The Sylvers (1971-1985)

The Sylvers Album Cover
The Sylvers Album Cover

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The Sylvers, an R&B family vocal ensemble, was officially formed in the Watts section of Los Angeles, California in 1971. The four older siblings, however, had performed and recorded earlier as the Little Angels.

The group members comprised singer Olympia Ann Sylvers, born October 13, 1951; bass player, singer Leon Frank Sylvers III, born March 7, 1953; singer Charmaine Elaine Sylvers, born March 9, 1954; pianist/singer James Jonathan Sylvers born June 8, 1955; percussionist/lead tenor Edmund Theodore Sylvers, born January 25, 1957; guitarist/singer Joseph Richard “Ricky” Sylvers, born October 13, 1958; and singer Angelia Marie Sylvers, born April 11, 1960.

Pianist/singer Patricia Lynn Sylvers was born March 25, 1961, and bassist/singer Foster Emerson Sylvers was born February 25, 1962. Their parents were Leon Sylvers Jr., a musician from Memphis, Tennessee, and Shirley Mae Wyble Sylvers from Opelousas, Louisiana. The couple met at Xavier University, an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in New Orleans.

During their performing career as an ensemble, the Sylvers released 10 studio albums beginning in 1972 with The Sylvers, which peaked at no. 15 on the Billboard R&B Album Chart. Their next albums, The Sylvers II and The Sylvers III in 1973 and 1974, respectively, reached no. 37 and no. 51 on the R&B album chart. In 1975, the ensemble released the album Showcase, which peaked at no. 23 R&B on the R&B chart. It also charted internationally, reaching, no. 37 in Australia. The lead single from the album, “Boogie Fever,” peaked at no. 1 on the R&B chart and no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It peaked at no. 1 in Canada, no. 4 in New Zealand, and no. 7 in Australia, selling more than one million records. Their next album, Something Special, released in 1976, peaked at no. 13 on the R&B album chart, no. 80 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart and no. 65 in Australia. It had two hit singles, “Hot Line” that reached no. 1 in Canada, no. 3 on the R&B chart and no. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. “High School Dance” peaked at no.6 on the R&B chart and no. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Between 1977 and 1981, the albums New Horizons, Forever Yours, Disco Fever, and Concept all charted and were moderate successes. Their last album, Bizarre, released in 1982, did not.

In 1985, The Sylvers disbanded although some of them continued performing as solo artists. Edmund Theodore Sylvers, the percussionist, lead singer, and father of 11 children, died on March 11, 2004 of lung cancer in Richmond, Virginia. He was 47.