Sunday, April 12, 2009

Randy Cain (1945-2009)

Randy Cain – a founding member of the Delfonics, that glorious Philly-soul vocal trio – died on Thursday of undisclosed causes. He was 63 years old.

The Philadelphia Daily News obituary is here.

The Delfonics were defined by William Hart’s soaring falsetto. William sometimes shared lead vocals with his brother, Wilbert Hart. Randy Cain’s role was to fill out the group sound. (And to look good, I suppose. He was a good-looking guy.)

Mr. Cain left the Delfonics in 1971. (He was replaced by Major Harris.)

Randy Cain’s biggest impact on Philly soul took place behind the scenes. According to John A. Jackson, author of “A House on Fire: The Rise and Fall of Philadelphia Soul,” it was Cain who introduced producer Thom Bell to his future songwriting partner, Linda Creed.

Creed, a white Jewish girl who loved black music, “pestered Delfonic Randy Cain... to listen to her poetry,” Jackson writes. “Cain told Thom Bell about it. Bell had no interest in poetry, but, he said, ‘let me listen to her. Maybe I can turn her into a songwriter.’ ”

Creed and Bell went on to write huge hits for the Stylistics and the Spinners, including “Betcha By Golly, Wow,” “Break Up to Make Up” and “The Rubberband Man.”

In honor of Randy Cain, I’m streaming “When You Get Right Down To It” on my Vox blog. Click here to listen.

UPDATE (04/13/09): I should also note that Randy Cain played a behind-the-scenes role in the formation of Blue Magic... putting singer-songwriter Ted Mills together with an existing group called Shades of Love.


jjbrock said...

RIP Randy! The Delfonics was one my favorite groups growing up...I total forgot about Major Harris being part of the Delfonics.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Hope you had a great Easter, jjbrock.

msladydeborah said...

I am sorry to learn of the passing of Randy Cain. The Delfonics were one of my favorite groups back in the day. I just saw them in concert during an Seventies Show.

Geneva Girl said...

The music of my youth. I remember singing La La Means I Love You in the back of the car. Sorry to hear that he passed away.

Linda Creed also wrote the The Greatest Love of All which was a phenomenal song until Whitney Houston got a hold of it. She was one of the best lyricists ever.

that dude said...

The Delfonics is a tragically underrated group.

james said...

Those of you who want some great info on the Philly sound, check out last months Wax Poetics. It was an all Philly issue, had a great interview with Gamble and Huff.. Lotso Delfonics stories throughout..
RIP Randy..

Undercover Black Man said...

I just saw them in concert during an Seventies Show.

Thanks for commenting, mslady. Reminds me to mention that, unfortunately, William and Wilbert Hart are now out there fronting competing Delfonics groups!

(Wilbert's is called the "New Delfonics," I think... or maybe the "Delphonics.")

Undercover Black Man said...

Linda Creed also wrote the The Greatest Love of All...

Indeed, GG. She died in her 30s of breast cancer... a great loss to American pop music.

bklyn6 said...

Good bye, Mr. Cain.

easymny said...

Another talented member of the Philadelphia based Lincoln Prep School leaves us to go home

rip Randy

esymny of West Chester