The R&B world is in mourning after news that Chuck Barksdale, a founding member of The Dells, has died. The Dells dropped several hits with their smooth doo-wop vocals throughout the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Barksdale was born January 11, 1935 in Chicago, Ill, and met the four other founding members of the group, Marvin Junior, Johnny Funches, Verne Allison, and Michael McGill, at Thorton High School in Harvey, Ill. Initially known as the El-Rays, the group changed their name and scored their first big hit “Oh, What A Night” in 1956. After McGill was involved in an accident, the group briefly disbanded and Barksdale joined Harvey Fuqua’s Moonglows group which featured a young Marvin Gaye.
In the ‘60s, the Dells continued with their hit-making ways with songs such as “Stay In My Corner,” “I Can Sing A Rainbow/Love Is Blue,” and “Open Up My Heart” among a number of other hits. The band continued to record through the ‘70s and toured all the way into the 21st Century.
Among the founding members, Johnny Funches passed in 2009 and Marvin Junior passed in 2013. Johnny Carter, a founding member of The Flamingos, who later joined the Dells, passed in 2009.
Chuck Barskdale was 84.
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