Formed in Philadelphia, USA, in 1965 and originally known as the Four Gents, the Delfonics featured William Hart (17 January 1945, Washington, DC, USA), Wilbert Hart (b. 19 October 1947, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA), Randy Cain (b. 2 May 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) and Ritchie Daniels. An instigator of the Philly Sound, the above line-up evolved out of an earlier group, the Veltones. The Delfonicsâ early releases appeared on local independent labels until their manager, Stan Watson, founded Philly Groove. Cut to a trio on Danielsâ conscription, their distinctive hallmarks, in particular William Hartâs aching tenor, were heard clearly on their debut hit, âLa La Means I Love Youâ. It prepared the way for several symphonic creations, including âIâm Sorryâ, âReady Or Not Here I Comeâ (both 1968) and âDidnât I (Blow Your Mind This Time)â (1970).
Much of the credit for their sumptuous atmosphere was due to producer Thom Bellâs remarkable use of brass and orchestration. It provided the perfect backdrop for Hartâs emotive ballads. âTrying To Make A Fool Out Of Meâ (1970), the groupâs tenth consecutive R&B chart entry, marked the end of this relationship, although Bell later continued this style with the (Detroit) Spinners and Stylistics. The Delfonics, meanwhile, maintained a momentum with further excellent singles. In 1971 Cain was replaced by Major Harris, whose subsequent departure three years later coincided with the Delfonicsâ downhill slide. Unable to secure a permanent third member, the Harts were also bedevilled by Philly Grooveâs collapse. Singles for Arista Records (1978) and Lorimar (1979) were issued to negligible attention, consigning the group to the cabaret circuit.