Peak UK Chart Position: #1 in August 1975.
Back forty-one years, and notching up their third and final week atop the UK charts on this day in 1975 were one of Philadelphia’s finest (and most successful) soul groups.
The Stylistics were led by Russell Thompkins Jr, famed for his high-pitched tenor and falsetto vocals (leading my mother to believe, for many years, that they had a female lead singer – reference the album cover below!). Their UK success started with the track “Betcha By Golly Wow” (#13 in 1972, later covered by Prince as ‘The Artist’ and getting to #11 in 1996), and was followed by “I’m Stone In Love With You” which got to number nine and became the first of ten top ten hits.
Over a period of five years, they chalked up an impressive sixteen consecutive top forty hits – including a cover of the Elvis Presley number one “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, with their version being at a much quicker tempo. Their success led them to become one of the few US acts to have two UK number one greatest hits albums. And talking of albums, here’s the one I remember seeing (and listening to) growing up…
The group are still active, but minus Thompkins Jr who left in 2000. He went on to form ‘Russell Thompkins Jr and the New Stylistics’ in 2004, also still active. Here’s a cracking, albeit faster, version of “I Can’t Give You Anything” – their only number one single – recorded on 1st August 1975 at the Cunard International Hotel, London, for television.