THE WHISPERS – “THANKFUL” BIO
One of R&B music's most beloved and consistently popular vocal groups, the platinum-selling songstylists known as The Whispers are remembered for #1 Pop crossover songs such as “Rock Steady” and “And the Beat Goes On” just as well as they are known for their classic slow jams like “Lady” and “In the Mood.” For the first time in a decade, the legendary ensemble has recorded a new project. On their 21st new studio set (excluding numerous greatest hits compilations), Thankful (Kingdom Records),The Whispers present their first musical offering in a decade and their first urban inspirational CD.
The Whispers and gospel great Fred Hammond produced the 10-song CD of original music that is true to The Whispers’ signature Quiet Storm sound and distinctive harmonies. There are smooth ballads such as “Who Could It Be?” and “Living Without You.” There are mid-tempo tracks like “Praise His Holy Name” and the soft disco rhythm of “In the Name of Jesus.” The first radio single ”For Thou Art With Me” is an engaging slow jam that is already a hit at Urban AC and gospel radio formats.
The timeless group was formed in 1963. Twin brothers Walter and Wallace Scott used to sing on the street corners of the Watts section of Los Angeles with their buddies Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson, and Gordy Harmon who were known as The Eden Trio. After perfecting their style, they graduated to the nightclubs of the San Francisco Bay Area. When they began to record for Dore Records in 1964, label owner Lou Bedell renamed them The Whispers. “We had a soft sound like The Four Freshmen,” Nick recalls. “But we were applying it to R&B and Lou Bedell said that when we sing, we sound like a whisper.” Bedell employed those smooth vocals against hard, up-tempo novelty dance tunes such as “Shake It, Shake It”, “Dr. Love” and Doo Wop ballads like “The Dip.”
After a brief sojourn with Soul Clock Records, The Whispers scored their first Top Ten R&B hit with "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong" in 1970. During this period, Gordy Harmon left the group and was replaced by Leaveil Degree who had previously sung with The Friends of Distinction. In 1976, The Whispers became the first group signed to Soul Train Records (co- owned by the TV show's creator and host Don Cornelius and entrepreneur Dick Griffey) that eventually evolved into Solar Records. Over the next two decades they enjoyed a number of dance-oriented R&B smashes such as “It’s A Love Thing”, “And the Beat Goes On’ and “Rock Steady” that spent five weeks at #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and is the group’s highest charting Top Ten Pop single.
The group was equally known for their sensuous ballads such as “A Song For Donny," “Lady”, “Say Yes” and “Just Gets Better With Time.” These songs in particular have kept the group very popular with the female population that comes out in droves to witness the Whispers singing these love songs in concert. “A lady came up in a line of 200,” Nick recalls. “She started to cry and said, `you have no idea what this means to meet you. Please don’t die before me’ and that made me cry. That was so heart felt. “
It’s also quite heartfelt that The Whispers are such a strong fraternity that they vowed to never replace Marcus Hutson after he passed away from cancer in 2000. For them, the beat goes on and they draw bigger crowds now than they did back in the eighties. “We are called old school,” Walter recently said. “Our audiences are bigger now than in our heyday. When we heard the term old school, we thought we were being pushed out, but that term has saved performers who are not young artists.”
Aside from numerous Grammy, American Music and Soul Train Award nominations, the group has earned an NAACP Image Award, the Grammy Governor’s Award from the San Francisco chapter and been inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame. After 50 R&B chart singles, seven gold and two platinum albums; The Whispers have made the inspirational CD Thankful as a way of paying their gratitude to their fans and to God. “There’s a constant reminder when you see people come out in vast numbers for 46 years and spend their hard earned dollars to see you,” says Nick. “They are a blessing to you. They don’t have to love you and your music. God has been really good to The Whispers. He was looking out for us when we were ignoring Him. We lived long enough for him to allow us to make this new CD to inspire people to get closer to God.”
THE WHISPERS ALBUM/CD DISCOGRAPHY Thankful (Kingdom Records) 1999 For Your Ears Only (Satin Tie Records) 2006 Anthology (EMI/The Right Stuff) 2003 The Songbook of Babyface Volume 1 (Interscope) 1997 Toast to the Ladies (Capitol Records) 1995 Christmas Moments (Capitol Records) 1994 More of the Night (Capitol Records) 1990 Just Gets Better with Time (Solar Records) 1987 So Good (Solar Records) 1984 Love for Love (Capitol Records) 1983 Love is Where You Find It (Solar Records) 1982 Imagination (Solar Records) 1981 This Kind of Lovin’ (Solar Records) 1981 The Whispers (Solar Records) 1980 Happy Holidays to You (Solar Records) 1979 Headlights (Solar Records) 1978 Open Up Your Love (Soul Train) 1977 One for the Money (Soul Train) 1976 Bingo (Janus Records) 1974 Planet of Life (Soul Clock) 1973 Life and Breath (Janus Records) 1972 The Whispers’ Love Story (Janus Records) 1972
BILLBOARD MAGAZINE R&B CHART SINGLES PEAK POSITIONS #1 Hits Rock Steady (1987 for 5 weeks), And the Beat Goes On (1980) #2 Hit It’s A Love Thing (1981 for 3 weeks) #3 Hits Innocent (1990) , Lady (1980) #4 Hits My Heart Your Heart (1990), Keep on Lovin’ Me (1983), Tonight (1983) #6 Hit Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong (1970) #7 Hit Is it Good to You (1991) #8 Hit In the Raw (1982) #10 Hits Contagious (1984), Make it With You (1977) , Let’s Go All the Way (1978) #12 Hits Just Gets Better With Time (1987) #13 hits (Olivia) Lost and Turned Out (1978) #16 Hit In the Mood (1987) #17 Hits Some Kinda Lover (1985), This Kind of Lovin’ (1981), The Time Will Come (1969) #19 Hit Your Love is Doggone Good (1971) #20 Hit Hello Stranger with Carrie Lucas (1985)