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 Delfonics’ early releases appeared on local independent labels until their manager, Stan Watson, founded Philly Groove. Cut to a trio on Daniels’ conscription, their distinctive hallmarks, in particular William Hart’s aching tenor, were heard clearly on their debut hit, ‘La La Means I Love You’. It prepared the way for several symphonic creations, including ‘I’m Sorry’, ‘Ready Or Not Here I Come’ (both 1968) and ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)’ (1970).

Much of the credit for their sumptuous atmosphere was due to producer Thom Bell’s remarkable use of brass and orchestration. It provided the perfect backdrop for Hart’s emotive ballads. ‘Trying To Make A Fool Out Of Me’ (1970), the group’s 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 Delfonics’ downhill slide. Unable to secure a permanent third member, the Harts were also bedevilled by Philly Groove’s collapse. Singles for Arista Records (1978) and Lorimar (1979) were issued to negligible attention, consigning the group to the cabaret circuit.