The Chi-Lites were formed in Chicago in 1959. Originally called the Hi-Lites, they consisted of Marshall Thompson (birthday 24th Aug), Creadel “Red” Jones, Eugene Record, Robert Lester (birthday 16th August) and Clarence Johnson.
As the Hi-Lites they released a number of singles on local labels then in 1964 they changed their name to Marshall & the Chi-Lites; the ‘C’ being added to reflect the name of their hometown, Chicago. By the end of 1964 Clarence Johnson had left the group and they truncated their name to simply the Chi-Lites. During the ensuing four years Eugene Record slowly emerged as the group’s lead singer, songwriter and producer.
In 1969, after signing with Brunswick the previous year, “Give It Away” became their first USA national hit single attaining number ten in the R&B charts. The follow-up release “Let Me Be The Man My Daddy Was” was moderately successful but another major hit was elusive until “Are You My Woman?” climbed into the R&B top ten in early 1971. A succession of top ten hits followed commencing with their next release “(For God’s Sake) Give More Power To The People” which was the first release to crossover into the pop charts. The ballads “Have You Seen Her” and “Oh Girl” followed, both reaching number one in the R&B charts with “Oh Girl” also achieving the number one slot in the pop charts in the spring of 1972.
The Chi-Lites lineup changed shortly after “Stoned Out Of My Mind”. Creadel Jones was replaced by Stanley Anderson, who himself was replaced by Willie Kensey. Three top ten hits R&B hits followed – “Homely Girl”, “There Will Never Be Any Peace” and “Toby”, before Kensey was replaced with Doc Roberson.
Brunswick, however, ran into financial problems. This frustrated the promoting of the group’s records and led to Eugene Record leaving to become a solo recording artist for Warner Bros. David Scott and Danny Johnson would join the remaining members although Johnson himself was replaced by Vandy Hampton in 1977. They signed with Mercury but no hits were forthcoming.
In 1980 the group signed to Carl Davis’ Chi-Sound label and although they were more successful than when on Mercury, their first genuine hit was 1982’s “Hot On A Thing (Called Love)” which reached number 15. The following year their final top ten hit “Bottoms Up” came after signing for Larc Records. Later that year Creadel Jones retired and the group continued as a trio to the end of the decade.
The ’90s saw Anthony Watson join the group and Creadel Jones returning. This lineup was regular on the oldies and soul cicuit of the decade.
In 2000 the Chi-Lites were inducted into Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame. They are currently recording with Marshall Thompsons’ record label Marance Records distributed by Sumthing Distribution.
The Chi-Lites along with other big-named legendary artist where featured in a documentary/movie called “Only The Strong Survive” by Miramax films, which was released in 2003.
In Sept 2003, Marshall appeared on the Jesse Jackson Push Show, this triggered a huge response from his fans.
The Chi-Lites song, “Are You My Woman”, is sampled and featured on the latest album by Beyonce under the title “Crazy In Love”. The recording also features Jay-Z and can be found on Beyonce’s “Dangerously In Love” CD. The song is later nominated for a Grammy award and is instrumental in winning the Hot 100 award for most weeks at No. 1.
December 2003,The Chi-Lites song, “That’s How Long I Love You”, features on the latest album by Jay-Z under the title “Dec 4”. The song can be found on Jay-Z’s CD “The Black Album” currently #1 on Billboard.
Chi-Lites appear in the 70’s Soul Legends concert for PBS. Photo here. They are joined by Eugene Record.
July 2005,Eugene Record, the original lead singer and composer of the greatest songs of the Chi-Lites, Including “Oh Girl,” Have You Seen Her” and “Coldest Days of my life” passed away 2am on 7/22/05 after a long bout with cancer. Eugene was 64.
April 16th, 2013, The Chi-lites featuring Marshall Thompson is proud to announce the re-release of “Hot On A Thing” (Called Love) on the world-renowned Music Plant label. Marshall, along with one of his best friends, legendary promotion man Gus Redmond of Music Quest, teamed up with Billboard’s Top 10 Artist of the Decade- Georgie Porgie. Marshall and Gus had brought Georgie an idea to remake one of the great original titles. Georgie decided to go with “Hot On A Thing” (Called Love). Georgie took the song into a contemporary R&B feel of today, with an incredible vocal performance by Marshall! This record is poised to bring The Chi-lites sound to the masses of today!
In their continued quest, this multi platinum legendary group has and always will be a major part of the fabric of American history!