Category: gene chandler

On this day in music history: June 12, 1970 …

On this day in music history: June 12, 1970 – “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler is released. Written by Russell Lewis and Herman Davis, it is the forty first single release for the singer, songwriter and producer from Chicago, IL. With more than a decade in the music business behind him, singer Gene Chandler finds himself at a career crossroads. Having scored a string of R&B hits since the chart topping “Duke Of Earl” in 1962, by the late 60’s those hits begin to dry up. Bouncing between Brunswick and Checker Records, Chandler can’t get a hit, in spite of working with producers like Carl Davis and Chi-Lites leader Eugene Record. However, it is during this time that the singer makes musical connections that are vital in the next phase of his career. During this time, he branches out into producing other artists. Establishing a production company and his own label Bamboo Records, Chandler co-produces the smash “Backfield In Motion” by Mel & Tim. On that project, he works with Chess Records arranger Tom Washington (aka “Tom Tom 84”). Leaving Brunswick Records in early 1970, Gene signs with Mercury Records. Producing his album “The Gene Chandler Situation”, among the songs recorded include one titled “Groovy Situation”. It is first recorded on Mel And Tim’s album “Good Guys Only Win In The Movies”. Their version is arranged by Brunswick in-house arranger Sonny Sanders, but is only an album cut. Chandler decides to record it himself, Washington borrows from Sanders’ arrangement, but tighter and giving it a slinkier back beat that the original lacks. Recorded at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago in the Spring of 1970, the track features musician Richard Evans on bass. Also a staff producer and arranger at Chess Records’ Cadet subsidiary, Evans mentors arranger and producer Charles Stepney (Earth, Wind & Fire) and Donny Hathaway, as well as working with Ramsey Lewis and Marlena Shaw. Also a respected jazz bassist, Evans establishes himself as a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Putting down a wonderfully elastic and funky bass line, with Chandler’s soulful and smooth vocal topping it all, it’s an obvious hit. It takes off quickly, entering the Billboard R&B singles chart #35 on July 4, 1970 and #86 on the Hot 100 on July 11, 1970. “Groovy Situation” peaks at #8 on the R&B chart on August 1, 1970 (holding that position for three weeks) and peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 on September 26, 1970. “Groovy” re-starts Gene Chandler’s recording career, earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song. Though only hitting the R&B top ten one more time with the disco-funk smash “Get Down” in 1978, “Groovy Situation” has a lasting legacy as an R&B classic. The song later appears in the comedy “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy”. “Groovy Situation” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: June 12, 1970 – …

On this day in music history: June 12, 1970 – “Groovy Situation” by Gene Chandler is released. Written by Russell Lewis and Herman Davis, it is the forty first single release for the singer, songwriter and producer from Chicago, IL. With more than a decade in the music business behind him, singer Gene Chandler finds himself at a career crossroads. Having scored a string of R&B hits since the chart topping “Duke Of Earl” in 1962, by the late 60’s those hits begin to dry up. Bouncing between Brunswick and Checker Records, Chandler can’t get a hit, in spite of working with producers like Carl Davis and Chi-Lites leader Eugene Record. However, it is during this time that the singer makes musical connections that are vital in the next phase of his career. During this time, he branches out into producing other artists. Establishing a production company and his own label Bamboo Records, Chandler co-produces the smash “Backfield In Motion” by Mel & Tim. On that project, he works with Chess Records arranger Tom Washington (aka “Tom Tom 84”). Leaving Brunswick Records in early 1970, Gene signs with Mercury Records. Producing his first album “The Gene Chandler Situation”, among the songs recorded include one titled “Groovy Situation”. It is first recorded on Mel And Tim’s album “Good Guys Only Win In The Movies”. Their version is arranged by Brunswick in-house arranger Sonny Sanders, but is only an album cut. Chandler decides to record it himself, Washington borrows from Sanders’ arrangement, but tighter and a slinkier back beat that the original lacks. Recorded at Universal Recording Studios in Chicago in the Spring of 1970, the track features musician Richard Evans on bass. Also a staff producer and arranger at Chess Records’ Cadet subsidiary, Evans mentors arranger and producer Charles Stepney (Earth, Wind & Fire) and Donny Hathaway, as well as working with artists signed to the label including Ramsey Lewis and Marlena Shaw. Also a respected jazz bassist, Evans establishes himself as a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra. Putting down a wonderfully elastic and funky bass line on the song along with Chandler’s soulful and smooth vocal topping it all, it’s an obvious hit. Released as a single in June of 1970, it takes off quickly, entering the Billboard R&B singles chart #35 on July 4, 1970 and #86 on the Hot 100 on July 11, 1970. “Groovy Situation” peaks at #8 on the R&B chart on August 1, 1970 (holding that position for three weeks) and peaking at #12 on the Hot 100 on September 26, 1970.

“Groovy” re-starts Gene Chandler’s recording career, earning a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song.

Though only hitting the R&B top ten one more time with the disco-funk smash “Get Down” in 1978, “Groovy Situation” has a lasting legacy as an R&B classic. The song later appears in the comedy “Anchorman: The Legend Of Ron Burgundy”. “Groovy Situation” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: February 17, 196…

On this day in music history: February 17, 1962 – “Duke Of Earl” by Gene Chandler hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the R&B singles chart for 5 weeks on the same date. Written by Bernice Williams, Eugene Dixon and Earl Edwards, it is the biggest hit for the R&B vocalist born Eugene Dixon. The song originates as a vocal warm up exercise in the doo wop group The Dukays, in which Chandler and Edwards were both members. Chandler originally cuts “Duke Of Earl” while signed to Nat Records, who are not enthusiastic about the song at all. Instead they another song titled “Night Owl”, recorded at the same session. When Vee Jay Records A&R man Calvin Carter hears “Duke”, he immediately phones his boss label head Ewart Abner to sign Gene Chandler. Abner approves, and the single is released in December of 1961. The record is an instant smash and quickly hits the charts. Entering the Hot 100 at #93 on January 13, 1962, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. “Duke Of Earl” becomes the first million selling single for Chicago-based independent label Vee-Jay Records. When Chandler performs the song live, he often appearing dressed in a black waist coat and tails with topped off with a matching black cape and top hat. “Duke Of Earl” is covered numerous times over the years, and is sampled as the basis of Cypress Hill’s “Hand On The Pump” in 1991.  Gene Chandler’s original recording is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2002. “Duke Of Earl” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Gene Chandler – “Get Down” (1978)

Gene Chandler – “Get Down” (1978)