The Intruders

R&B quartet the Intruders set the table for Philadelphia soul music, which blended pop vocal stylings with the resonant power of R&B. Formed in 1960, the group eventually gained notice after it teamed up with songwriting and production duo Gamble and Huff, the powerhouse unit behind later successes from the O'Jays, Lou Rawls, and the Jacksons. Lead vocalist Sam "Little Sonny" Brown, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Phil Terry, and Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards were soldiering on without much success throughout the early 1960s before crossing paths with Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, then eager to get their nascent Gamble Records off the ground. The Intruders would give the duo some of its earliest success, culminating in the string-laden, horn-punctuated Number 1 R&B hit “Cowboys to Girls” in 1968 (it also landed at Number 6 on the pop charts), which remained the group’s most enduring track. Its follow-up, “(Love is Like A) Baseball Game”, also did well, peaking at Number 4 on the R&B chart. Brown left the group around the turn of the decade and was replaced by nightclub singer Bobby Starr, but returned to the Intruders in time for their 1973 album Save the Children, a robust set of slow jams highlighted by their final entries to crack the Top 10 on the R&B chart, “I’ll Always Love My Mama” and “I Wanna Know Your Name”, along with an easygoing take on Paul Simon’s “Mother and Child Reunion”. Times changed and the public’s taste was veering towards disco, which was itself spun off of aspects of the Philadelphia soul sound, and the Intruders disbanded in the mid-’70s, although Daughtry would briefly resurrect the group for the 1985 album Who Do You Love? Various lineups continue to perform on nostalgia festivals and touring packages, sometimes fronted by mid-period member Starr. Lead singer Brown committed suicide in 1995, while Daughtry and Edwards died of natural causes in 1994 and 2016, respectively.

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Stations Featuring The Intruders

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