World-renowned for their Gold-selling mid-`70s hits “Boogie Fever” and also “Hot Line” on Capitol Records, The Sylvers to be a bright clues of the `70s. The 9-strong family of handsome brothers and foxy sisters jockeyed because that Soul dominance with The Jacksons family. Though they’d tape-recorded one single for Verve documents in 1971 (“I’m simply a Lonely Soul” b/w “Come On, give Me a Chance”), the Sylvers caught on in your ar like wildfire the adhering to year (1972) v their eponymous debut LP ~ above Pride/MGM Records. It featured two huge hits: the haunting love track “Wish the I can Talk to You” and the funky, thought-provoking post “Fool’s Paradise.” The team was instantly noted for its innovative harmonic blend, self-contained creativity and also all around an excellent looks…crowned by the many perfectly rounded Afros well-known to mankind. The bulk of the songs on The Sylvers’ albums (including the hits) were composed by Leon Sylvers III who’d springboard right into a incredible career as a producer/writer in the SOLAR Records household of the `8os and also beyond, scoring hits because that Shalamar, the Whispers and Dynasty in-house and Gladys knight & The Pips, Evelyn “Champagne” King and also others.

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However, inside of their stardom raged a storm. The Sylvers experienced a cable of crippling tragedies causing substance and alcohol abuse, incarceration, parole violations, homelessness, mental and also physical wellness challenges, household infighting and also financial hardship. Olympia (the eldest) lived v a violent and also harrowing kidnapping. The youngest, Christopher (never a member the the to sing group), passed away at period 18 from hepatitis. And mighty lead singer, Edmund Sylvers, passed in 2004 from lung cancer at age 47.

The Sylvers disbanded in the mid-`80s…but ~ above Thursday, September 21, 2017 in ~ The rose Theater in Pasadena, California (where Foster Sylvers to be born in 1962), 7 of the eight members took the phase for the first time in end 30 years. In age order, they are Olympia, Leon, James, Ricky, Angie, Pat and also Foster. An eighth member, Charmaine (now an accountant), was no on stage since she is recuperating indigenous injuries however present supporting her family’s historical reunion.

KJLH-FM ‘s Roland Bynum gift the all-ages-welcome “Throwback Thursday” routine under the banner “Old school Block Party,” including sensational neighborhood singer LaQuita and a revue referred to as The heart Vibers. Bynum, celebrate his 50th anniversary in Los Angeles radio, was excited.

“Leon and I have had actually an recurring relationship due to the fact that the `70s,” Bynum states. “He’s a workaholic - constantly doing music - constantly calling me to meet him in a restaurant or in his auto to pat me stuff he’s working on. My mam said, ‘The Sylvers haven’t performed in 30 years. What a good reunion - because that them and the community.’ i said, ‘Carolyn, you are absolutely right.’”!

Robert DeVaughn that Pasadena, who never ever saw The Sylvers, claimed a girlfriend told him around the show and he might not miss it. “I remember their songs and also ‘Soul Train’ mirrors on TV,” the shared. Tyrone Smith, “a huge fan,” trekked out from Imperial and also Hoover in South main L.A. As soon as he heard around The Sylvers’ reunion ~ above the radio. “I just feel something when I hear their songs. ‘Hot Line’ makes you wanna obtain up and dance…reminds me of new Edition’s ‘Mr. Telephone Man’”. Tal Hawkins, in the home showing love and also support, proudly mutual that that played electric bass for The Sylvers for 3 years in your heyday; a hot seat as Leon Sylvers is not just a good bassist however a perfectionist together a band leader. “I got the gig when I to be 19. We played the United claims extensively; Madison Square Garden and also a week at the Apollo theater in Harlem as soon as The Temptations were continuing to be in the same hotel was standing out. It to be the best musical experience of my life.”

Before the Sylvers take it the stage, Bynum review a certificate of acknowledgment from Congresswoman Maxine Waters citing the group’s “significant function in the background of American heart Music in the `70s”. Huge Brother Leon crept onstage - fully dressed in his phase attire - come personally give every one of the microphones a final check. Then…it to be showtime. Bynum presented The Sylvers come a tsunami the cheers from a house complete of family, friends and also fans.

