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Monday, December 8, 2008

The Stylistics Discography

The Stylistics. were formed in 1968 from the fragments of two Philadelphia groups, the Monarchs and the Percussions, by:

Russell Thompkins Jnr. (b. 21st March 1951, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Airrion Love (b. 8th October 1951, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

James Smith (b. 16th June 1950, New York City, U.S.A.)

Herbie Murrell (b. 27th April 1949, Lane, South Carolina, U.S.A.)

and James Dunn (b. 4th February 1950, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.).


Signing to Avco Records, The Stylistics began working with producer Thom Bell, who had already produced a catalogue of hits for The Delfonics, and songwriter Linda Creed. Bell imported the sweet soul techniques he had perfected with The Delfonics, and his arrangements worked perfectly with Thompkins' falsetto. The bittersweet lyrics from Creed were a key factor in creating hugely memorable music. They had their first U.S. hit in 1971 with "You're a Big Girl Now".

Their hits — distilled from three albums — from this period included "Betcha by Golly Wow!" (U.S. #3), "I'm Stone in Love with You", "Break Up To Make Up" (U.S. #5), "You Make Me Feel Brand New" featuring a double lead with Love, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" and "You Are Everything". "You Make Me Feel Brand New" was the group's biggest U.S. hit, holding at #2 for two weeks in the spring of 1974, and was one of five U.S. gold singles the Stylistics collected. The Stylistics' smooth sound also found an easier path onto adult contemporary airwaves than other soul artists, and the group made Billboard magazine's Easy Listening singles chart twelve times from 1971 to 1976, with three entries ("Betcha by Golly Wow!," "You Make Me Feel Brand New," and "You'll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart)") reaching the Top 10. This commercial success was not confined only to the U.S., with the band also having big hits with this material throughout Europe.

The group split with Thom Bell in 1974, and the split proved commercially devastating to the group's success in the U.S. Just as with The Delfonics, The Stylistics were to some extent a vehicle for Bell's own creativity. They struggled hard to find producers who could come up with the right material, and partnerships with Hugo & Luigi and Van McCoy were notably less successful. They left Avco for H&L Records and the Stylistics' popularity rapidly declined in the U.S. However, just as that success began to wane, their popularity in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom, increased. Indeed, the lighter 'pop' sound fashioned by Van McCoy and Hugo and Luigi gave the band a UK Number one in 1975 with "I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)". Further successes with "Na Na is the Saddest Word", "Funky Weekend" and "Can't Help Falling in Love" consolidated the band's European popularity.

Notwithstanding this, the Stylistics began to struggle with what many saw as increasingly weak material after 1976. Although the singles and albums came out as before, chart success vanished. This decline also coincided with the rise of New Wave in Europe around this time. It was also stated by Russell Thompkins Jr. (in the re-issue sleevenotes for the 1976 album Fabulous) that the band began to feel that the music they were recording was becoming increasingly dated, and not in keeping with the emerging disco sound of the late 1970s.

In 1980, James Dunn departed due to health problems, and James Smith left shortly thereafter. The group continued, recruiting new member Raymond Johnson, and releasing the album Some Things Never Change, in 1985. Johnson departed shortly afterward, leaving the group a trio. Love, Murrell, and Thompkins continued to tour until 2000, when original lead Russell Thompkins, Jr. left. Love and Murrell brought in two new members, Harold "Eban" Brown, formerly of the Delfonics, as lead (who sounds amazingly like a young Russell Thompkins), and tenor Van Fields. The present group is featured live on the DVD's "The Stylistics Live at the Convention Center" (2006), as well as along with other artists of the 1970s on the DVD "The Big Show."

In 2004, Russell Thompkins, Jr. started a new group, the New Stylistics, with the returning Raymond Johnson, James Ranton, and Jonathan Buckson. They are featured on the DVD "Old School Soul Party Live!," which was part of the PBS "My Music" series.

