The Stylistics

From Academic Kids

The Stylistics are one of the most well-known Philadelphia soul groups of the 1970s. They formed in 1968 (see 1968 in music) and comprised Russell Thompkins Jr, Herb Murrell, Airrion Love, James Smith, and James Dunn. They had their first hit in 1971 (see 1971 in music) with "You're a Big Girl Now".

Signing to Avco Records, the Stylistics began working with producer Thom Bell, who had already produced a catalogue of hits for The Delfonics, and songwriter Linda Creed. Bell imported the sweet soul techniques he had perfected with the Delfonics and his arragmements worked perfectly with Thompkins' falsetto. The bittersweet lyrics from Creed were a key factor in creating hugely memorable music.

Their hits from this period included "Betcha by Golly, Wow", "I'm Stone in Love with You", "You Make Me Feel Brand New" "Stop, Look, Listen To Your Heart" and "You Are Everything".

The group split with Thom Bell in 1974, and the split proved devastating commercially to the group. Just as with The Delfonics, The Stylistics were to some extent a vehicle for Bell's own creativity. They struggled hard to find producers who could come up with the right material, and partnerships with Hugo & Luigi and Van McCoy were notably unsuccessful. They left Avco for H&I and the Stylistics' popularity rapidly declined in the US, though their British popularity continued for the rest of the 70s.

In 1980 (see 1980 in music), several members departed, and the remainder continued performing for the next two decades, and are still a popular live draw.

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