For a an initial show after 30+ years – come track, sans a live band – this to be a strong very first effort. Pat, who never stopped to sing after the group damaged up thanks to she music ministry, was the strongest most continual lead to sing presence. Foster, in the zero of phenomenal Edmund, had brilliant moments yet needs come relax and also make himself at home within those numbers so he can deliver the vocals while tho commanding the stage as a world class front male entertainer. The group, together a unit, is tight and unified. With new material such together the solitary “How carry out You say Goodbye” indigenous a forthcoming album, The Sylvers – No Compromise, that is an ext faith-based and message-oriented, they will have the perfect balance of people-pleasing hits plus song of urgency for complicated days in the human being at large.

Sam Watson, exhilaration manager because that The Sylvers, can not be prouder. “When i was an extremely poor coming up (late `70s/early `80s), i met the Sylvers. I started “The Sam Watson Celebrity Basketball Game.” I placed the Sylvers, Marvin Gaye, Switch and also The Whispers top top the court to raise money for high schools – Locke, Crenshaw, Dorsey, L.A. High. Kids loved seeing your teachers go up versus the singers, actors prefer Eric Laneuville and also young baseball star Darryl Strawberry. Leon and Ricky were two of my best players.

“I never ever forgot The Sylvers,” Watson adds. “When they no doing nothin’, I’d examine on them. Ns promised their mother Shirley, prior to she died, that I’d do anything to help them. I’ve done well because that myself together a boxing manager and concert promoter (mentored by Al Haymon). Now, (The Sylvers) space happening again.

I will work-related for them for complimentary forever due to the fact that they assisted me once I to be nothing.

“This is a an excellent time because that them come work,” Watson concludes. “They’re law the ‘Tom Joyner great Voyage Cruise’ in April. They can play casinos, fairs, overseas – anywhere! yes sir a entirety bunch of Sylvers. Except for Edmund, they’re all still living… it is what i’m betting on. You can’t beat original.”

A week before the show, sit in the watts Labor Community action Committee (WLCAC) on central Avenue where they to be rehearsing - right roughly the edge from where they offered to live – Pat, James, Olympia, Ricky and also Foster reflect on the circuitous course that carried them ago together. Your memories are intensified by phone conversations carried out with Leon, Charmaine and also Angie. This commemorative piece marks the first time that the voices of every the life Sylvers have actually been gathered with each other in print in decades.

THE COMEBACK

Angie: It to be our mom passing the made it serious. We realized we don’t have a totality lot the time left. We’re either going to line up and also do the or we’re not.

Leon: everyone voices were still cool. We just needed commitment. Everybody had actually to be ready to have the time to perform it.

Pat: even after being taken advantage of financially by our old manager, us made a cumulative decision – in spite of our fury – the God forgave united state so we are to forgive others. Currently we can move ~ above to greater heights and also deeper depths as a result of our learning. We’re all set to carry out things appropriate - to examine situations and people come make sure we are trying out the finest avenues.

James: we are an ext in accord with each various other than ever before. We’re finding out to productivity to one another. Concerning any kind of mistakes, we’re forgiving each other. At this time, when there are so countless disturbances keep going in the world, ns happy because God is giving us a component to play.

FAMILY

Olympia: ours father would certainly hear united state singing in the earlier room; he taught us four-part harmony. Mine mother had a music degree in college researching opera. It wasn’t hard for us. They filled ours bodies through joy.

Angie: to sing was never fun to me uneven I walk it v my family. Not because we’re super near - brief of functioning together, us really only see each other on holidays and also birthdays. The guys hang out and the girls hang out. I’m no saying we’re no close…but i don’t want human being to have actually this false impression that we’re increase under each various other 24/7.

GROWING up IN “WATTS-ANGELES”

Leon: once we first moved indigenous Memphis come Los Angeles, us lived close to Adams and Crenshaw. Ns was three. Us didn’t get to Watts till I to be 12. That was just Moms and also us. Downsizing into a smaller house, we had actually to adjust. Later on, she brother/our uncle come out and helped. So, we had actually a man figure around for a minute. As I was going into 12th grade, we gained a document deal indigenous MGM.