In 2006, their hit single "I Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)" was used as the base for a Japanese advertisement campaign by Gatsby to launch their new male hair styling product "Moving Rubber". The campaign was highly successful due in no small part to the catchy nature of the tune and that the commercial featured one of Japan's most popular celebrities Takuya Kimura of the pop group SMAP. They were also featured guests on SMAP's television show SMAPXSMAP one of the highest rated shows in Japan to promote the "Moving Rubber" product with Takuya Kimura.

Their song, "People Make the World Go Round", was used by Spike Lee in the soundtrack for his movie, Crooklyn, made in 1994.

  • The Stylistics (Avco 1971)
  • Round 2: The Stylistics (Avco 1972)
  • Rockin' Roll Baby (Avco 1973)
  • Heavy (1974)
  • Let's Put It All Together (Avco 1974)
  • From The Mountain (Avco 1974) [Same as Heavy]
  • Thank You Baby (Avco 1975)
  • You Are Beautiful (Avco 1975)
  • Fabulous (H&L 1976)
  • Once Upon A Juke Box (H&L 1976)
  • Sun And Soul (H&L 1977)
  • Wonder Woman (H&L 1978)
  • In Fashion (H&L 1978)
  • Love Spell (1979)
  • Live In Japan (1979)
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1979)
  • Hurry Up This Way Again (TSOP/ Philadelphia International 1980)
  • Closer Than Close (MOP/Philadelphia International 1982)
  • 1982 (TSOP/Philadelphia International 1982)
  • A Special Style (1985)
  • Some Things Never Change (Streetwise 1985)
  • Christmas (Amherst 1992)
  • Love Talks (1993)
  • Love Is Back In Style (Marathon 1996)
  • That Same Way (2008)

  • Very Best of the Stylistics
  • Black Satin (H&L 1979)
  • Looking At Love Again (1992) - combination of 'In Fashion' / 'Love Spell'
  • Greatest Hits and More (2008) includes new album "That Same Way" - see above

  • "People Make the World Go Round" cover versions


zand said...

1991 - Love Talks

zand said...

1981 - Closer Than Close 1

zand said...

1996 - Love Is Back In Style

Anonymous said...

Thanks Zand

zand said...

1982 (TSOP/Philadelphia International 1982)

zand said...

1992 - Looking At Love Again

zand said...

Stylistics, The - Some Things Never Change (1984)

Simon666 said...

Great work guys.
Added a link for "Some Things never Change"

Simon666 said...

... also added a best of, and a compilation of cover versions of 'People Make the world Go Round".

Anonymous said...

Hi, fantastic posts - thank you all! Just my 5 cents: The albums "From The Mountain (UK release) and "Heavy (US release)" are the same - so that's one gap gone. Moreover, the album "Black Satin" is a compilation album, so that leaves just two gaps to fill! I had all of those above apart from Sun & Soul (thank you, thank you, thank you!!!), and not surprisingly I miss the elusive Live and the Lion albums. Damn hard to find! /Chris from Stockholm

Anonymous said...

And I miss the "Christmas" album (which is not on the list) from 1992 (see link.

To show my gratitude and appreciation to you guys for the Sun & Soul album, I'll be posting some hard to get Four Tops albums shortly - you'll find them under the Four Tops link! /Chris from Stockholm

Anonymous said...

Lastly, regarding The Stylistics, I think a similar discography for The Dramatics is overdue - I'll make sure to contribute! /Chris from Stockholm

jcmoss33 said...

Great job on the Stylistics records as well. That "People Make The World Go Round" comp looks hot, too. Keep up the fine work.


manny said...

thanks alot, to everyone, as ive had alot of these songs but i didn't know which albums were which... and of course i was missing a bunch... thanks

Anonymous said...

Hello Simon 666 and all! great work and great site!
Sadly, I have my turntable off and don't have the techology to ripp the vinyls! Some of my all-time favorites that I can't heard is little Anthony "Out Of Sight Out Of Mind", Stylistic's "The Lion Sleeps", Richard Tee's "Natural Ingredients, Harold Melvin's "Reaching For The World", Jerry Butler's "Love's On The Menu";... buuff... a lot of gems!

I don't know if the compilation of "People Make The World Go Round" includes the one by CTI All-Stars live. These is my fave of all I knows.

