The Whispers


American rhythm and blues group
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The Whispers
The Whispers at Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City on August 24, 2013
The Whispers at Gardner's Basin in Atlantic City on August 24, 2013
Background information
OriginLos Angeles, California, U.S. .hlist dl,.mw-parser-output .hlist ol,.mw-parser-output .hlist ul{margin:0;padding:0}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt,.mw-parser-output .hlist li{margin:0;display:inline}.mw-parser-output .hlist.inline,.mw-parser-output .hlist.inline dl,.mw-parser-output .hlist.inline ol,.mw-parser-output .hlist.inline ul,.mw-parser-output .hlist dl dl,.mw-parser-output .hlist dl ol,.mw-parser-output .hlist dl ul,.mw-parser-output .hlist ol dl,.mw-parser-output .hlist ol ol,.mw-parser-output .hlist ol ul,.mw-parser-output .hlist ul dl,.mw-parser-output .hlist ul ol,.mw-parser-output .hlist ul ul{display:inline}.mw-parser-output .hlist .mw-empty-li{display:none}.mw-parser-output .hlist dt::after{content:": "}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist li::after{content:" · ";font-weight:bold}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist li:last-child::after{content:none}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd dd:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dd dt:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dd li:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt dd:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt dt:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt li:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist li dd:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist li dt:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist li li:first-child::before{content:" (";font-weight:normal}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd dd:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dd dt:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dd li:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt dd:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt dt:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt li:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist li dd:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist li dt:last-child::after,.mw-parser-output .hlist li li:last-child::after{content:")";font-weight:normal}.mw-parser-output .hlist ol{counter-reset:listitem}.mw-parser-output .hlist ol>li{counter-increment:listitem}.mw-parser-output .hlist ol>li::before{content:" "counter(listitem)"\a0 "}.mw-parser-output .hlist dd ol>li:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist dt ol>li:first-child::before,.mw-parser-output .hlist li ol>li:first-child::before{content:" ("counter(listitem)"\a0 "}
Years active1963–present
LabelsSoul Clock
MembersWallace Scott
Walter Scott
Leaveil Degree
Past membersMarcus Hutson
Gordy Harmon
Nicholas Caldwell

The Whispers are an American vocal group from Los Angeles, California, who have scored hit records since the late 1960s. They are best known for their two number one R&B singles, "And the Beat Goes On" in 1979 and "Rock Steady" in 1987. The Whispers scored 15 top-ten R&B singles,[1] and 8 top-ten R&B albums with two of them, The Whispers and Love Is Where You Find It, reaching the No. 1 spot.[2] They have earned two platinum and five gold albums by the RIAA.[3]


The Whispers formed in 1963 in Watts, California. The original members included identical twin brothers Wallace "Scotty" and Walter Scott, along with Gordy Harmon, Marcus Hutson, and Nicholas Caldwell.[4] After being invited to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1966 by Sly Stone, the group relocated to that area where they began developing a reputation as a show-stopping live act. Walter Scott was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War during that period for eighteen months, returning to the group in 1969 after discharge. After Harmon injured his larynx in a driving accident in 1973, he was replaced by former Friends of Distinction member Leaveil Degree.

After a series of singles on Los Angeles label, Dore,[4] the group signed to a small LA label, Soul Clock, run by producer Ron Carson, who was responsible for their breakthrough hit, "Seems Like I Got to Do Wrong" in 1970. Moving to the larger New York-based Janus label, they continued to be produced by Carson, before he sold all of his recordings to Janus with the group then recording mainly in Philadelphia in the mid-1970s.

In 1978, the group signed to Dick Griffey's SOLAR Records. The group scored many hits on the R&B and Billboard Hot 100 charts throughout the late 1970s and 1980s, and they hit number one on the Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1979/80 with "And the Beat Goes On" / "Can You Do the Boogie" / "Out the Box". In the UK, "And the Beat Goes On" peaked at No. 2 and "It's a Love Thing" became their second top 10 in 1981 peaking at No. 9.[5] In 1987, they enjoyed a brief tenure in the US top 10 when "Rock Steady" became their first top 10 success on the Hot 100, reaching No. 7, while also capturing the No. 1 spot on the R&B chart.[6]

The Whispers later established their own production company, Satin Tie Productions, through which they released their independent 2006 album For Your Ears Only.

The group opened Game 2 of the 1989 World Series at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum with their rendition of the National Anthem.

