The Family That Sings Together…


There is a National Family Day and a National Family Week — several of each, in fact — but as far as we know, there is no such thing as Family Singing Group Day or Family Singing Group Week.

Maybe there should be because through the years there have been a surprisingly large number of such groups.

This week we are spotlighting some of them.

IN THE LATE 1970s, three brothers — Charlie, Ronnie and Robert Wilson — emerged from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

As the Gap Band, they really hit their stride in the 1980s with some of the most exciting and memorable hits of all time, including “Early in the Morning,” “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me?),” “Outstanding” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me.”

They got their name, by the way, from the first letters of three streets in Tulsa: Greenwood, Archer and Pine.

THE POINTER SISTERS — Ruth, June, Anita and Bonnie — started with a repertoire and attire heavy on songs and looks from yesteryear.

The ladies did a remarkable job on these gems, including “Black Coffee” and the complicated “Cloudburst.” That was in addition to contemporary fare such as “Yes We Can Can” and “How Long? (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side).”

By the start of the ’80s, the group, now minus Bon

nie who had left to start a solo career, was on its way to reaching a new level of popularity. New and often danceable songs was their focus and, as announcers used to say on radio, “the hits just kept on coming” — among them “Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” “He’s So Shy,” “Slow Hand” and “Automatic.”

THE ISLEY BROTHERS have a history that is nothing short of amazing. The group consisted of Ronald (the lead singer with the amazing voice), O’Kelly and Rudolph Isley.

The trio had their first hit in 1959 with the churchy “Shout.” Their second most successful recording from that era was “Twist and Shout.” Both are recognized as classics.

Then came the Motown era. Biggest hits: “This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak For You)” and “I Guess I’ll Always Love You.”

This was followed by their most fruitful era, 1969 to 1983, when they were unstoppable. The long list of hits is awesome, including “It’s Your Thing,” “Work To Do,” “That Lady,” “Fight the Power,” “Harvest for the World,” “Live It Up,” “I Wanna Be With You” and “Between the Sheets.”

Ernie Isley, Marvin Isley and brother-in-law Chris Jasper had been added to the original trio by then.

TAVARES, five brothers from New Bedford, Massachusetts, offered great harmonies, an exciting show and plenty of hits.

Butch, Ralph, Pooch, Perry and Chubby made the national Top 10 on eight occasions, the most fondly recalled including “It Only Takes a Minute,” “She’s Gone,” “Remember What I Told You to Forget,” “Whodunit” and “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel.”

THE EMOTIONS started out as gospel singers, calling themselves the Hutchinson Sunbeams. But in 1969 they were high on the R&B charts with “So I Can Love You,” followed by “Show Me How,” “Heart Association” and others.

They became a major attraction starting in 1976, after signing with Columbia and connecting with Maurice White, leader/founder of Earth, Wind & Fire. “Best of My Love” was huge and became a classic.

Also very successful were “Boogie Wonderland” (with Earth, Wind & Fire), “Don’t Ask My Neighbors,” “I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love,” “Flowers” and “Smile.”

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