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Group Members: Major Harris
All Music Guide:
The Delfonics were one of the first groups to sing in the sleek, soulful style that became popularized (thanks to producer Thom Bell) as the "Philadelphia sound." A vocal trio made up of brothers William and Wilbert Hart and high school friend Randy Cain, the Delfonics roots go back to doo wop singing at school dances in the early '60s. They were well-known in the Philly area for their supple, airtight harmonic talent, which brought them to the attention of record producers, eventually landing them a contract with Cameo-Parkway. While their early records brought them little if any notice, it did bring them to the attention of producer/arranger Thom Bell, who signed the band to his soon-to-be influential soul label Philly Groove. Right from the start this was a perfect match as the band released the classic "La La Means I Love You" in 1968, a song that began a string of hits lasting into the mid-'70s.
The sound that Bell created for the Delfonics was the antithesis of the soul sound that came from Stax in Memphis and Muscle Shoals in Alabama. He sandpapered away the grit, lightened up on the backbeat, brought in string sections, and created a smooth, airy sound. Critics enamored of the soul singing of Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding accused Bell and his groups of creating aural wallpaper, but the reality was that Bell and the Delfonics were setting the stage for a different kind of groove where subtlety and nuance reigned.
The hits slowed for the Delfonics in the mid-'70s, and in 1971 Randy Cain quit the band and was replaced by Major Harris. A few more minor hits followed but Harris left the band for a solo career in 1975, effectively finishing the Delfonics. Multiple versions of the group toured, and one even released an album, Return, in 1981.
In the late '90s, the William Hart, Major Harris, and Frank Washington (of the Futures) version of the Delfonics appeared on Ghostface Killah's "After the Smoke Has Cleared." (The group had long been a frequent source of sampled material for hip-hop artists.) The band also played a significant musical role in Quentin Tarantino's film Jackie Brown. Tarantino, a '70s pop culture obsessive, used "La La Means I Love You" and their best single, "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," as a way of underscoring the relationship between actors Pam Grier and Robert Forster. In the film, Forster's character is so struck by the music (and Grier's character), he goes out and buys a Delfonics' Greatest Hits cassette the following day. Near the end of the decade, the William Hart-led version of the group released Forever New on the revived Volt label. Multiple forms of the group continued to exist through the 2000s. Composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Adrian Younge -- notable for his soundtrack to the 2009 blaxploitation comedy Black Dynamite, as well as Venice Dawn's Something About April -- sought William Hart to record an album-length project in which the singer was front and center. Hart obliged, and Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics was released on Wax Poetics in 2013.
The Delfonics are a pioneering Philadelphia soul singing group, popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Their most notable hits include "La-La (Means I Love You)", "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "Break Your Promise", "I'm Sorry", and "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)". Their hit songs were all written by songwriter and producer Thom Bell and lead vocalist and founder William Hart.
Their songs have been used extensively in film soundtracks, including Quentin Tarantino's 1997 movie Jackie Brown, in which "La-La (Means I Love You)" and "Didn't I Blow Your Mind" underscore the pivotal relationship between the characters played by Pam Grier and Robert Forster.
Their songs have been sampled extensively by various hip-hop and rap artists including: The Wu-Tang Clan, Fugees, Deltron 3030, The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Boyz II Men, Missy Elliott and DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince.
In addition, their songs have been covered by numerous other performers, including Aretha Franklin, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, New Kids on the Block, Fugees, Todd Rundgren, Prince, Swing Out Sister and The Manhattan Transfer.
Original group members were William and Wilbert Hart, Ritchie Daniels, and Randy Cain, whom they met at Overbrook High School in the 1960s. Their first recording, "He Don't Really Love You", was for Moon Shot in 1966. Daniels was drafted and left for the service in 1968. At Cameo, producer Stan Watson introduced them to producer Thom Bell, then working with Chubby Checker. With Cameo they recorded a popular tune called "You've Been Untrue". The group's first album, released on Watson's own Philly Groove record label, featured the smash hit "La-La (Means I Love You)" in 1968. The single sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. Four more Bell-produced albums appeared in the next few years: The Sound of Sexy Soul, The Delfonics Super Hits, The Delfonics and Tell Me This Is a Dream. Among the Delfonics' popular hits were the Grammy-winning "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "(For The Love) I Gave To You", "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)", and "Hey Love". Prior to the release of "La-La (Means I Love You)", they had a hit with "He Don't Really Love You" on the small Moonshot record label in 1966. The Delfonics and Bell had to work with a basic budget on the first creation as Thom explained "When I took them into the studio we didn't have any money to pay for string players and an orchestra so I played most of the instruments myself!" - a far cry from the full classical productions from 1968 to the beginning of the seventies. "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)" also sold a million copies and by March 1970 received a gold disc from the R.I.A.A..
