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SOLAR RECORDS

  

 

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 You could not have grooved to a soulful tune through the 70`s and most likely the 80,s and not come across an artist group or band from the record label THE SOUND OF LOS ANGELES RECORDS or better known as SOLAR RECORDS we all know and appreciate what MOTOWN RECORDS and other labels contributed to soul funk and disco music alike yet I do

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believe in my humble that what MR DICK GRIFFEY achieved was nothing short of a minor miracle. Starting the record label in 1975 along with DON CORNELIUS of SOULTRAIN fame. Although it wasn’t until around 1977 when the name SOLAR RECORDS was born. One of the first acts to be formed by the label was SHALAMAR and we all know the hits that the group had such as SECOND TIME AROUND RIGHT ION THE SOCKET, and the first ever 45 that I bought was MAKE THAT MOVE .Not to be thwarted they had signed up the group THE WHISPERS and along with the much underrated   producer León sylvers they scored a massive hit on both sides of pond with the timeless AND THE BEAT GOES ON, (at this point I find myself humming that song)by this time the label had quickly cemented itself in the consciousness of any soul music lover  out there THE WHISPERS had become  a benchmark in soul music  and by the 80,s we all loved the music that group put out .Not to be undone the label had signed many talented  artist .I can still remember in 1981 I was doing home work and against my mother’s wishes listening to the radio ,when the song IVE BEEN WATCHING YOU came on ,the group was MIDNIGHT STAR  and by the mid 80`s they would conquer the charts also on both sides of the Atlantic( With songs like  wet my whistle ,freakazoid,Curious ,Headlines,operator,Bodysnatchers,Victory and Midas Touch )the group’s main writers were REGINALD and his brother VINCENT CALLOWAY .Along with SHALAMAR and THE WHISPERS. These were by no means the only
 

great bands to be launched by the label. LAKESIDE another great band that emerged with their themed album covers. Mark Wood; Tiemeyer McCain; Tony White; and Brian Marbury, met the Montereys, a band that featured Stephen Shockley, with hits like fantastic voyage, shot of love and your wish is my command.KLYMAXX (the all girl group with hits like MEETING IN THE LADIES ROOM) and COLLAGE are two other  groups that did well for label  DICK  GRIFFY was not just  a brilliant genius business man  but a great writer and producer who surrounded himself with exceptional talent ,and much like BERRY GORDY had done he had surrounded  himself with the likes of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Reggie and Vincent Calloway, and Leon F. Sylvers III  Antonio "L.A." Reid.  Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and we all know the effect that many of these artists of had on popular music even today and let’s not forget Bernadette cooper. Other bands like THE DEELE, CALLOWAY CARRIE LUCAS and my favorite band DYNASTY not to be confused with the popular TV show of the 80,s created by producer and SOLAR Records label head Dick Griffey and Leon Sylvers III in 1979 the one song that a lot of people couldn’t get enough of was “I Don't Want to Be a Freak (But I Can't Help Myself)". And the other A side Your Piece of the Rock it all kick started this group career the band featured Bassist Kevin Spencer and vocalists Nidra Beard and Linda Carrere and later Leon sylvers III.They more so thant any of the other groups didn’t have the largest of success yet for me songs like CHECK IT OUT, STROKIN, HERE IAM scream THE SOUND OF LOS ANGELES RECORDS   and in my humble opinion were very underrated .Much like the labels achievements I feel have been largely ignored somewhat .So by the late 80`s the SOLAR LABEL  was beginning to lose it shine  some acts went to MCA  others CAPITOL RECORDS , ELEKTRA and CONSTELLATION RECORDS there was the public fallout of SHALAMAR  with members leaving  and rights to the name ,it all seem so sad because had the momentum had carried on I’m sure  what we recall about DICK GRIFFEY would be more significant today  I guess  not having the overall control when it came to distribution   of the music and affiliations with other record companies who in themselves didn’t fully  appreciate what they had and maybe treated the label as second or third rate, I don’t know. Yet what  I do know is  that many of the people and artist of the label for example LEON SYLVERS III had a large impact on what I listened to back then  and in many ways what I tune into now SOLAR RECORDS like other current units today (Hidden Beech  Recordings and The Foreign Exchange Music )amongst  others have always pioneered genuine soul music  that flies a little beneath the radar then occasionally  pops up in the national charts , if  your real good you then you get your  15mins of fame people talk about and with a bit of fortune  it  may last longer SOLAR RECORDS did this DICK GRIFFEY impact can be seen in the writers and producers that he gave a break to KENNETH BAB

YFACE EDMONDS / LA REID had an enormous impact  on modern soul music just look what they achieved also JIMMY JAM TERRY LEWIS  after being given an initial break went on to as well shape soul music into what some of it has become today DR DRE SNOOP DOGGY DOG  owe some of their success to the keen ears of DICK GRIFFEY and long live that history  of makers of  great music you can groove to. So to all those artist I say thank you for the music it may have been from LOS ANGELES but it had a universal appear. BY CW

Afetr almost completeing this article news reched me that DICK GRIFFEY  has sadly died Widow Carrie Lucas Griffey said, “We walked these last steps with him and held him close.  But all who knew him understood he belonged to the world. He acknowledged failures but rejected defeat. The doors he helped open, he reached back to bring others with him. He loved life and people. He did a hard day’s work and expected the same from those around him. We celebrate his “going home.”

Mr. Griffey’s Home Going Service will be private and reserved for immediate family. A public memorial is being organized and details are forthcoming. Friends and associates interested in participating in the public memorial may contact:

Dina Andrews 424.248.5380
[email protected]

Cards and other gifts may be sent to:
Dick Griffey In Memoriam
5152 Sepulveda Blvd., #197
Sherman Oaks, CA  91403

Flowers may be sent to:        
Angelus Funeral Home
3875 South Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 296-6666 or (800) 348-3939

He leaves behind his wife Carrie Lucas Griffey; daughters Regina Hughes and  Carolyn Griffey; sons Lucas Griffey and Che Scelsa; five grandchildren:  Curtis, Devin, Paula, Reggie, and Kennedi; and adopted son Haile Williams.

for more on solar record  click here  here  and here

 
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