October 20, 2021


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R&B Classic rediscovers the world as Chi-Lights Walk of Fame Star

8 min read

As Chi-Lights starred on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at an event on Boulevard today, some fans may say it’s not coming soon, as the classic R&B band gained fame a full five decades ago. Crushed like “you saw him”. But at least one important figure in the development of the group is happy that only when respect is coming.

Paul Turnpol, the son of the man who signed Chi-Lights to Brunswick Records in the late 1960s, has been back in the catalog label business for more than 20 years. And he has some experience in getting artists on the Walk of Fame: he was the driving force behind Jackie Wilson’s Hollywood star show two years ago.

“It took 10 years to happen, so we said, ‘Let’s see if we can get a star for Chi-Lights,'” Tarnopol said. “I told Marshall (Thompson, the group’s baritone and lone surviving key member), ‘Don’t raise your hopes, because it probably won’t happen for the first time.’ It was a kind of surprise. ”

In the late 1960s, when the words Detroit and Memphis defined modern R&B, Chicago re-established itself as the revived home of modern soul music. While impressions with Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield were the head of the class, the Brunswick local label was distributing a string of hits from a roster to Jackie Wilson, Barbara Acklin, Young-Holt Unlimited and this month’s Hollywood Walk of Fame honors, Chi-Lite.

Led by lead singer-songwriter Eugene Records, the group delivered two of the biggest hits on the “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl” labels in 1971 and 1972, respectively, as well as 25 other top 40 R&B hits. A sign of the continuity of their recordings: their “Are You My Woman (Tell Me”) tunes and hooks are known to Beyonc “‘s “Crazy in Love” to a new generation.

Chi-Lights, who wanted to respond to Chicago’s temptations and spend 12 years searching for their first hit, reached the top of the charts in the early 70’s with soft, lively love songs. R&B. The expressive high duration and aspirations of the record set Fallsato Chi-Lite apart, but they had another secret weapon.

“Microphone,” Thompson says. “It’s a combination of Eugene’s record, his brilliant self and red [Jones] Being a major in music and mixing our voices. Then [engineer] Bruce Swedish gave each of us our own microphone. He brought out that sound for us so that when we got up in the studio, we always used the same mic and you always knew it was our song.

The group had its roots in a street corner song of harmony in Chicago in the late 1950s. In high school, the quintet of records, The Chantours, includes the future Chi-Lite Robert “Squirrel” Lester; Thompson led Desideros, whose tight choreography made competitive progress in showcasing their southern talents.

Thompson finally joined the record team in 1960, and soon before he got a job as a drummer, Cradle brought in “Red” Jones, first locally for Gladys Knight and The Pips, then on tour with Major Lance.

At an event in Houston, Thompson had to set foot for Lance and sing. “The girls have gone wild,” he recalls. At the end of the night, he asked the promoter to book his group from Chicago.

“We broke up, so I had to put them together again,” he says.

“Everyone had a job,” Thompson said. “Eugene was a great writer, we liked what he wrote and we believed in him. And they believed in me as the driving force. Whenever we come up with something, I do it. Meet the right management company, the right production company, the DJs. Do it. ”

Unknown in Houston, Thompson brought his “side manager” Reggie Thomas to boxer Muhammad Ali, along with Bill.

“People were wrapped around the block even though they didn’t know who we were,” he says. The night was so successful, thanks to Ali’s name being in the marquee, “People keep bringing us back to Houston, Texas. That was wonderful. “

They were known as the High-Lights at the time and recorded their first single, “I’m Very Jealous,” for Indy Daran Records, directed by Thompson’s cousin James Shelton. They rearranged Marshall and Chi-Lights after the discovery of another high-lights group, but the name change didn’t help them sell the unit.

In the mid-sixties, Thompson had a meeting with their Carl Davis, who produced Jean Chandler’s “Duke of Earl”, conducted A&R for Okeh Records, and Jackie Wilson’s return to Brunswick hit “Whispers” and “Your Love Me ) Higher and higher. “

Davis liked what he heard and in 1967 released Chi-Lights ‘Price of Love’ on his own Dakar record. It didn’t go anywhere, but a relationship was being formed with Brunswick. Still, Thompson’s vision was to become the Motown Act.

At a 1968 talent show at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Thompson Motown was keen to get the attention of A&R executive / recording artist Bobby Taylor. “I went upstairs and said to Bobby, ‘Take us to Motown. I’m ready for bootcamp. ”

His requests were thwarted by an enthusiastic response to the singers on stage. “Bobby said, ‘Is that all the noise below?’ “It’s my little team. The Jackson Five,” said Joe Jackson.

Thompson, in the long run, passed the grateful Detroit label. “We would be tempted to sing and compete with everyone there. It’s so good that Michael ended up in Motown.

