, William "Poogie" Hart and his brother, Wilbert Hart, formed a group called The Orphonics, consisting of themselves plus Randy Cain and Richie Daniels. After Daniels joined the armed services, they used Ricky Johnson. Randy Cain later rejoined, and the original trio of William Hart, Wilbert Hart, and Randy Cain became The Orphonics. The name came from a stereophonic machine the Harts had in their basement.

In 1965, William Hart was working in a barbershop in Philadelphia. A man named Stan Watson[3] came into the barbershop one day, where William Hart, who had written quite a few songs by this point, would sing while playing his guitar. Watson told William Hart that he knew a young arranger/producer for Cameo-Parkway Records named Thom Bell, who was at the time working with Chubby Checker. Watson thereafter introduced the group to Bell. William Hart recalls that the first song he presented to Bell was an original composition of his entitled "He Don't Really Love You".[4] Bell immediately produced the music arrangement to that song and it was released on Moon Shot which later became Cameo-Parkway Records.

Hit years[edit]

The Orphonics were soon renamed "The Delfonics," and their first recording, "He Don't Really Love You" b/w "Without You", which had been arranged and produced by Thom Bell, was released on the small Moon Shot Records label in around August 1966. (The artist on first pressings of the 45 RPM record was actually listed as "The Del Fonics" and Thom Bell was credited as "Tommy Bell." Following the increased popularity of the group, the Moon Shot record was reissued in April 1968, and on this later release it was distributed by Calla Records.) The second Delfonics' recording, "You've Been Untrue" b/w "I Was There," once again arranged/produced by Bell (now credited as "Thom Bell") was released in April 1967 on Cameo Records.

The Delfonics Promo Photo 1971

By the end of 1967, Cameo-Parkway Records announced that it would soon no longer exist as a record company. In December of that year, Thom Bell took the Delfonics into Cameo-Parkway's recording studio to record a William Hart composition, entitled "La-La (Means I Love You)", which featured Hart on falsetto lead. With Cameo-Parkway about to be defunct, Stan Watson started up his own label entitled Philly Groove Records, and in December 1967 "La-La (Means I Love You)" was first released to the local Philadelphia music market. After gaining national distribution/promotion with New York's Amy-Mala-Bell, the single became a hit in 1968, selling over one million copies. It reached #4 on the pop charts,[5] and was awarded a gold disc.

The group's debut album La La Means I Love You, released on Philly Groove Records in 1968, featured the hit original compositions "La-La (Means I Love You)", "Break Your Promise", "I'm Sorry", and "Can You Remember"; along with covers of the Hal David/Burt Bacharach compositions "Alfie" and "The Look of Love".

Four more Bell-produced albums appeared in the next few years: The Sound of Sexy Soul, The Delfonics Super Hits, The Delfonics and Tell Me This Is a Dream. Among the Delfonics' popular hits were the Grammy Award-winning "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "(For The Love) I Gave To You", "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)", and "Hey Love". The Delfonics and Bell had to work with a basic budget on the first creation as Thom explained "When I took them into the studio we didn't have any money to pay for string players and an orchestra so I played most of the instruments myself!"—a far cry from the full classical productions from 1968 to the beginning of the seventies.[6] "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" also sold a million copies and by March 1970 received a gold disc from the R.I.A.A.

By 1972, The Delfonics racked up twelve top-20 hits on Billboards R&B/Soul Single Chart.[7]

Randy Cain left the group in 1971 after completing their fourth album, and in 1973 had a hand in forming Blue Magic. Cain was replaced by Major Harris; by then, however, Thom Bell had moved on to produce The Stylistics and later, The Spinners. The Delfonics swiftly produced another album, Alive & Kicking (1974), produced by Stan Watson. However, in the absence of Thom Bell, the Delfonics' career declined sharply, and with the exception of the aforementioned "Hey Love" and the minor hits "When You Get Right Down to It", "I Don't Want To Make You Wait" and "I Told You So", success eluded them after 1975. ("(For The Love) I Gave To You", although popular, was never released as a single.) Most of their songs at this point were written by lead singer William Hart.


