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The Chi-Lites Biography

Home > Music > C > Chi-Lites, The > Biography

Birth Place: Chicago, United States
Years Active: 1960 — present
Genres: Soul

The Chi-Lites is a soul group formed in the late 1950s in Chicago and led by Eugene Record that came into prominence in the 1970s. The group consisted of Record, Robert Squirrel Lester, Clarence Johnson, Marshall Thompson and Creadel “Red” Jones. Johnson left in 1965 and Jones left in 1973, being replaced by Stanley Anderson, then Willie Kensey, and finally, Doc Roberson. Shortly thereafter, Record left, and David Scott and Danny Johnson, who was replaced by Vandy Hampton in 1977, joined.

Record was the group's primary songwriter and wrote two of the group's biggest hits, 1971’s “Have You Seen Her” and 1972’s “Oh Girl” which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart.

Despite the group’s success and strong fan base, the continual line-up changes began to take its toll on group by the end of the 1970s when they disbanded.

In 1980 Record, Thompson, Jones, and Lester reunited – with Jones leaving in 1982 and the group finally becoming a trio. For the next six years the group toured, put out records and continued to be successful.

In 1988 Record's departed once again with Frank Reed replacing him. Anthony Watson also joined the group at this time as an additional vocalist. In 1997, while returning home from a concert in Pennsylvania, the Chi-Lites were involved in a serious car crash which resulted in both Reed and Thompson's wife Constance being ejected from the vehicle. Constance died from her injuries and Reed had to have a metal plate inserted in his back.

The group was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2000 with Record performing on stage with his former bandmates to accept the award. Thompson was jailed in 2001 and Reed returned to the group temporarily to take his place. Upon Thompson's return, Reed decided to remain permanently with the group as the lead vocalist. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005 and released their 16th studio album, “Low Key,” in 2006. This line-up of Thompson, Lester, Reed, and Thompson's wife Tara Henderson on background vocals, remained stable until the death of Lester in 2010 from cancer. Fred Simon of The Lost Generation joined the group to replace Lester and to perform bass vocals.