Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Friends of Distinction--Grazing in The Grass (1969)

     The Friends of Distinction were formed by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler who had been members of Ray Charles' backing band, The Hi-Fi's. When this group disbanded in 1966, the other members, Lamont McLemore and Marilyn McCoo went to form the Fifth Dimension. Elston and Butler recruited Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love and in 1968 began to hit some of the clubs in Los Angeles. It was there they met Jim Brown.
     Brown had been one of the best players in the National Football League who had decided to retire in 1966 as an acting career had opened up for him. He heard the group and was impressed by their sound and asked if they would be interested in him becoming their manager. With that kind of clout, they soon signed a contract with RCA records.
     The first single was their biggest hit (#6), but they also produced two more top twenty hits, "Going in Circles" (#15--1969) and "Love Or Let Me Be Lonely" (#6--1970). The group began to slip after Cleaves left to later be a part of Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Parliament. They disbanded in 1975, and Floyd Butler later passed away.


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