‘70s Philadelphia soul legends the Stylistics are coming to the O2 to celebrate 50 years since they first formed. The band soundtracked an era with hits like ‘You Make Me Feel Brand New’, Break Up to Make Up’, ‘Stop, Look, Listen’, ‘You Are Everything’, and many more.
The group, who had an incredible run of 12 consecutive Top 10 hits in the 1970s, will be joined by special guests, The Sounds of The Supremes, featuring former Supreme Kaaren Ragland for selected dates only.
Known as pioneers of the Philadelphia Soul scene, The Stylistics, who on this UK tour will be led by original members Airrion Love and Herb Murrell, formed in 1968, and went onto incredible chart success in the 1970s.
Friends since junior high school, Herb and Airrion have continued to keep their institution of 70s music alive.
Airrion Love talks to the Weekender.
“We’ve been coming to England for over 40 years. England has always been a big part of our itinerary; we tour there every year,” he says.
“People want to hear the same songs but we also add tricks to the show to try to keep it fresh and new. There’s so much support there in the UK. People come out and want to hear the same songs so we don’t deviate from that.”
For this concert, the Stylistics are joining forcing with former Supremes Kaaren Ragland, Kathy Merrick and Althea Burkhalter, the trio now known as The Sounds of The Supremes
“I was born and raised in Philadelphia,” Airrion says. “I think when I was coming up, singing was just part of growing up, and the Motown era was the big thing. So when we put a group together with five members we were kind of modeling ourselves around the Temptations, just singing, doing talent shows around Philly,” he continues.
The Stylistics was formed from two groups: the Percussions and the Monarchs. “When we graduated from high school, people went to college or went and joined the military, and so we were left with 3 members, they were left with 2; they had what we needed, we wanted to keep our name, they wanted to keep ours. So we came up with a new name.”
“As the Stylistics, we hadn’t recorded yet. We built up a reputation around the Philadelphia club scene even though a couple of us were underage; as long as we didn’t sit at the bar for too long it was ok,” Airrion says.
When Bill Perry invited the group to make a record, they recorded their first song Big Girl Now, which was released on Bill’s local record label. “It took off in the Philadelphia area and surrounding areas,” Airrion says.
“We’ve been blessed with a lot of hits that people still want to hear today because we’ve had people grow up with our music,” he continues. “We have fans spanning three generations.”
The Philadelphia music scene has changed “tremendously.” “I find myself being a senior citizen these days,” Airrion laughs. “My music taste kind of remains the same as when I was coming up. I love Aretha Franklin. My ear has stayed the same.”
The band tours extensively around the US, the UK and Asia.
The Stylistics with Special Guests The Sound Of The Supremes are at London indigo at the O2 on Thursday 28 November. Buy tickets here: https://www.ticketline.co.uk/