The Stylistics are a veteran Philadelphia vocal soul group that became famous during the early 1970s. Formed in 1968 while the members were all still in their late teens, the original lineup consisted of James Dunn, Airrion Love, Herb Murrell, James Smith, and lead singer Russell Thompkins Jr. Best known for their romantic slow ballads, The Stylistics' signature smooth, sweet sound was due in large part to Thompkins' soulful falsetto/high tenor and the production talents of Thom Bell, an architect of the Philly soul genre who also served as one of The Stylistics' main songwriters along with lyricist Linda Creed.
The Stylistics made their debut in early 1971 on both the Pop/Rock and R&B charts with "You're A Big Girl Now," an R&B Top 10 hit followed later that year by "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)." The latter song was the first in a long series of Thom Bell-produced R&B ballads which all made the R&B Top 10 and also fared well on the Pop/Rock and Adult Contemporary charts: "You Are Everything" (1971), "Betcha By Golly, Wow" (1972), "People Make The World Go Round" (1972), "I'm Stone In Love With You" (1972), "Break Up To Make Up" (1973), the Burt Bacharach/Hal David-penned "You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)" (1973), "Rockin' Roll Baby" (1973), and "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (1974). Other top hits included "Let's Put It All Together" (1974), "Heavy Fallin' Out" (1974), and "Thank You Baby" (1975). While The Stylistics peak commercial fame in the U.S. took place primarily during the early 1970s, the group remained hugely popular in the U.K. throughout the remainder of the decade. The group's long string of hits continued through 1992 on the R&B charts, with numerous silver-, gold- and platinum-certified singles and albums in both the U.S. and the U.K.
The Stylistics many awards and accolades include being inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004. The group has continued to tour and record actively over the years, with a number of personnel changes along the way. The current lineup is a quartet that includes two original members - Airrion Love and Herb Murrell - plus Jason Sharp and Barrington "Bo" Henderson. Russell Thompkins Jr. launched his own group in 2004, The New Stylistics, with Raymond Johnson, James Ranton, and Jonathan Buckson.
- For more info about The Stylistics and the group's current projects, visit thestylistics.org.
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- The Stylistics Recordings (CDs, etc.)
- The Stylistics MP3s
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- The Stylistics Sheet Music
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The Stylistics Featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr.
- Betcha By Golly, Wow 1972
- Break Up To Make Up 1973
(This song later also became a hit for Cynthia (1991).)
- I'm Stone In Love With You 1972
- People Make The World Go Round 1972
- Rockin' Roll Baby 1973
- Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart) 1971
- You Are Everything 1971
- You Make Me Feel Brand New 1974
- You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) 1973
(This song was previously a hit for Dionne Warwick (1964).)
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