William “Poogie” Hart, founder and lead singer of the Delfonics has passed away, reports Soul Tracks. He was 77 years old.
With Hart’s soaring falsetto and impeccable songwriting, the Delfonics became one of the premier vocal groups of the late 1960s and 1970s.
Along with his brother Wilbert Hart and schoolmate Randy Cain, he founded the Delfonics in the early 60s and they quickly became a force to be reckoned with on the Philadelphia Music scene. They signed with local Cameo-Parkway Records and released a number of singles on that label and on small MoonShot Records, but without much success.
The fortunes of the group would soon change after becoming one of the early acts to work with up-and-coming producer/arranger Thom Bell. One of their first collaborations “La La Means I Love You,” peaked in the top 5 of Pop and Soul charts in 1968. Featuring Hart's signature falsetto voice, "La La Means I Love You," became an instant classic and an R&B/soul standard.
Over the next few years, other hits followed including "Ready Or Not Here I Come," “Break Your Promise," “You Got Yours And I'll Get Mine," “Hey Love,” and their other top ten Pop hit, the iconic "Didn't (I Blow Your Mind This Time)," which won the 1970 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance. Cain left the group in 1971 and was replaced by Major Harris who would go on record a #1 solo hit with "Love Won't Let Me Wait.”
Eventually, the group split up with the Hart brothers each touring with a version of the Delfonics for the rest of their careers. In total, the Delfonics had twelve top-20 hits on Billboard's R&B/Soul Single Chart.
As a solo artist William Hart teamed with Harris and former Futures member Frank Washington (later the lead singer for the Spinners on the album Forever New in 1999.
hart was a pioneer in what would later become TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia). Until his last days, Hart toured across the country as a solo artist and with his version of the Delfonics.
We extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the family and friends of William “Poogie” Hart.