Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Infomaniac Highlights the Chi-Lites

Turn on the radio in the early 1970s and you heard the sweet soul sound of The Chi-Lites (pronounced SHY-lights)...

More than 30 years later, they would inspire Beyoncé's debut solo smash hit, "Crazy in Love." But more about that later.

These four friends from Chicago were Eugene Record (lead singer), Marshall Thompson, Robert "Squirrel" Lester, and Creadel Jones.

They had 11 Top 20 R&B hits between 1969 and 1974.

It was a pair of romantic ballads, "Have You Seen Her (1971)" and "Oh Girl (1972)," that put them at the top of the charts.

The group also took on social issues with songs like, "(For God's Sake) Give More Power to the People"  and  "There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God Is Seated at the Conference Table)." How's that for a title?

The Chi-Lites are also remembered for their costumes, which they designed themselves.

Bright, eye-popping colours!...

Big, bold bow ties!...

Behold the "dog ear collar" of the 1970s...

The Chi-Lites were all about the dog ear collar...

Now, back to Beyoncé.

I'm sure you Bitches recognize the horn hook from Beyoncé's hit single, "Crazy in Love."

That blast of brass is sampled from The Chi-Lites' 1970 song,"Are You My Woman (Tell Me So)."

It's that Chi-Lites hook that makes Beyoncé's song. When asked what makes "Crazy in Love" so infectious, Beyoncé admitted, "It’s the horn hook. It has this go-go feel to it, this old-school feel."

Listen to the first 14 seconds of Are You My Woman (especially from 0:09-0:14) and you'll understand the "Crazy in Love" connection.

Unfortunately, financial scandals, drug addictions and violent tragedies took their toll on the group. Creadel Jones died homeless after his record label, Brunswick Records refused to send him royalties. Only one of the original four members (Marshall Thompson) survives.

There isn't a lot of in-depth material about them online, at this point. The Mistress isn't saying they were the best group on the soul circuit but they certainly deserve to be more than a footnote in music history.

If you're so inclined, you might enjoying listening to the hearfelt "Oh Girl."
Warning: Dog ear collar alert! (and puffy sleeves)

Which of The Chi-Lites' looks could you wear with confidence?


  1. Which of The Chi-Lites' looks could you wear with confidence?

    All of them! I just need to find three other people to dress similarly to complete the look! And maybe harmonize!

    Luv them. Grew up listening to old records of them. Still a staple on my fave easy listening station.

    1. EROS: Here’s another option for you…

      Dog ear collar and puffy sleeves meet rainbow colours.

    2. Love it! The perfect Easter Sunday suit!

  2. I dream of the day the catwalks revive the "dog-ear collar"..! Jx

    1. JON: Karl Lagerfeld, are you listening?

      Oh, who am I kidding? He won’t give up his idea of a collar.

  3. I could possibly manage that zig-zag/diamond suit complete with power amulet (bottom left in your first pic), but only as my superhero suit!

    P.S. Thanks for the dog ear collar and puffy sleeves warning - I was able to ready myself for the Little Lord Fauntleroy meets Disney Fairy Godmother look so that my eyes didn't bleed.

    1. MR. DeVICE: Be warned that the power amulet will add another ten pounds, at least.

  4. These are not pussy bows in the forth pic.

    I don't think I could wear any of their stage stuff, with confidence or not. Imagine this green ensemble on a fat dwarf ! My dog collar would sweep the floor - and finally someone would step on it with those plateau shoes, oh dear ...
    Perhaps the dark pinstripe suit in pic one (upper left).

    1. MAGO: I can picture you in the pinstripe suit. However, that collar? The first light gust of wind would whisk you away.

  5. Replies
    1. MITZI: At your funeral, we’ll be sure to dress your body in the yellow puffy sleeves number.

      I’ll whisper to the others, “It’s what Mitzi would have wanted.”

    2. I will come back to haunt you rattling a chain full of Crocs, until I'm dug up and dressed in something tasteful

  6. in the later 60s, i went to a store in downtown boston, i forget the name, but it began with an "R." it was a "black" store. i bought 2 shirts, cranberry & blue that had very large collars (and maybe they were tapered as well). i recall looking at them as they hung in my closet & feeling like i'd brought contraband into the suburbs.

  7. I could easily do the embroidered denim ensemble in the top pix.

    1. LX: Ah, yes...your embroidery talents put to good use.

      The ladies won’t be able to keep their hands off you.