Old School Jamz #1: The Chi-Lites

The Chi-Lites were an R&B vocal group out of Chicago, Illinois, that formed in 1959 by Eugene Record, Robert “Squirrel” Lester, Creadel “Red” Jones, Marshall Thompson, and Clarence Johnson. After Johnson left the group in 1964, they shortened their name from Marshall and the Chi-Lites to simply the Chi-Lites. Record was their new lead singer, as well as primary songwriter, so the loss of Johnson was no deal breaker.

After paying their dues with minor gigs and song releases, the Chi-Lites had their first of a series of hits starting in 1971. By the end of the decade, bass-singer Jones had been asked to leave due to drug use, and Record left to pursue a solo career that never panned out. They reunited and split a few more times, continuing to tour, but were never able to regain their footing, as the age of the falsetto lead in R&B had passed with the emergence of Funk in the late 1970s.

If you’re at all a fan of R&B, you’ve likely heard their biggest hits, “Have You Seen Her?” and “Oh Girl,” but I invite you to explore their full catalog. Record, Lester, and Jones have passed away, but Marshall Thompson, singer and lead promoter, still holds it down

“Give More Power to the People,” featuring Red Jones on bass.





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