One of the seminal groups that contributed to what became known as the "Solar" sound, Los Angeles-based Dynasty never achieved the level of mainstream success attained by labelmates The Whispers, Midnight Star, Shalamar and later, The Deele. Rather, the original trio - Kevin Spencer, Linda Carriere and Nidra Beard - were consistent chartmakers for Solar (the label created by industry veteran Dick Griffey as a successor to Soul Train Records in 1978), scoring ten R&B hits from 1979 to 1988.
Dynasty was essentially the brainchild of Griffey and producer Leon Sylvers III, a former member of the famed Sylvers family group who had achieved much popularity in the early to mid-'70s. A principal architect of the "Solar" musical style, Sylvers had become a house producer for the label (whose name stood for "Sound Of Los Angeles Records") and it was in this capacity that he brought the members of Dynasty to the company. Detroit-born Nidra (who later married Leon Sylvers) and New Orleans native Linda had worked together for a couple of years first in the group DeBlanc and then in Starfire from 1975-77. Completing the original line-up was Californian Kevin Spencer, who had played bass with The Sylvers and after bringing the trio to Griffey, Leon started working on Dynasty's first album for Solar.
Entitled "Your Piece Of The Rock," the album included "I DON'T WANNA BE A FREAK (BUT I CAN'T HELP MYSELF)" which made a dent on the R&B charts but enjoyed much greater success in the UK where it reached the Top 20. It wasn't until the release of the 1980 album "Adventures In The Land Of Music" that Dynasty landed its biggest U.S. hit: the infectious "I'VE JUST BEGUN TO LOVE YOU" - a soulful slice of Sylvers-produced dance and pop - reached the R&B Top 10. The LP, which became the group's best-selling set, included a number of strong cuts including "SOMETHING TO REMEMBER" and "DO ME RIGHT" both released as singles with varying degrees of chart success.
By 1981, Leon Sylvers had decided to join Dynasty as a full-time member, bringing in brother Foster to play bass: the re-formed quintet cut "The Second Adventure" with a first single, "Here I Am" produced by members of Midnight Star but major chart action seemed to elude the group. A fourth LP, "Right Back At Cha" followed in 1982, notable for the inclusion of William Shelby as a vocalist, the singles "STROKIN'" and "CHECK IT OUT" and the contribution of then-fledgling songwriters (and future super producers) Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis who penned the track "The Only One."
In 1983, Dynasty began what would be a five-year hiatus: producer Sylvers, original member Spencer and new member of the team Shelby left to focus their attention more than ever on writing and producing acts like Gladys Knight & The Pips and Atlantic Starr: together the trio had been responsible for penning songs like The Whispers' "And The Beat Goes On" and Shalamar's "The Second Time Around." In 1988, Shelby, Spencer and Beard (by then divorced from Sylvers) re-formed to work on the album "Right Back Atcha" using the services of a number of hot producers of the day including former Deele members L.A. and Babyface and Joyce "Fenderella" Irby of Klymaxx. The group's final set yielded two singles "DON'T WASTE MY TIME" and "TELL ME (DO U WANT MY LOVE)" before Dynasty decided to call it quits at about the same time that Solar Records began being less active in releasing new product.
Contributed by David Nathan