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Delfonics lead singer William “Poogie” Hart dead at age 77

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William “Poogie” Hart, the lead singer of legendary Philadelphia soul group The Delfonics, died Thursday at age 77.

TMZ reports that, according to Hart’s son Hadi, William died of complications from surgery after he was recently brought to a Philadelphia hospital with breathing difficulties.

Hart co-founded The Delfonics with his brother Wilbert around the mid-1960s under the name The Orphonics, and the group began to take off after working with famed Philadelphia-based producer Thom Bell.

The Delfonics then went on to become one of the early purveyors of the classic Philly soul sound.

In January 1968, The Delfonics released “La-La (Means I Love You)” — co-written by William and Bell — which became the group’s biggest hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at #2 on Billboard‘s R&B singles chart.

William continued to co-write most of the group’s original songs with Bell. Over the next few years, The Delfonics would score several other top-40 hits, including “Break Your Promise,” “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide from Love),” “You Got Yours and I’ll Get Mine” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).”

“Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” reached #10 on the Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

The original Delfonics broke up in 1975, and in the ensuing years, William and his brother both led various spinoff lineups of the group.

“Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” was featured prominently in Quentin Tarantino‘s 1997 film Jackie Brown.

Meanwhile, the chorus of “Ready or Not Here I Come” served as the basis of the popular 1996 Fugees song “Ready or Not.”

In 2014, The Delfonics were inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.

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