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The Delphonic Experience

 

 

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It was 1968 and The Delfonics, a pivotal soulful singing quartet, originating out of Philadelphia, gave birth to the melodious sounds of romance, passion and love. They brought us together with hits such as “La-La (Means I Love You)”, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”, and “Break Your Promise” to name a few.  It was the era that gave birth to free love and everyone wanted to experience it.
 
Fast forward forty-seven years and the Chemistry Sound became exhausted with auto-tune and all variations of music. They yearned to go back – back to the ‘old days’ of free love. They wanted to hear passion, only experienced by performing original music. Thus, they assembled a great group of vocals, 1st tenor, 2nd tenor and 2nd tenor bass. They hand picked each vocal instrument as if they were building a house that was resurrected in 1930. After blending each structure of the house, they became The Delphonics Experience.
Consisting of brothers William Hart and Wilbert Hart along with Randy Cain and later, Major Harris, The Delfonics first appeared on the music scene in 1966 after releasing their first single, “He Don’t Really Love You”, on Moon Shot Records. After they helped launch the early career of legendary producer and songwriter Thom Bell, the group quickly became the toast of the City of Brotherly Love eventually recording the majority of their hits on the Philly Groove label owned by their first manager, Stan Watson, who had originally introduced them to Bell.

Picture 073-1“La La Means I Love You” released in Jan 1968 and hit the top 5 on the Pop and R&B charts and put the Delfonics on the map while helping revolutionize the sound of 60s R&B vocal groups. The success of the album released that summer was aided by the timely ballad “Break Your Promise”, a beautiful song alluding to the heartbreak of a young man going off to fight the war in Vietnam. This release embarked The Delfonics on a decade long journey of masterfully produced songs that were clean, romantic and pure, adhering to the smooth Philly Soul sound that they pioneered. Enchanting and romantic, they wrote and sang songs that spoke to the heart, and captured the attention of their mostly-female fan base from the late 60s until the mid 70s. Delfonics songs also gave voice to the thoughts of men. If you didn’t have the words to say to a young lady, playing one of the group’s ballads over Bell’s lush arrangements was often all she needed to hear.

Diligently rehearsing kept the Delfonics always ready for a show and it was evident in their stage performances. They had the voices, the look, and all the right moves to become the ambassadors of the Philly Sound they helped create with songs like “Ready or Not Here I Come”, “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind”, “When You Get Right Down to It”, “Hey Love”, and “I Told You So”. The group rode a wave of popularity into the mid seventies before a rift about royalties from record sales caused a split from their manager, Stan Watson, and eventually separated the 2 founding brothers in 1984 when finances began to dwindle. When Arista Records began dispensing back-royalties to the group for past record sales that excluded Wilbert Hart and Randy Cain, a bitter court battle ensued, with Arista eventually being found liable to the omitted pair. Each of the Hart brothers embarked on separate long-running careers with a variety of singers filling in on vocal roles over the years. Though several acts using the Delfonics name have had success touring after the split, the principle recording group was the William Hart, Major Harris, and Frank Washington faction.

The Delfonics thrilled a generation during a very significant and important time in our history, which is why keeping their musical legacy relevant for years to come will always be important. We will likely never be able to determine how much The Delfonics’ music affected the U.S. Census during their heyday, but you can be sure that lovers young and old will continue to embrace each other and the music that defined a style and delighted millions during times of change and turmoil in the U.S. and around the world.

Now marching on and carrying the Philly Soul torch:

Ladies and gentlemen… The Delphonics Experience!

 

 

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