Who was he? What happened to him?

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Who was he? What happened to him?

About William Hart

The Delfonics’ main singer William “Poogie” Hart has passed away. Hadi Hart, the late singer-son, songwriter tells TMZ that Hart was admitted to Philadelphia’s Temple University Hospital for breathing problems before passing away on Thursday, July 14, as a result of post-operative complications. He was 77.

The Delfonics, who had successes like “La – La – Means I Love You” (No. 5, 1968) and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” were one of the key figures in Philadelphia’s burgeoning soul movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s (No. 10, 1970). 

The group collaborated with renowned local writer-producer Thom Bell to produce a smoother, more blissed-out soul sound than is typically found in the poppier, snappier hits from the Motown assembly line in Detroit or the grittier, funkier singles emerging from Stax/Volt in Memphis. The group’s lush, dreamy harmonies matched Bell’s symphonic mini-soundscapes.

Together with his brother Wilbert, Hart co-founded the Delfonics (then known as the Orphonics) in Philadelphia. Randy Cain and Major Harris later joined the group to complete its iconic line-up. They initially collaborated with Bell at the renowned local label Cameo-Parkway, where they signed, but soon after Cameo-Parkway shut down in 1967, they were transferred to Philly Groove Records. The 1968 release of La La Means I Love You produced three top 40 hits: the title song, “I’m Sorry” (which peaked at No. 42), and “Break Your Promise” (No. 35).

William Hart’s success

Hart’s falsetto-heavy vocals helped him stand out as the group’s main singer right away. They were captivating and forceful, and the way he leaned into some phrases, such as “Many boys have come to you with a line that wasn’t true,” made them instantly memorable.

 Hart and Bell co-wrote the majority of the group’s biggest successes, which was unique for the time. They created sophisticated tunes that knew when to back off in favour of a catchy chorus and swoon-worthy melodies but nevertheless had a contemporary edge.

The Delfonics’ success persisted throughout the early ’70s. It probably peaked with the release of their self-titled album in 1970, which peaked at No. 61 on the Billboard 200 albums list. 

William Hart

The song “Didn’t I” from the album even won a Grammy in 1971 for best R&B vocal performance by a pair or group. But after Harris’ solo breakthrough with the Hot 100 No. 5 single “Love Won’t Let Me Wait” in 1974, and the emergence of higher-energy Philly soul in the middle of the decade (which set the way for disco’s domination in the late ’70s), the group faltered commercially and split in two in 1975. In the decades that followed, both iterations of the band continued to perform despite the fact that their initial albums were sparse and not particularly popular.

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