Randy Cain left the group in 1971, and in 1973 had a hand in formulating Blue Magic, best known for their classic "Sideshow," when he brought singer-songwriter Ted Mills in to do some writing for W.M.O.T. (We Men Of Talent), and the remaining future members of Blue Magic came in for an audition. Cain was replaced by Major Harris; by then, however, Thom Bell had moved on to produce The Stylistics and later, The Spinners, all artists in the mold of the Delfonics. The Delfonics swiftly produced another album, Alive & Kicking, produced by Stan Watson. However, in the absence of Thom Bell, the Delfonics' career declined sharply, and with the exception of the aforementioned "Hey Love" and the minor hits "When You Get Right Down to It", "I Don't Want To Make You Wait" and "I Told You So", success eluded them after 1975. ("(For The Love) I Gave To You", although popular, was never released as a single.) Most of their songs at this point were written by lead singer William Hart.
The group split around 1975; one group featured Major and Wilbert, with new member Frank Washington, formerly of the Futures. (Major Harris also had major success with the solo recording "Love Won't Let Me Wait"). The other group featured William with new members. Lineups would become confusing as members shifted between groups and multiple groups toured. Major Harris moved to William's group around 1980, with their third member being the returning Randy Cain. Frank Washington also switched from Wilbert's group, joining in 1985.
While the main recording lineup of the group was William Hart, Major Harris, and Frank Washington, they would tour as two separate trios with additional members added. One group featured William, Randy Cain, and Garfield Fleming, and the other consisted of Frank, Major, and Freddy Ingleton. William also toured with another line up consisting of himself, Johnny ("JJ") Johnson and Pat Palmer, and toured in Japan at least one time with Ingleton and Dr. Salaam Love.
1980s and on 
Through the 1980s and the 1990s, the Delfonics groups continued to perform. The William Hart/Major Harris/Frank Washington group made several recordings, including backing vocals on the track "After the Smoke has Cleared", on the 1996 hip hop album Ironman by Ghostface Killah. Their works continued to be sampled. Rapper The Notorious B.I.G. sampled "Hey Love" in his song "Playa Hata", released in 1996, and that same year rapper Nas sampled their "Walk Right Up To the Sun" for his hit "If I Ruled the World." Rapper Missy Elliott sampled "Ready Or Not Here I Come" in her hit "Sock it 2 Me." Eazy-E, Gang Starr, and Ed OG have sampled "Trying To Make a Fool of Me."
The groups reorganized in the late 1990s. William Hart started touring with Johnny Johnson and Garfield Fleming; this group recorded as the Delfonics. Major Harris toured with Frank Washington and Pat Palmer."Bands: The Delfonics". Actoneentertainment.net. Retrieved 2012-11-14. Wilbert also led a Delfonics group; members in the 1990s included Salaam Love (formerly in William's group) and Eban Brown (falsetto)."Wil Hart & The Delphonics". Utopia Artists. Retrieved 2012-11-14. They were replaced by Greg Hill (former bassist for Teddy Riley & New Edition) and Van Fields (who joined Eban in the Stylistics until 2011). One year after Greg joined the group, A good friend of Wilbert told him about a talented first tenor named Joe Branch. Joe sang with a number of local groups including The Dynamics along with (Lillo Thomas). Wilbert then asked Greg to bring Joe down to one of the rehearsals and Joe eventually replaced Van Fields as the new lead vocalist.
The William/Johnny/Garfield lineup of the group was featured in concert on the DVD's The Big Show and '70's Soul Jam, whereas Wilbert Hart's group with Greg Hill and Joe Branch are featured on the DVD Old School Soul Party Live!, which was part of the PBS My Music series. Harris is also featured on the re-released DVD Blue Magic/Margie Joseph/Major Harris Live!, which was recorded in 1975. The current line-up is William Hart, Garfield Fleming, and Johnnie Johnson
Recent times 
Garfield Fleming left the group and was replaced by Frank Washington, who subsequently left around 2003 to join The Spinners. The position was then filled by Johnney Smalls. Johnny Johnson left shortly thereafter and joined The Fonics and Pat Palmer was brought in as replacement. The band now consisted of William Hart, Major Harris, Pat Palmer and Johnney Smalls and continued to tour thereafter. Major Harris died on November 9, 2012.
Wilbert also continues to tour with his Delfonics group (Joe Branch and Salaam Love) sometimes called "The Delphonics", "The New Delfonics" or simply billed as "Wilbert Hart." Wilbert's group released a CD in 2005 with Joe Branch and Greg Hill, Fonic Zone. Wilbert Hart, Greg Hill and Joe Branch had been touring together for the past fifteen years. Along with touring, the trio recorded a single with Rick Ross entitled "Here For U". Greg Hill has since left Wilbert Hart's Delfonics and is currently touring with his own group called The Delfonics Revue featuring himself, Tommy Moore and Salaam Love while William Hart's group periodically performs on the "70s Soul Jam Tour".
Original Members 
Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1965 and originally known as the Four Gents, the Delfonics classic lineup featured:William Hart (born January 17, 1945, Washington, D.C.)Wilbert Hart (born October 19, 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)Randy Cain (born Rudy Cain May 2, 1945, Philadelphia; died April 9, 2009, Maple Shade Township, New Jersey)