Artist Biography

In 1966 a group of talented students at Washington D.C.'s Howard University in 1966 formed the upstart group Al & the Vikings.  Consisting of singer/songwriter Al Johnson, Tom Fauntleroy Marvin Brown, Bob Hayes, and George Roland, the group changed its name during its first year to the Unique Five and later to the Unifics.  Known for their smooth harmonies and their dapper attire (including their trademark white gloves), the Unifics soon gathered a large following in the D.C. area and began to attract attention elsewhere.  Unfortunately, outside obligations of the various members also created a number of personnel changes that often confused the group's most loyal fans. Hayes, Roland and Fauntleroy left in 1967 (Fauntleroy leaving for the military) and the group became a quartet with the addition of Michael Ward and Greg Cook.  Brown left during the following year, replaced by Harold Worthington. 

The group signed with manager Guy Draper, who landed the act a contract with Kapp Records and became their producer and a principal writer.  Soon after signing with Kapp, the Unifics hit national pay dirt with their single, "The Court of Love," which scored on both the Soul and Pop charts.  A falling out with Draper led to nearly a year of litigation and the departure of Ward and Worthington, with Fauntleroy and Brown rejoining in 1970 and creating the longest lasting version of the group (Johnson, Brown, Fauntleroy and Cook). The Unifics continued to chart into the early 70s with such cuts as "It's a Groovy World," "Toshisumasu" and their last major hit, "The Beginning of My End."  Their final single was "Dawn of a New Day (In My Life)" on Jerry Butler's Fountain label.  The act split in 1972, with Johnson going on to become an important songwriter and producer for the next 30 years (often working with Fauntleroy) for acts such as the Dells, Peabo Bryson, the Whispers and Norman Connors.

In 2004, three decades after the Unifics called it quits, Johnson and Fauntleroy decided to resurrect the group and recruited Newport News, Virginia veteran singers Charlie Lockhart and Garrett Hall to complete the quartet.  Then, at the end of 2004, they self-released Unifics Return, the first Unifics album in over three decades.

Leave a comment!