The Chi-Lites Biography
One of the most popular smooth soul groups of the early 1970s was neither from Philadelphia or Memphis, two cities famed for their sweet, string-laden soul. The Chi-Lites, on the other hand, were from Chicago, a city famed for its gritty urban blues and pounding R&B. The Chi-Lites, led by vocalist Eugene Record, had a smooth, creamy sound marked by four-part harmonies and layered productions. They had 11 Top Ten R&B singles in the early 1970s, ranging from romantic ballads like “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl” to protest songs like “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People” and “There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table).” All of the songs featured Record’s warm, pleading tenor and falsetto, and Record wrote the majority of the group’s hits, often in partnership with other artists like Barbara Acklin. Although Record left the Chi-Lites when they were at their commercial peak and was gone for about seven years, the group continued to chart until the mid-’80s. The Chi-Lites have been known mostly as a performing outfit since Record’s second departure in 1988, and are still led by the lone surviving original member Marshall Thompson.
They changed their name to Marshall & the Chi-Lites in 1964, adding the “C” to honour their hometown Chicago. Johnson had left the group by the end of the year, and the surviving foursome shortened their name to the Chi-Lites. The trio continued to perform and release independent songs over the next four years, with Record gradually emerging as the group’s lead singer, songwriter, and producer.
The Chi-Lites signed with the large Chicago independent label Brunswick Records in 1968, and their first national hit record, “Give It Away,” reached number ten on the R&B chart the following year. Despite the middling success of “Let Me Be the Man My Daddy Was,” the group didn’t have another huge hit until “Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)” broke into the R&B Top Eleven in early 1971, kicking off a run of ten Top Ten successes that lasted four years.
The Chi-Lites’ original lineup, featuring Eugene Record, reformed in 1980, and the group relocated to 20th Century Fox subsidiary Chi-Sound. Their Chi-Sound singles fared better than their Mercury songs, with “Hot on a Thing Called Love” reaching number 15 in 1982. They switched to MCA-distributed LARC Records the following year, when they achieved their final Top Ten hit with “Bottoms Up.” Creadel Jones departed later that year, and the band continued to tour for the rest of the decade. Record left the band in 1988, and was replaced by Frank Reed, who was later replaced by Anthony Watson. (For more than a decade, Reed and Watson alternated in Record’s job.) The Chi-Lites, led by Marshall Thompson and Robert Lester, were a frequent attraction on the oldies and soul circuits during the 1990s, during which time they also published two albums. Jones passed away in 1994.
Over the next few decades, the Chi-Lites toured in various lineups. Anthony Watson quit the band permanently in 2002. Frank Reed took his place once more, performing with the group – and contributing to the last Chi-Lites studio album, released in 2006, a year after Eugene Record’s death – until his death in 2014. Robert Lester passed away in 2010. Tara Thompson, Fred Simon, Mack Miller, Marzette Griffin, and Warren Tipton have now joined the Chi-Lites’ lone surviving member Marshall Thompson to keep the team going into the 2020s. In addition to scores of covers and samples of their classics and deep cuts (most notably, Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” sampled “Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)”), the Chi-Lites’ legacy has been bolstered by countless distinctions. The Chi-Lites are members of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, and the National Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame.
|The Fantastic Chi-Lites|
|Happy Being Lonely|
|Half a Love|
|A Letter to Myself|
|A Lonely Man|
|(For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People|
|I Like Your Lovin’ (Do You Like Mine?)|
|Give It Away|
Frequently Asked Questions
The Chi-Lites were an American soul group from Chicago, Illinois, originally formed in 1959 as The Hi-Lites. The group’s first hit record, “Give It Away”, was released in 1962 on the local Argo label. The record sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. The group’s next release, “Stingy Love”, was released in 1965 and reached No.
Who Is The Lead Singer Of The Chi-Lites?
The lead singer of the Chi-Lites is Eugene Record. Record was the primary songwriter and producer for the group, and he sang lead on most of their hits. He wrote and produced the group’s biggest hit, “Oh Girl,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1972.
How Many Hits Did The Chi-Lites Have?
The Chi-Lites had several hits, including “Have You Seen Her,” “Oh Girl,” and “ A Letter to Myself.” They were a popular soul group in the 1970s and are considered one of the best vocal groups of all time.