Marcus Hutson left the group in 1992 due to prostate cancer. According to the Whispers' website, when Hutson died of it on May 23, 2000, they vowed to never replace him, and started performing as a quartet.

Jerry McNeil resigned from his position as the keyboardist in the latter part of 1993 in order to spend more time with his family.

In 2014, the Whispers were inducted into the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame.

The Philadelphia soul songwriter team Allan Felder, Norman Harris, Bunny Sigler, and Ronnie Baker provided several of the Whispers' songs, including "A Mother for My Children" and "Bingo".

Nicholas Caldwell died of congestive heart failure at his San Francisco home, on January 5, 2016, at the age of 71.[7]

Founding member Gordy Harmon died at his home in Los Angeles on January 5, 2023, at the age of 79.[8]

Awards and recognition

Band members and directors

Current members

  • Wallace "Scotty" Scott (born September 23, 1943, Fort Worth, Texas) (1963–present)
  • Walter Scott (born September 23, 1943, Fort Worth, Texas) (1963–present)
  • Leaveil Degree (born July 31, 1948, New Orleans, Louisiana) (1973–present)

Former members

  • Marcus Hutson (born January 8, 1943, St Louis, Missouri; died 23 May 2000) (1963–1992)
  • Gordy Harmon (born 1943; died January 5, 2023, Los Angeles, California) (1963–1973)
  • Nicholas Caldwell (born April 5, 1944, Loma Linda, California; died January 5, 2016, San Francisco, California)[18] (1963–2016)

Former musical directors

  • Grady "G" Wilkins, Jr. – musician, writer, producer, vocalist, keyboardist and musical director of the Whispers. Born December 30, 1955 in San Francisco, California, and died December 19, 2013.[19]
  • Fulton L. Tashombe – musician, vocalist, composer, arranger, producer, sound engineer, music educator, actor, keyboardist and musical director of Headlights. Born January 7, 1950 in San Francisco, California, and died October 14, 2017.[20]

Supporting musicians

  • Emilio Conesa – guitar
  • John Valentino – saxophone
  • Dewayne Sweet – keyboards
  • Richard Aguon – drums
  • Magic Mendez – producer, bass, keyboards, background vocals
  • Harmony Blackwell – programming, background vocals, interpretive dance
  • Aya Iwata – keyboards



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  1. ^ .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit;word-wrap:break-word}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output .citation:target{background-color:rgba(0,127,255,0.133)}.mw-parser-output a{background:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a,.mw-parser-output a{background:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output a{background:url("//")right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:url("//")right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}body:not(.skin-timeless):not(.skin-minerva) .mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background-size:contain}.mw-parser-output .cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{color:#d33}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#2C882D;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F} .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397}@media(prefers-color-scheme:dark){ .mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error, .mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{color:#f8a397} .mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{color:#18911F}}"The Whispers Singles". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "The Whispers Albums". Billboard. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  3. ^ "Gold & Platinum The Whispers". RIAA. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Dahl, Bill. "The Whispers Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  5. ^ "UK Charts > The Whispers". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  6. ^ "US Charts > The Whispers". Billboard. Archived from the original on March 16, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016.
  7. ^ Gail Mitchell (January 6, 2016). "Whispers Co-Founder Nicholas Caldwell Dies At 71". Billboard. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "Gordy Harmon, Founding Member of The Whispers, Dead at 79". Get Up!. January 6, 2023. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  9. ^ "Gold Single". RIAA. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Album". RIAA. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c "Gold Album". RIAA. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  12. ^ "Platinum Album". RIAA. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  13. ^ "The Whispers – Inductees – The Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved November 8, 2006.
  14. ^ "MixLine Feature: The Doobies, The Whispers Honored at S.F. Chapter of the Recording Academy's 2005 Governors Awards". Mixonline. June 16, 2005. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "20th Annual Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Awards Show • Bonnie's Pride and Joy". Bonnie's Pride and Joy. September 12, 2008. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "". January 11, 2013. Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Whispers and Tony Cornelius Plan a "Family Reunion" at A Wine Tasting… | Soul Train Cruise". October 30, 2015. Retrieved October 23, 2020.
  18. ^ "We Remember: Nick Caldwell of the Whispers Dies at 71". EuroWeb. January 6, 2016. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "R.I.P. Grady Wilkins, musical director of the Whispers | SoulTracks - Soul Music Biographies, News and Reviews". SoulTracks. December 20, 2013. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  20. ^ Tashombe: Celebrating the Life of Fulton L. Tashombe – YouTube Video – Facebook, R.I.P

External links

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