Late 1974, Major Harris started his solo career by signing with Atlantic Records and releasing his 1975 #1 R&B hit single, "Love Won't Let Me Wait",[8] which peaked at #5 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart[9] and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. on June 25, 1975.

The group split around 1975; one group featured Major Harris and Wilbert Hart, with new member Frank Washington, formerly of the Futures. The other group featured William Hart with new members. Lineups would become confusing as members shifted between groups and multiple groups toured.[10] Major Harris moved to Hart's group around 1980, with their third member being the returning Randy Cain. Frank Washington also switched from Wilbert Hart's group, joining in 1985. While the main recording lineup of the group was William Hart, Major Harris, and Frank Washington, they would tour as two separate trios with additional members added. One group featured William Hart, Randy Cain, and Garfield Fleming, and the other consisted of Frank Washington, Major Harris, and Freddy Ingleton. William Hart also toured with another lineup consisting of himself, Johnny ("JJ") Johnson and Pat Palmer,[11] and toured in Japan at least one time with Ingleton and Dr. Salaam Love.[12] In 1989, Wilbert Hart, Major Harris and Frank Washington appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show.[13]


Through the 1990s, the Delfonics groups continued to perform. The William Hart's with Major Harris and Frank Washington made several recordings, including backing vocals on the track "After the Smoke is Clear", on the 1996 hip hop album Ironman by Ghostface Killah.[14] The groups reorganized again in the 1990s. William Hart began touring with Johnnie Johnson and Garfield Fleming; this group recorded as the Delfonics. Major Harris toured with Frank Washington and Pat Palmer. Wilbert Hart's group included Salaam Love (formerly in William's group) and Eban Brown who formerly performed with, Ray, Goodman & Brown and a short stay with The Manhattans as lead tenor. Brown was lead tenor with Wilbert Hart's group for 5 years, from 1993 until his departure to take a two-year break from the industry in 1998. Brown and Love were replaced by first tenor Van Fields and New York native Greg Hill around 1999. After a very short stay with Wilbert Hart's group, Fields left and joined The Stylistics in 2000. Singer Joe Branch replaced Eban Brown.

The William Hart's group with Johnson and Fleming were featured in concert on the DVDs "The Big Show" and "'70s Soul Jam", whereas Wilbert Hart's group is featured on the DVD "Old School Soul Party Live!", which was part of the PBS My Music series. Harris is also featured on the re-released DVD Blue Magic/Margie Joseph/Major Harris Live!, which was recorded in 1975. Wilbert Hart released a CD in 2005 entitled "Fonic Zone",[15] which he wrote and produced. Rick Ross was featured on the single entitled "Here For U". After 6 years with Wilbert Hart's group Hill departed in 2005 and was replaced by Dr. Salaam Love.


William "Poogie" Hart continued touring with his group, Johnson and Fleming while Wilbert Hart continued touring with his group, Branch and Salaam. Original Member Randy Cain reunited with the brothers at the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Awards in Philadelphia to perform for the first time together in years and were honored with the Pioneer Award.[16] Soon after, Cain joined William Hart on his tour and stayed with that unit until his death in 2009. William Hart, along with Russell Thompkins Jr., the original lead singer of The Stylistics and Ted Mills the original lead singer of Blue Magic came together to record a CD entitled, "The Three Tenors of Soul",[17] which was produced by songwriter and producer, Bobby Eli and released in 2007.

Randy Cain died on April 9, 2009, at age 63.[18]

Major Harris (singer) died on November 9, 2012, at age 65.[19]

As of 2020, William Hart and Wilbert Hart are celebrating their 55th anniversary in the music industry. They both continue to tour with their separate groups.


