The Delfonics

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The Delfonics
Also known as The Four Gents
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres
Years active 1965–present
Labels Philly Groove
Associated acts
Members William Hart
Wilbert Hart
Greg Hill
Garfield Fleming
Salaam Love
Joe Branch
Past members Randy Cain (deceased)
Major Harris (deceased)
Frank Washington
Eban Brown
Johnny Johnson
Garfield Fleming

The Delfonics are an American R&B/Soul vocal group from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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)". Their hit songs were primarily written/composed by lead vocalist and founding member William 'Poogie' Hart and arranged/produced 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" 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. Their songs have been sampled by various hip-hop and rap artists including: The Wu-Tang Clan, Fugees, Deltron 3030, The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Boyz II Men, Missy Elliott and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. In addition, their songs have been covered by numerous other performers, including Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, New Kids on the Block, Fugees, Todd Rundgren, Prince, Swing Out Sister and The Manhattan Transfer.

Background[edit]

Original group members were William and Wilbert Hart, Ritchie Daniels, and Randy Cain, whom they met at Overbrook High School in the 1960s. The Delfonics' first recording, "He Don't Really Love You", was for Moon Shot Records in 1966. Daniels was drafted and left for the service in 1968. At Cameo, producer Stan Watson introduced them to producer Thom Bell, then working with Chubby Checker. With Cameo they recorded a popular tune called "You've Been Untrue". The group's first album, released on Watson's own Philly Groove record label, featured the smash hit "La-La (Means I Love You)" in 1968. The single sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1] 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-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.[2] "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..[1]

Randy Cain left the group in 1971, and in 1973 had a hand in formulating Blue Magic, best known for their classic "Sideshow," when he brought singer-songwriter Ted Mills in to do some writing for W.M.O.T. (We Men Of Talent), and the remaining future members of Blue Magic came in for an audition. Cain was replaced by Major Harris; by then, however, Thom Bell had moved on to produce The Stylistics and later, The Spinners, all artists in the mold of the Delfonics. The Delfonics swiftly produced another album, Alive & Kicking, 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.

1975 disbanding[edit]

The group split around 1975; one group featured Major and Wilbert, with new member Frank Washington, formerly of the Futures. (Major Harris also had major success with the solo recording "Love Won't Let Me Wait"). The other group featured William with new members. Lineups would become confusing as members shifted between groups and multiple groups toured. Major Harris moved to William's group around 1980, with their third member being the returning Randy Cain. Frank Washington also switched from Wilbert'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, Randy Cain, and Garfield Fleming, and the other consisted of Frank, Major, and Freddy Ingleton. William also toured with another line up consisting of himself, Johnny ("JJ") Johnson and Pat Palmer,[3] and toured in Japan at least one time with Ingleton and Dr. Salaam Love.[4]

Later career: 1980–99[edit]

Through the 1980s and the 1990s, the Delfonics groups continued to perform. The William Hart/Major Harris/Frank Washington group made several recordings, including backing vocals on the track "After the Smoke is Clear", on the 1996 hip hop album Ironman by Ghostface Killah. Their works continued to be sampled. Rapper The Notorious B.I.G. sampled "Hey Love" in his song "Playa Hata", released in 1997, and in 1996 rapper Nas sampled their "Walk Right Up To the Sun" for his hit "If I Ruled the World." Rapper Missy Elliott sampled "Ready Or Not Here I Come" in her hit "Sock it 2 Me." Rapper Ghostface Killa sampled "La La Means I Love You" in his hit "Holla". Eazy-E, Gang Starr, and Ed OG have sampled "Trying To Make a Fool of Me."

The groups reorganized again in the late–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.[5] Wilbert also led a Delfonics group; members in the 1990s included Salaam Love (formerly in William's group) and Eban Brown (falsetto).[6] They were replaced by Greg Hill (former bassist for Teddy Riley & New Edition) and Van Fields. Van left the Delfonics to sing with The Stylistics. Greg Hill brought Joe Branch down to one of the rehearsals and Joe was hired as the new lead vocalist. The William/Johnny/Garfield lineup of the group was featured in concert on the DVD's The Big Show and '70's Soul Jam, whereas Wilbert Hart's line-up featuring Greg Hill and Joe Branch 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. The current line-ups are William Hart, Johnnie Johnson, and Garfield Fleming, and, Wilbert Hart, Joe Branch and Salaam Love.

Recent years[edit]

Major Harris passed away on November 9, 2012. The Delfonics were featured on the Unsung TV series on TV One in 2013.

Greg Hill departed from Will Hart's Delfonics and formed The Delfonics Revue. Greg was replaced by Salaam Love. Wilbert Hart continues to tour with his Delfonics group, sometimes called "The Delphonics", "The New Delfonics" or simply billed as "Wilbert Hart." Wilbert's group released a CD in 2005 called Fonic Zone featuring himself, Greg Hill & Joe Branch .[7] Along with touring, the trio recorded a single with Rick Ross entitled "Here For U". Greg Hill is currently touring as "Greg Hill & The Delfonics Revue". Greg Hill Delfonics Official Site

As of 2016, William Hart's Delfonics, Wilbert Hart's Delfonics and Greg Hill's Delfonics Revue are touring with their own Delfonic units. The name "The Delfonics" is owned by founding member William "Poogie" Hart. Official website for William "Poogie" Hart & the original Delfonics

William "Poogie" Hart and The Delfonics, still actively performing, are featured actors and performers in Harlem's Paradise in episode nine, entitled "DWYCK", of the Netflix original series Luke Cage, which premiered on Netflix on September 30, 2016.

Original members[edit]

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

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Record label
US
[10]
US
R&B

[10]
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
2013 Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics 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
[10]
US
R&B

[10]
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.

Singles[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions
US
[10]
US
R&B

[10]
AUS
[11]
UK
[12]
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"
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 238 & 278. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ [1] Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Soulful Detroit: The Delfonics". Faac.us. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  4. ^ "【La】The Delfonics デルフォニクス【La】". Music8.2ch.net. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  5. ^ "Bands: The Delfonics". Actoneentertainment.net. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  6. ^ "The Delphonics Bio". Utopia Artists. Retrieved 2014-07-29. 
  7. ^ Fonic Zone. "Fonic Zone: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14. 
  8. ^ Gross, Dan (April 11, 2009). "Delfonics singer Randy Cain Dies at 63". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 1. Archived from the original on April 15, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  9. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2009 January to June". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2012-11-13. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "US Charts > The Delfonics". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  11. ^ David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  12. ^ "UK Charts > The Delfonics". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 

External links[edit]

William 'Poogie' Hart's official website: http://www.lalameansiloveyou.com