The Chi-Lites were formed in Chicago in 1959. Originally called the Hi-Lites, they consisted of Marshall Thompson (birthday 24th Aug), Creadel “Red” Jones, Eugene Record, Robert Lester (birthday 16th August) and Clarence Johnson.
As the Hi-Lites they released a number of singles on local labels then in 1964 they changed their name to Marshall & the Chi-Lites; the ‘C’ being added to reflect the name of their hometown, Chicago. By the end of 1964 Clarence Johnson had left the group and they truncated their name to simply the Chi-Lites. During the ensuing four years Eugene Record slowly emerged as the group’s lead singer, songwriter and producer.
In 1969, after signing with Brunswick the previous year, Give It Away became their first USA national hit single attaining number ten in the R&B charts. The follow-up release Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was was moderately successful but another major hit was elusive until Are You My Woman? climbed into the R&B top ten in early 1971. A succession of top ten hits followed commencing with their next release (For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People which was the first release to crossover into the pop charts. The ballads Have You Seen Her and Oh Girl followed, both reaching number one in the R&B charts with Oh Girl also achieving the number one slot in the USA charts in the spring of 1972.
Five other top 10 hits followed including: Homely Girl, I Found Sunshine, Too Good To Be Forgotten, It’s Time For Love & You Don’t Have To Go. In 2000 the Chi-Lites were inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
The Chi-Lites also feature, along with other big-named legendary artistes, in a docu/movie called Only The Strong Survive by Miramax films, which was released in 2003. The Chi-Lites song, Are You My Woman, is sampled and featured on the album by Beyoncé under the title “Crazy In Love”. The recording also features Jay-Z and can be found on Beyoncé’s “Dangerously In Love” CD. The song is later nominated for a Grammy award and is instrumental in winning the Hot 100 award for most weeks at No. 1.
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