Gene Chandler Biography
Gene Chandler, known for his hit song Duke of Earl, is an artist with a broad range who had success in the doo-wop, rhythm and blues, soul and disco musical styles. Born on July 6th, 1937 in Drake Dixon, Chicago he would go on to record 13 Studio Albums and 40 Singles between 1961 and 1986. During his career, Gene would have more than thirty chart-topping hits. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame and received a Pioneer award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
He was 24 years old when he recorded his first single for Nat Records, “The Girl Is A Devil.” His most popular song, Duke of Earl, was recorded and released in 1961 and became an immediate hit, selling over 1,000,000 singles in a month. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame considers it one of the Top 500 Songs that influenced Rock and Roll. It stayed as #1 on the R&B Charts for three weeks and was on the Hot 100 for 15 weeks. It was released on the Vee-Jay Label and produced by Bill Shepard. Interestingly, the song originated as a vocal exercise, where Gene with his fellow bandmates would harmonize with the “du du du.” It sounded so good, they decided to develop it into a song — but they needed a real word to use and ultimately decided on “Duke.” The rest of the lyrics flowed from that initial melodic inspiration. Due to the huge success of the song, Gene would dress up — in costume — as a Duke complete with a black top hat, a monocle and cape with a red lining interior. “Duke of Earl” was included in the Hairspray soundtrack and his songs have been sampled by many artists.
The Duke of Earl continues to be popular today, with over 20,000,000 views on YouTube and 16,000,000 plays on Spotify. Donald White wrote in 2019, ” It was 1961 and I was 10 years old riding with my dad in his 1958 Biscayne. This song came on the radio just as we were passing the high school parking lot. I looked over and saw two teenage boys wearing blue jeans and white t-shirts, they were standing next to a 1957 chevy with the words Duke of Earl painted on the side. It was the coolest thing I had ever saw. My dad passed in 2004 and when ever I hear this song in think of him.”
Gene had 27 songs place in the Top 100 for Pop and 34 placed in the Top 100 for R&B. He released 13 Studio Albums and 43 Singles between 1961 and 1986. He has one acting credit to his name, the 1962 film “Don’t Knock the Twist” where he played ‘The Duke of Earl.” He appeared in a number of television shows and documentaries as himself, and his music was included in the soundtracks of four movies: It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010), Anchorman (2004), Save The Last Dance (2001) and Stander (2003).
While Duke of Earl was easily his biggest success, his career enjoyed a renaissance in the disco period with the hit Get Down. He continued to release disco material until 1983.
Gene Chandler Discography
Frequently Asked Questions
Chandler began singing in doo-wop groups as a teenager. He is best known for his 1962 hit “Duke of Earl”. Chandler also wrote and produced several songs that became hits for other artists, including “The Girl’s Got to Know” (for the Dells), “Just Be True” (for Jerry Butler), and “Rainbow” (for the Chi-Lites).
What Songs Did Gene Chandler Write?
“Duke of Earl,” “Rainbow,” “Groovy Situation,” and “Does She Have a Friend?” are some of the songs written by Gene Chandler.
What are Gene Chandler greatest hits?
Gene Chandler had multiple chart-topping hits. Some of his best songs are “Duke of Earl,” “Rainbow ’65 (Part I),” and “Nothing Can Stop Me”. These songs, along with others like “Just Be True,” “Get Down,” and “Groovy Situation,” have had a lasting impact on modern music. His album “Twenty Greatest Hits” also includes popular tracks such as “You Can’t Hurt Me No More” and “(I’m Just a) Fool for You”.