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Chi-Lites, The

chilites_003In the late 50s, Eugene Record and Robert ‘Squirrel’ Lester were performing in a singing group called The Chanteurs, while Creadel “Red” Jones and Marshall Thompson were in The Desideros. The groups frequently sang against other in talent shows.

As the two groups gradually fell apart – with other members getting married, joining the army etc – the four decided to combine their talents in 1960 as a new vocal quartet, originally named The Hi-Lites (they changed the name to The Chi-Lites the following year, with the “Chi” – pronounced “Chy” – in honour of their hometown, Chicago).

It took until 1969 for the group to have their first hit with Give It Away, though their major hits came in 1971 and 1972, with Have You Seen Her? and Oh Girl, the latter a number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.

Red Jones left in 1973, and was replaced in quick succession by Stanley Anderson, Willie Kensey, and then Doc Roberson., but by 1975, things were falling apart. As with so many artists, stardom had taken its toll. Meanwhile, the Brunswick label went down the drain taking many of its artists with it.

Eugene Record signed a solo deal with Warner Brothers and recorded three largely unsuccessful albums with them before walking away. David Scott and Danny Johnson joined the group, with the latter replaced by Vandy Hampton in short order.

It was all over by 1977.

The original Chi-Lites reformed in 1980, releasing Hot On A Thing. The group operated as a trio when Red Jones departed again in 1982. Record found religion in 1988 and quit the group to set up his own gospel label, Evergreen Records. He was replaced for a while by new lead singer, Frank Reed, and then by Anthony Watson.

Eugene Record died from cancer in July 2004, at the age of 64. Robert ‘Squirrel’ Lester died on 21 January 2010 in Chicago after a long battle with liver cancer. He was 67.

Eugene Record
Vocals
Marshall Thompson
Vocals
Creadel Jones
Vocals
Robert ‘Squirrel’ Lester
Vocals
Stanley Anderson
Vocals
Willie Kensey
Vocals
Doc Roberson
Vocals
David Scott
Vocals
Danny Johnson
Vocals
Vandy Hampton
Vocals
Frank Reed
Vocals
Anthony Watson
Vocals
Fred Simon
Vocals
Tara Thompson
Vocals

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