Mini Bio (1)
The Stylistics were an R&B group out of Philadelphia, PA, formed in the late 1960s. Their first hit was "You're a Big Girl Now"--recorded in 1970 but not released until 1971--on Avco Records that hit #7 on the R&B charts. Avco approached producer Thom Bell, who had produced many hits for another Philly group, The Delfonics, to produce for the group. Bell was impressed by the vocal talents and falsetto of lead singer Russell Thompkins Jr. and agreed. Bell was responsible for many of the group's biggest hits, including "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (#2 on US R&B charts), "Betcha By Golly Wow" (#3 on US R&B charts), "Break Up to Make Up" and "I'm Stone in Love With You".
Bell left as the group's producer in 1974, and they struggled to issue more hits, even though they were working with such well-known producers as Van McCoy and Hugo & Luigi. The group left Avco Records not long after it was taken over by H&L Records, and in 1978 they switched to Mercury Records, but still couldn't match their earlier successes. Members James Dunn and James Smith left the group in 1980 due to internal conflicts, and lead singer Thompkins left in 2000. Two former members of The Delfonics were brought in as replacements, Eban Brown and Van Fields. Fields left the group in 2011 and was replaced by Jason Sharp (formerly of Heatwave).
In 2004 the group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.
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