Two Philadelphia bands, The Percussions and The Monarchs were dissolving in 1970. From the ashes of these two soul bands came The Stylistics. Russell Thompkins Jr., James Smith, and Airron Love of The Monarchs joined up with James Dunn and Herbie Murrell of The Percussions and recorded a single,
|Break Up To Make Up||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|Payback Is A Dog||Rockin' Roll Baby||2000|
|I'm Stone In Love With You||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|Let's Put It All Together||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|Children Of The Night||Round 2||1992|
|Hits Medley||Love Talk||1991|
|Thank You Baby||The Best Of The Stylistics, Vol.2||1976|
|Stylistics - You Are Everything||The Best of the Stylistics||1975|
|Betcha By Golly Wow||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|The Lion Sleeps Tonight||Greatest Hits [BR Music]||2002|
|Stop, Look, Listen||The Stylistics||1995|
|Maybe It's Love This Time||Hurry Up This Way Again||2011|
|Can't Help Falling In Love||Greatest Love Hits||1974|
|My Funny Valentine||All-Time Classics: The Stylistics||1976|
|Always On My Mind||Love Talk||1991|
|Stop Look Listen To Your Heart||The Very Best Of The Stylistics...And More!||2005|
|Heavy Fallin' Out||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|You And Me||Round 2||1992|
|The Stylistics - People Make The World Go Round.||The Best of the Stylistics||1975|
|I Just Don't Know What To Do||Love Talk||1991|
|It Started Out||Hurry Up This Way Again||2011|
|Stylistics - Betcha By Golly, Wow||The Best of the Stylistics [Amherst]||1975|
|Rockin' Roll Baby||The Best Of The Stylistics||1995|
|If I Love You||The Stylistics||1995|
|People Make The World Make Go Round||The Urban Soul Series - The Stylistics||2010|
|Can't Give You Anything||Greatest Love Hits||1974|
|You Make Me Feel Brand New||Greatest Love Hits||1974|
|Hurry Up This Way Again||Live In Norfolk||2006|
|You'll Never Get To Heaven||The Best Of The Stylistics, Vol.2||1976|
|You're A Big Girl Now||The Stylistics||1995|
|You Are Everything||The Stylistics||1995|
|People Make The World Go Round||The Stylistics||1995|
We would be on the road performing one single and next thing we knew there was another one going up so all we were doing, as they were coming out and reaching their peak, we would just add them to the show as we went a along. It helped us create a show to present to our audiences.
Out of Ruin . . .
Two Philadelphia bands, The Percussions and The Monarchs were dissolving in 1970. From the ashes of these two soul bands came The Stylistics. Russell Thompkins Jr., James Smith, and Airron Love of The Monarchs joined up with James Dunn and Herbie Murrell of The Percussions and recorded a single, You’re a Big Girl Now. The song became a regional success, and The Stylistics became a solid crew.
Their producer at that time, Thom Bell, did not have a lot of faith in the group, but was impressed with the lead singer, Russell Thompkins, Jr., and featured him almost exclusively in their recordings. The first three albums produced a handful of hit singles, including Betcha By Golly, Wow, which went to #3 on the US charts; I'm Stone in Love with and You Break Up To Make Up, which both peaked at #5; and You Make Me Feel Brand New, to name a few.
Struggle to Stay on Top
In 1974, the group split from Thom Bell, which led to a devastating drop in popularity. They tried to find a producer who could help them climb back on top, but to no avail. Interestingly, as their popularity was dropping in the United States, it was catapulting in the United Kingdom. In 1975, Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love) went to #1 in the UK. Throughout the 1970s, however, the band saw a steady decline in record sales.
As disco and new wave music hit the scene, The Stylistics had more and more difficulty competing for air play. In 1979, the band had a small role in the movie, Hair. They play a group of conservative police officers who double Nell Carter in singing White Boys. From 1976 to 1979, they released six albums, to a smaller and smaller fan base.
The Later Years
In 1980, the roster changed as Dunn and Smith left the band. Replacements were made, but after the dust settled, They Stylistics were a trio. They continued to tour until 2000, keeping a cult following of their most solid fans. The dawning of the internet brought a surge in followers, with the availability of mp3 singles to download on line. Certain singles from The Stylistics will always be deemed classics.
They continued to record through the 1990s but with consistently mixed reviews. In 1994, their song People Make the World Go Round was used by Spike Lee for his movie, Crooklyn, and their hit, I Can’t Give You Anything (But my Love) was used in a Japanese commercial in 2006 for a hair styling product.
Did you know . . .
Stylistic hits have been covered and recorded more than thirty times.
The Stylistics were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 2007, The Stylistics were voted Soultracks.com’s most popular group.