An embrace from Catalonia.


Simon666 said...

Hey Soulero-61 :)
The "People Make the World Go Round" post at that site doesn't contain the CTI-Allstars version, but I added it in the comments (where you'll find several additional versions). Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Just repeating myself a bit here :-)!

Heavy (US release) and From The Mountain (Overseas) release have the same track listing - but different covers. Heavy should remain on the list, "From The Mountain" should point to Heavy.
See this:

Black Satin = compilation

Two more LPs should be added to the list:
"A Special Style" (1985)
"Christmas" (1992)

Chris from Stockholm

Anonymous said...

A treat - one you probably won't find on any other site!

"A Special Style" (1985)

Chris from Stockholm

Anonymous said...

thanks Chris. I added those two album that were left off the list and moved the Black Satin to the compilations. Thanks for the 'A Special Style" link as well.

Anonymous said...

Yo, how do you get the link for the album off of the file we download. None of them will open for me? Help??

Anonymous said...

I figured it out! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love Talks and Looking At Love Again are both past their max downloads. I hope someone who grabbed them can upload them to a new share somewhere.

Kudos to the blog owner for an excellent resource. Love some of the other discos you've done.

FuNkAdeLiC said...

Thanks 4 this post...few stylistics albums im not familiar with. Happy holidays

Simon666 said...

Thanks for "a Special Style" Chris.

Simon666 said...

I unlinked the dead ones that ChuckyG mentioned, couldn't find alternate links

Anonymous said...

Looking At Love Again (1992) is a compilation of tracks culled from "In Fashion" and "Love Spells".

Chris from Stockholm

wkc said...

Thanks so much to everyone who helped make these links available. What a wonderful collection. I also hope that the links can be reestablished for the few that are missing. I did find a source for Love Talks (you have to dl each song individual,so it's time consuming but someone has compiled all the songs) look here

Again Thanks to everyone.

wkc said...

Found another link at Jake and Elwood blog.
Greatest Hits and More (includes new album on disc 2 - "That Same Way" 2008)
188 MB - 192kbps

rs link:

mu link:

(2 other links available at the site)

pw needed

Hope this may be useful to some.

wkc said...

Latest link update "Be aware"
The tracks are not labeled so it does some funny stuff on extraction. The short of it. The first 13 tracks extracted are songs on the new lp (cd2)(Great stuff!) It will ask you during extraction if you want to overwrite some tracks - don't or you overwrite these new songs - the second songs are the greatest hits tracks. I extracted it twice to 2 different folders to get both (2nd time overwriting tracks). It's a hassle but worth it - I hope the site can fix this mix up. I copied and pasted track listings within a few minutes to make it useful.

Sorry for the hassles but it was worth it for me. Hope these tips help you.

Simon666 said...

Thanks again wkc

Anonymous said...

Fixed a separate link for the 2008 release (thanks wkc!) "That Same Way" (2008):

Please also note that "Looking At Love Again" (1992) is a compilation of tracks culled from the albums "In Fashion" and "Love Spells".

Chris from Stockholm

Simon666 said...

Thanks Chris - made a link for the new album and moved the other down to compilations.

Soul Bonanza said...

Here's a treat:

The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1979)

Thanks to Char for giving me permission to post this rare album

Chris From Stockholm

Simon666 said...

Cool, thanks Chris! (and Char)

Soul Bonanza said...

Another missing Stylistics album - albeit slightly out-of-season...

The Stylistics - Christmas (1992 Amherst)

Ho ho ho!
Chris From Stockholm

Simon666 said...

.. and thanks again Chris

Mark said...

Many thanks. There were a couple here I'd never heard of.
Also there is a CD called 'Loving you'. Listed on Amazon, Label: Bci / Eclipse Music, Year: 2004. May be Russell Thompkins & the New Stylistics?

noguti said...

muito obrigado

noguti said...


Anonymous said...

Dear friends,

Can you add a new downloade link for the "That Same Way (2008)" and "Love Talks (1993)" ?

Thanks a lot !

Sergej said...

Please. Reupload Love Talks.
Thank you.

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