Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Whispers – And The Beat Goes On

Classics: The Whispers- And The Beat Goes On (SOLAR)

‘And The Beat Goes On’ is most definitely a quintessential track on many aspects. First, because it provided The Whispers their very first #1 in both the US R&B and Dance Charts. Second, because it started an impressive series of hot jams courtesy of producer Leon F Sylvers III. And third, because it most likely set up the standards such as we know them in the nowadays’ R&B production. Opening the path for producers such as Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, L.A. & Babyface or Teddy Riley to name but a few…

‘And The Beat Goes On’ also pretty much established a Californian label – SOLAR – among the forces to count with at the time. Competing for supremacy with its NYC alter egos such as Prelude, West End, SAM Records and Salsoul. With groups like Shalamar, Dynasty and / or Lakeside.

An influential track, many artists sampled it. From Monie Love to Madonna. But also Will Smith and C.J. Lewis. Not to mention Commander Tom. Family Choice covering it back in 1981 in a version retitled ‘Reggae Beat Goes On’.

Overview
Texas natives Walter and Wallace Scott formed The Whispers soon after moving to Los Angeles, CA back in 1964. Eventually joined by Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson and Gordy Harmon which Leaveil Degree replaced in 1973 after he injured his larynx in a car crash. The Whispers releasing their self-titled debut-album back in 1969 on Soul Clock.

The band had moderate success though until they started working with producer Leon F Sylvers III (Shalamar, Dynasty, Lakeside…). Their second eponymous album, released in 1979 including the memorable ‘And The Beat Goes On’ and ‘Out The Box’. 2 gems in an infectious vein which The Whispers set their new reputation on. Following the vibe with tracks such as ‘It’s A Love Thing’ and ‘I Can’t Make It Better For You’. But also ‘In The Raw’, ‘Tonight’ and ‘Contagious’. Not to mention ‘Rock Steady’ which saw them collaborating with the then emerging production pair made of L.A. & Babyface. As a matter of fact, it’s fair to say the band had their heyday on SOLAR.

Switching to Capitol Records with the release of their ‘More Of The Night’ album featuring the Robert Brookins produced ‘Innocent’, they started losin’ their status from then. Delivering a majority of M.O.R. R&B/Soul cuts.

Marcus Hutson left the group in 1992 due to prostate cancer and sadly died of it in 2000.

Nicholas Caldwell sadly passed of congestive heart failure on Jan. 05, 2016 at his Stockton, San Joaquin County, CA home.

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