R.I.P. Marvin Brown, lead singer of The Softones

(July 3, 2020) The early 1970s brought a series of wonderful male vocal groups fronted by falsetto lead singers. There were giants like The Stylistics and Blue Magic, but one of the unheralded but consistently charming acts of the time was Baltimore’s The Softones, led by the incredible falsetto of J. Marvin Brown. We are sad to report the death of Mr. Brown at age 66, causes undisclosed.

Produced by Hugo & Luigi and by Van McCoy (ironically, both of which later worked with the Stylistics), The Softones issued a string of moderate hits in the mid 70s, including “That Old Black Magic,” “I’m Gonna Prove It,” and their biggest hit, the smooth “My Dream.”

(July 3, 2020) The early 1970s brought a series of wonderful male vocal groups fronted by falsetto lead singers. There were giants like The Stylistics and Blue Magic, but one of the unheralded but consistently charming acts of the time was Baltimore’s The Softones, led by the incredible falsetto of J. Marvin Brown. We are sad to report the death of Mr. Brown at age 66, causes undisclosed.

Produced by Hugo & Luigi and by Van McCoy (ironically, both of which later worked with the Stylistics), The Softones issued a string of moderate hits in the mid 70s, including “That Old Black Magic,” “I’m Gonna Prove It,” and their biggest hit, the smooth “My Dream.”

Brown was joined in the group by Byron Summerville (d. 2012), Steven Jackson and Elton Lynch. While stardom eluded them, The Softones continued to hold a special place in the US and Europe for their three 1970s albums, and the group continued to perform successfully for decades after their commercial peak.

2020 has been a rough year for soul music fans, as many of the aging greats of the Golden Era of Soul Music have passed. And while not a household name, Marvin Brown was certainly of the truly great ones. Rest in peace.

By Chris Rizik

 

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