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For Rock Hall’s Consideration: The Stylistics

It is no surprise that Philadelphia is truly on the musical map. And one group would help put it there during the 1970s.

That group was the Stylistics, and along the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and the Spinners were one of the biggest soul groups to come out of the genre Philly Soul. But while the O’Jays and the Blue Notes were produced by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell would be at the helm of the group’s most classic works, bringing in lush arrangements to coincide with the falsetto voice of lead singer Russell Thompkins, Jr.

Beginning in 1971, the Stylistics began a period of top forty hits that later became lasting classics on classic R&B radio including “Betcha by Golly, Wow”, People Make the World Go Round”, “You Make Me Feel Brand New”, “Break Up to Make Up”, and “I’m Stone in Love with You”. These songs would later see numerous covers and samples from other artists including Prince, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, Rick Ross, Johnny Mathis, and Mary J. Blige. The songs were also featured in movies including 1994’s Crooklyn.

After the period with Bell, the Stylistics continued to tour and record, becoming more popular in Europe, and among the minor hits achieved included the Van McCoy produced “Let’s Put it All Together”. Their contributions in soul music and as a vocal group were later recognized with a 2004 induction into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Rock and Roll Hal of Fame: The Stylistics, eligible since 1996.