Foster: once I to be at 111TH Street School, they called me ‘white boy’ for this reason I had to fight a lot. Ns ran right into a most jealousy. Girl asked if they can comb mine afro. I’d it is in sitting there with four girls combing my `fro…and dudes wanted to kill me! ns run into grown men to this day who phone call me to mine face, ‘I hated you, man. My girlfriend wouldn’t kiss me until she took her poster down first.’

Pat: It acquired to the allude where Leon said, “You’re going come learn just how to fight.” He brought me, Angie and also Foster into the life room, called Ricky come come in then said he wanted united state to fight Ricky as hard as us could. Ricky said, ‘I can acquire `em through one hand bound behind my back!’ So, Leon bound Ricky’s hand yet he didn’t expect us to walk off ~ above him like we did. We knocked him on the ground! Leon was shocked the we had actually that in us. Us weren’t angry kids. We always had each various other backs.

Ricky: We live on 114th & Success . The document store that Leon would send me to pick up all the recent James Brown and also Temptations 45s to be right across the tracks. Olympia and Charmaine had actually all the cutest girl in the tasks gravitating toward our house. They would be doing modern-day dance in the backyard with leotards and shorts on. There’d be 50 civilization out over there in minutes! “Olan” (the name family members calls Olympia) was the Queen bee - the best-looking girl in the hood.

Angie: us were out of Nickerson Gardens by the time I to be 12. Us moved into the Wilshire area then Palos Verdes, The Valley…we lived down the street native The Jacksons. They were on Hayvenhurst and also we to be on Woodley. We’ve resided in every county other than Orange County!

LEARNING their CRAFT

James: us performed at Nixon’s inauguration. What great me was Frank Sinatra comes on after ~ us. We sat down and watched him. Someone 5 rows under said, “Is it warm in right here to friend guys?” It to be Bob Hope. Us performed at Marineland parks roughly the nation thanks come him.

Charmaine: We started out singing together The little Angels then stopped for a while. Once we moved to Watts, the budget changed for schools and they stopped hiring security guards. Children started bringing firearms to school. That’s as soon as we started singing for real! We had actually to obtain out! We ended up in Vegas. (Singer/dancer/movie star) Ann Margret to be the first to hire us. Us were doing cover songs like The Beatles’ “Yesterday” with our initial arrangements and choreography. Claude Thompson (an initial Alvin Ailey danced company alumnus who operated with black color cabaret legend Josephine Baker) saw what we might do and also was established not to change anything, only boost it with lighting and staging.

Once the first album come out, we did a lot of TV <“Soul Train,” “American Bandstand,” “Dinah,” “The Mike Douglas Show,” “Black Omnibus”>. The very first local club us did was the Whisky a Go-Go in West Hollywood. I chosen performing in clubs. In big places, every you listen is screams and also howling – it’s practically surreal. You can not really check out anybody because they’re every so far away. But the clubs you can acquire right down in it. We likewise performed in ~ Cow royal residence (San Francisco). New York was really fun. As soon as the curtain opened up at the Apollo, they had tambourines, congas and drums in the audience - partying harder than us!

Ricky: once we came into show business, for a team to get ‘turned out’ was an day-to-day thing. If Bobby Womack, Al green or Marvin Gaye showed up, you can forget it. We knew at an early stage in the game what we were increase against. ~ above the other hand, us were top top a display with Eddie Kendricks when he had actually “Keep top top Truckin’” out. The looked at us and also said, “I nothing understand. I’ve gained the #1 document in the country but all these girls space out here holding increase y’all’s pictures!” appropriate On! magazine had actually just come out and all those girls had our posters on their walls. We had a solid fan base.

STRUGGLE

Ricky: once I was in prison, i was the head the the choir. Castle didn’t even know just how to counting a tune off! The C.O. Would watch me and also this various other dude singing after dinner every night in ours dorm. The Mexicans, Blacks and also Whites would certainly all watch united state sing. We didn’t have actually the fights the other buildings had. So, the C.O. Would certainly come over and sing through us. He’s the one who sent me to Soledad 1 garden – the last band room in the penitentiary system. We had actually microphones, guitars, a drum machine. Ns learned come sing and play etc at the same time. At the end of mine sentence three years later, ns sounded good.

When Pat stated she want to sing “In the Time” at Mama’s funeral, ns said, ‘Don’t worry. I gained this!’ I’d been to sing it in jail for years.

