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We are excited to share with you some great old classics from Solar records, and some new material from the these amazing artist as well. So stay tune to this station, and enjoy this brand new adventure with us, as we enjoy The Solar galaxy of Stars!!
Wardell Potts Jr. is a drummer, songwriter and producer whose list of credits includes three # 1 songs, several top 10 hits, and has provided beats for some of R & B’s most memorable bands. His professional career got underway when he passed an audition held by Leon Silvers. Leon was looking for a drummer to play for the group he was forming called “Dynasty.” He went on to become the house drummer for Solar Records, recording drums for Shalamar, The Whispers, Carrie Lucas, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Janet Jackson and Glenn Jones. The first song he recorded on with The Whispers went platinum called “And the Beat Goes On”. The second song he recorded on also went platinum, ”Second Time Around” which he recorded with Shalamar., He recorded drums on the # 1 hit “Miami” on the Big Willie Style album by Will Smith and on “Bring It All To Me” by recording artist Blaque. Wardell Potts achieved commercial success when his composition “Show me the Way” became a # 1 hit as Regina Belle’s first single ever. He also composed the # 1 hit “Keep on Lovin Me” by the Whispers. “What’s it Gonna Be” a song Potts co-wrote with Anne Preven appears on Jellybean’s dance album “Spillin the Beans” which was the first single released and was the # 1 hit on the dance charts at that time. The track features lead vocals by Nikki Harris who was one of Madonna’s Back-up singers on the Blonde Ambition Tour. Recently he co-wrote and produced the song “She’s just a Child” for the movie, Woman Thou Art Loosed on the 7th day starring Blaire Underwood and executive produced by T.D. Jakes. Also I wrote a song for the movie Remember Sunday on lifetime TV and the ABC network. Since 2005, Wardell has actively participated in worship as lead drummer for Rosewood Christian Reformed Church.
Leon Sylvers first rose to prominence in the early 1960s as a member of The Little Angels harmony vocal group featuring his siblings (Olympia, Charmaine, and James). During this time they appeared on variety shows such as Make Room for Daddy, You Bet Your Life, and The Spike Jones Show. Following their parents' divorce, Leon and his older siblings went to live with various relatives before reuniting with their mother Shirley and their four younger siblings in Los Angeles, California. In 1970, Leon entered the family act, which now included younger brothers Edmund and Ricky, into a local talent contest. They won that talent contest hands down due to their versatility, choreography, and harmonies. The impresario Mike Curb signed them to MGM Records in 1971 and marketed them as The Sylvers.
Leon wrote his first hit single "Wish That I Could Talk to You", which was on the family's debut album called The Sylvers. He also penned his brother Foster Sylvers' Top 10 US R&B chart single "Misdemeanor" which was a hit during summer of 1973. For the next several albums, Leon would continue writing songs on his family's albums which included 1977's Top 10 US R&B chart single "High School Dance".
In 1978 Leon produced The Sylvers most critically acclaimed album, Forever Yours. By mid 1978, Leon left the group to become the in-house producer for Dick Griffey's SOLAR Records. Sylvers started his major production career with the band Lakeside on their album Shot of love which was Top 10 on Top R&B Albums. This would also be the year that Leon's association with Shalamar would begin, starting with the Disco Gardens album which included the disco classic "Take That to the Bank". 1979 would become an even bigger year. Shalamar's next album Big Fun was an even bigger smash landing at #4 on the Top R&B Albums charts and was certified gold. The first single, "The Second Time Around", was a hit record number one on both the US R&B charts and number eight on the US Top 40|Top 10. Leon also co-produced Lakeside's Rough Riders album. That same year he created the group Dynasty along with Dick Griffey.
The 1980s started off well for Leon: in 1980, he produced albums for SOLAR acts such as Shalamar, The Whispers, Dynasty, Carrie Lucas, and the first album by Midnight Star. One song he wrote and co-produced for The Whispers was the number one US R&B and US Dance hit, "And the Beat Goes On", which would be one of Sylvers' biggest achievements. This would be the year that Leon would be involved on projects outside of the SOLAR Records family such as his Gene Page single "Love Starts After Dark" and 7th Wonder's song "The Tilt".
In 1981, Shalamar would chart with their Three for Love album at number eight on the US Top Soul Albums. The album would be certified Gold. The Whispers' "It's a Love Thing" was another R&B smash which helped propel the Imagination album to number three on the Top Soul Albums charts. At this time, Leon joined Dynasty, and married Nidra Beard, also a member of Dynasty. Around the same time, Leon produced his old family group (The Sylvers), who had signed with SOLAR. Neither The Second Adventure by Dynasty and Concept by The Sylvers, which Leon produced, were hits. These albums would be two of the few disappointments of the year for Leon.
In 1982, Leon produced Shalamar's album Friends. The album topped the US Top R&B Albums chart, propelled by the single "A Night to Remember", which reached number eight on the US R&B charts. The album would be certified Platinum. Leon spent the next couple of years producing hit songs for The Whispers ("In the Raw", "Tonight"), Gladys Knight & The Pips ("Save the Overtime (For Me)"), Tavares ("Ten to One") among others. In that same year, he served as mentor to the production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
After moving to Los Angeles in the 1960s, Griffey became part owner of Guys and Dolls, a nightclub which featured performances by such rising stars as Isaac Hayes and Ike & Tina Turner. Griffey worked as talent co-ordinator on Soul Train, the musical variety show created by Don Cornelius, and together they established Soul Train Records in 1975.
Griffey formed his own label, SOLAR Records (an acronym for Sound of Los Angeles Records) in 1977. Music critic Stephen Holden, of The New York Times, predicted a bright future for the label in the pop market, writing a profile under the headline "Solar Could Be the Motown of the 80's". SOLAR acts included Shalamar, which produced such hits as "The Second Time Around" and "This Is for the Lover in You". With The Whispers, SOLAR released such hits as "And the Beat Goes On" (co-written by Griffey) and "Rock Steady". Other acts signed by SOLAR during the 1980s were The Deele, Dynasty, Klymaxx, Lakeside, Midnight Star and The Whispers. As a promoter, Griffey booked tours for artists including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson, earning the moniker "Kingpin of Soul Promoters".
After Jon Gibson was signed to Griffey's subsidiary label, Constellation Records, Griffey would have fun tricking a number of his artists with Jon's tape (they thought it was Stevie Wonder). Jon's debut came as a guest vocalist for three songs on Bill Wolfer's album, Wolf. It was during the process of making that album that Jon met his musical idol, Stevie Wonder, and worked with a crew of other musicians, including Michael Jackson. Wolfer returned the favor the next year by producing Gibson's debut album, Standing on the One. The debut showed that Gibson was more than a Wonder-clone and that he had song-writing skills to go with his 'great voice'.
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