The Delfonics songs are covered and sampled by multiple artists and they are used in TV shows and in films. Below are a list of some.
"La-La (Means I Love You)"

"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)"

  • The song was featured on the episode "Heads Will Roll", of the television series Ballers[24][25] and in the television series, Euphoria in season 1.

"Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)"

"Hey! Love"


  • RIAA Gold Record - On March 18, 1970, The Delfonics were awarded a Gold Record for sales of one million units.[29]

Original members[edit]

Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1965 and originally known as the Four Gents, the Delfonics classic lineup featured:


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label
US[36] US
1968 La La Means I Love You 100 15 Philly Groove
1969 Sound of Sexy Soul 155 8
1970 The Delfonics 61 4
1972 Tell Me This Is a Dream 123 15
1974 Alive & Kicking 205 34
1981 Return Poogie
1999 Forever New Volt
2005 Fonic Zone Universal
2013 Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics 72 Wax Poetics
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label
US[38] US
1969 Super Hits 111 7 Philly Groove
1990 Golden Classics Collectables
1997 La-La Means I Love You: The Definitive Collection Arista
2002 The Very Best of the Delfonics Audiophile
2003 Platinum & Gold Collection Arista
2005 Love Songs Legacy
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Peak chart positions
US[5] US
1966 "He Don't Really Love You"
1967 "You've Been Untrue"
1968 "La-La (Means I Love You)" 4 2 19
"I'm Sorry" 42 15
"He Don't Really Love You" (re-release) 92 33
"Break Your Promise" 35 12
"Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" (A-side) 35 14 41
1969 "Somebody Loves You" (B-side) 72 41
"Funny Feeling" 94 48
"You Got Yours and I'll Get Mine" 40 6
1970 "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" 10 3 81 22
"Trying to Make a Fool of Me" 40 8
"When You Get Right Down to It" 53 12
1971 "Hey! Love" (A-side) 52 17
"Over and Over" (B-side) 58 9
"Walk Right Up to the Sun" 81 13
1972 "Tell Me This Is a Dream" 86 15
1973 "Think It Over" 101 47
"I Don't Want to Make You Wait" 91 22
"Alfie" 88
1974 "I Told You So" 101 26
"Lying to Myself" 60
1981 "The Way Things Are"
2005 "Here For You" Featuring Rick Ross
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


  • The David Frost Show April 7, 1970 - Season 2 Episode 157 - William and Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain appeared on the television show.[43]
  • SOUL! April 16, 1970 - Season 1970 Episode 46 - William and Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain appeared on the television show.'[44]
  • American Bandstand January 2, 1971 / Season 14, Episode 18 - William and Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain appeared on the show.[45]
  • Top of the Pops On July 1, 1971 - Season 8, Episode 26 - William and Wilbert Hart and Major Harris appeared on the television show.[46]
  • Soul Train
    • December 11, 1971 - Season 1 Episode 11 - William and Wilbert Hart and Major Harris appeared on the television show.[47]
    • March 2, 1974 - Season 3 Episode 24 - William and Wilbert Hart and Major Harris appeared on the television show.[48]
    • May 8, 1976 - Season 5 Episode 35.[49]
  • The Ebony Affair TV Show In 1973, William and Wilbert Hart and Major Harris appeared on the television show.[50]
  • The Arsenio Hall Show March 22, 1989 -Season 1 Episode 75 - Wilbert Hart, Major Harris and Frank Washington appeared on show.[51]
  • Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia January 2009, William Hart, Randy Cain and Garfield Fleming performed on this television special.[53]
  • Unsung November 20, 2013 - Season 6 Episode 14 - William and Wilbert Hart were featured on "The story of The Delfonics".[54]
  • Luke Cage September 30, 2016 - Season 1 Episode 9 - William "Poogie" Hart and The Delfonics are featured performers on the Netflix original series.[55]
  • Mr. SOUL! The Movie In 2018, William Hart, Wilbert Hart, Randy Cain and Major Harris, earlier performances from SOUL!, are featured in the 2018 award-winning documentary film.[56][57][58]


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