Foster: mine (upcoming) solo album was not done conventionally. Ns wrote and also recorded it in my automobile – a PT Cruiser. The engine blew, so the auto sat near Crenshaw and Coliseum for 5 months. In ~ first, ns was mad yet the lord said, “Be still”. So, ns sat there and also wrote end 50 songs. The mr told me go earlier to basics. I wasted two decades of mine life. I want to aid the younger generation find their minds. They’re rapid to say, ‘I’m smarter 보다 you. Ns cuter 보다 you.’ The Lord preserved me come come back and say, “You know what, Champ? ns a ‘Survivor of Stardom.’ What we believed was ‘fun’ was in reality a yoke.

REMEBERING EDMUND

Ricky: as soon as Edmund was 5 and I was 3, our father sat united state in a big rocking sofa chair while that was teaching Leon and also James vocal parts. We had actually an ear by the moment Leon started providing us notes. I was joking every the time. Edmund was much more serious when it involved lead singing. Me and also Edmund watched The tiny Angels. Foster, Pat and also Angie watched The Sylvers. Currently our kids and grandkids watch us.

Foster: I’m acquiring abs from singing Edmund’s leads! “Hot Line” alone is wearing my throat out. It offered me a brand-new perspective ~ above what Edmund go on that stage, night-in and night-out. Before he died, i told Edmund, ‘You must have gotten a little much more money because that the hard work friend did.’

NEW MUSIC

James: ~ above “Fool’s Paradise,” Leon wrote, “I didn’t do this world / ns was only born / that’s everybody’s perspective whose life was torn / Life’s no what you make it / the what the upper course make it seem come you.” that’s still walking on today. Our calling is because that our concert to lull people.

Leon: The new album (forthcoming) is dubbed The Sylvers: No Compromise. The spiritual, faith-based lyrics - music around real life - modern-day and R&B style.

The very first single is “How execute You speak Goodbye”. I initially recorded the on a young group, EK System, special my kid Leon IV and daughter Lea. But when Edmund and also my mother passed on, the Sylvers dedicated that track to them.

Pat: four months ago, Olympia shed her husband. This tune is happen healing even in rehearsing it. It’s about letting go. Over there is such ministry in the lyrical content. 

NEW HORIZONS

Ricky: it’s like beginning all over again due to the fact that we’ve been turn off for so long. Plus, the a lot much more rehearsal 보다 we figured!

Angie: singing will aid build mine paralegal business…open doors for whatever else we desire to do to aid people. God will use us to assist heal a dice world.

Charmaine: i hope to be ago soon…but they’re walk to be fine. Ago in the day i was mine Mom’s helper, for this reason I’ve constantly been the “Mother/Sister” behind the scenes. As soon as I came off stage, there to be costumes that required to it is in disinfected due to the fact that they were soaked v with sweat. I’d hang `em up, struggle `em through the punch dryer, spray `em v Lysol! i’m proud that them. Some of the brand-new songs, which i sang on in the studio, are the ideal we’ve ever before done…ever!

Pat: This is just the very first of countless things we’re around to do. By no method are we also old come perform. God has provided us open up doors and blessed united state to come back. He’s maintained our name the end there all these years v motion images (“Despicable Me”) and television (“The Unit”). Ns saw now coming in the midst of points that no look prefer this would involved pass. As soon as I came to the lord (she is now co-founding Minister, with husband Lorne Deruso, that Season the Omega Christian Center). God provided me a promise the I would sing through my family again. There was a point where ns was almost going to offer up. The said, ‘Don’t stop praying.’

From the bottom of ours hearts, we desire to thank all of the faithful for never ever forgetting around us. You have actually been together champions… weathering v us v the storm that waiting.

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(The writer acknowledges Lorne Deruso, E. Mesiyah McGinnis, Teri Littlejohn, Lawrence Worrell, Greg Johnson and Eric Thrasher for assistance with this report.)

Contributing Writer A. Scott Galloway is a prolific Baldwin Vista-based Music journalist who has composed end 300 liner keep in mind essays uncovered within reissues of standard albums top top CD and also anthologies, consisting of The Sylvers standard Masters (Capitol records – 2002).