Towards the end of that year, Brunswick signed Chi-Lights and their first single, “Give It Away”, moved to the top ten on Billboard’s Soul Chart. They are two singles, “I Like Your Lovein ‘(Do You Like Mine?)” (No. 11 R&B) and “Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)”, which is the No. 1 in R&B Tally. Number reached. The songs clearly reflect the group’s appetite for temptation-inspired mid-tempo, with group vocal-rich percussion-heavy songs and the No. 2 spot on the Billboard Pop Chart giving them very little hint of crossover success.

In 1971, Marvin Guy’s “What’s Going On”, Edwin Starr’s “Stop the War Now”, Curtis Mayfield’s “Don’t Think If There’s a Hell Below, We’re All Going” and other socio-political R&B hits, Chi- Lights “(for God’s sake) give people more strength.” The hits from their ’71 album, though, didn’t seem like anything else to record them.

Inspired by the words of Catholic church singers while intimately using spoken words, Record and Acklin wrote their first smash, “Have You Sen Her,” an R&B No. 1 that went to No. 3.

“We came down from the stage [at St. Louis’ Kiehl Auditorium] And the man said, ‘You will all return to the stage.’ We ask, ‘For what?’ And he said, ‘Umm, you didn’t sing “Did you see him? That song was the first to become popular.” It peaked in the US in November and December and peaked at No. 1 in the UK in February. ) Give people more energy, ”hits 12 on the Billboard 200 and 3 on the R&B chart.

After their fourth and most successful album “A Lonely Man” in April 1942. It topped the R&B charts and reached No. 5, the biggest hit of the group, breaking the depression and being led by “Oh Girl”.

“We went to the Flip Wilson TV show [in March 1972] And I was saying that ‘Oh Girl’ could be a little more pop-ish. I think R&B, because we may not be big enough to go to the pop market.

“We did‘ Oh Girl ’and it went to No. 1 on the charts. It kept me quiet. The biggest record in the world, has taken us to the top. Then, that’s what he was looking for – all crossover records. ”

Paul Turnopol’s father, Knut, ran Brunswick Records in the 1960s when it was owned by Decker, turned into an R&B label, and bought it in 1970 from Decker’s parents, MCA.

“He always loved soul music and didn’t really care for very pop things,” said Tarnopol, who owns and oversees Brunswick as a catalog label. “It took a lot of work to break an R&B record and many did not. And so when you had a crossover hit like ‘Oh Girl’ and ‘Saw Him’, it was a really big deal.

Lazy loaded pictures

The first single from The Chi-Lights, “Give It Away” has reached the top ten on the Billboard Soul Chart.
Courtesy Chi-Lights

While they won’t reach the same chart height again, as R&B lands in the top 40 outside of Chi-Lights Disco, “Stoned Out of My Mind” and “A Letter to Myself” have registered the top 40 pop hits of the era.

1 After Brun5’s eighth album “Half a Love” they left Brunswick and the members began to leave. Most notably, Davis hired the record to work as a producer and A&R executive. He left Brunswick as a solo performer for Warner Bros. in 1977, then rejoined Thompson to record as Chi-Lights for Day-Davis’ new label Chi-Sound, which saw them return to the charts in 1980. Eventually, the gospel goes to sing the record

“In the early 80’s, it slowed down. We tried to record things but it didn’t mean anything. I took the boys abroad where the record never gets old” and the team saw that their “I Found Sunshine” and “Too There are hits like “Good to Be Forgotten” that have never been popular in the United States

In 2000, Chi-Lights was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame.

The record died in July 2005, two years after Beyonc এবং and J-Z took “Are You My Women (Tell Me”) and turned it into a hook for “Crazy in Love”, which would win two Grammys in the R&B category.

Other specimens have linked Chi-Lite’s music to a younger crowd, mainly J-Z using “How Long It’s It” in his “December to December” and Fantasia’s “Baby Mama”, which includes “There will never be peace.” ”

Syncs were also very important: “What I wish for” was used in KFC’s 2004 UK ad; McDonald’s has used “I Found Sunshine” in the Middle East this year; And “Oh Girl” is featured in everything from “The Sopranos” to “Ozark”.

Their music will get some more exposure when the previously unpublished cover of “Rolling Stones” from “Troubles A-Come” comes out this group’s “Tattoo You” boxed set this fall.

Considering how Brunswick artists were marketed to a black audience, Turnpole said, “The whole world is discovering music that only 20% of the country really heard in the 70’s. I just think people are catching this great, quality music that is for many in the country. Was really unknown.


Key: Get a star on The Chi-Lights Hollywood Walk of Fame.

When: September 30 at 11:30 p.m.

Where: 7057 Hollywood Blvd.

Web: walkoffame.com

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