Outside of soul music few would know the name Eugene Record, but many know his music. He was the composer and musical guiding force behind the greatest songs and hits of the Chi-Lites, including 'Have You Seen Her, 'Oh Girl and 'Homely Girl'.
Eugene Booker Record was born in Chicago on the 23 December 1940. As a young boy his interest in music first took hold with song writing and guitar lessons. When he was thirteen at Englewood high school he participated in musical programs and had visions of getting into the music business. At high school he became a member of the vocal group the Wrens. He next formed the Chanteurs in the late fifties with future Chi-Lites Robert Lester and Clarence Johnson.
The trio cut their first disc in 1959, 'You Did That To Me' released on Renee Records. The trio were joined by Marshall Thompson and Creadel Jones, renaming the quintet The Hi-Lites. They signed a contract with the Daran label. Their single 'I'm So Jealous' was leased out to Mercury Records. Now minus Johnson, and a final name change, adding a C to Hi, they became the Chi-Lites in 1964, with recordings being released by Ja-Was, Lasell, Blue Rock, Daran and Revue labels.
Soul vocalist Otis Leaville, whom they had befriended, suggested that the group audition for producer Carl Davis who had established his Dakar label. In 1967 'Price Of Love' was released for that label.
Brunswick Records invited Carl Davis to become president of their Chicago branch. Accepting, he immediately signed the Chi-Lites in 1968. Their first release with Record as lead singer secured a top ten R&B hit with 'Give It Away'. Follow up singles kept the groupís name to the forefront making several excursions into the R&B charts.††
In 1970 they changed direction with '(For God's Sake) Give More Power To The People', a strong political message, which brought them a breakthrough pop smash. Further releases see the group moving through chunky psychedelic protest material, as was popular by Sly/Temptations etc. But it was in the early seventies that the group hit their stride, returning to the mellow style with smooth gentle harmonies. Socially conscious lyrics inspired by the Impressions in 'Love Uprising', and 'We Need Each Other', mingled with lush romantic ballads which carried the spirit of doo-wop into seventies with the million sellers 'Have You Seen Her' and 'Oh Girl'.
Record had began writing with Barbara Acklin, which produced 'Have You Seen Her' while his first production was Acklin's own chart topper 'Love Makes A Woman'. From 1968 to 1974 the group enjoyed eleven top 20 R&B hits, including one platinum and ten gold records.
By the mid seventies Record had risen through the Brunswick ranks to become vice president. The label ran into financial problems, and also faced tax evasion charges. The tensions within the company affected the group, becoming disenchanted, finally seeing Record part company with the group in 1976 to pursue a solo career.
His first Warner Brothers album, the cleverly titled, THE EUGENE RECORD, spawned the charmingly coy R&B hit 'Laying Beside You'. Although other albums followed, his solo work never really took off and he rather languished at the label. So he was more than happy to rejoin the group when they signed with Recordís own Chi-Sound label in 1980, where they had modest success. The group bounced from LARC, Private I and Nuance without much ascendancy, although they continued to be a draw on the concert circuit.
In 1988 Record decided to leave the group once more. A born again Christian he gave his life to God, evangelisation and concentrated on gospel music. In 1998 he released a gospel set LET HIM IN. He had been serving the Lord faithfully up until his death. The longevity of his classic soul speaks for itself. He died 22 July 2005 after a long battle with cancer.