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Gene Chandler
Birth name Eugene Dixon
Born July 6, 1937 (1937-07-06) (age 72)
Origin Chicago, Illinois, United States
Genres R&B, soul
Occupations Singer-songwriter, record producer, record company executive

Gene Chandler (born Eugene Dixon, July 6, 1937, Chicago, Illinois[1] is an American singer. He is one of the leading exponents of the 1960s Chicago soul scene.[1] He is best known for his million selling # 1 hit, Duke Of Earl, his million-seller Groovy Situation , and his associations with The Dukays ,The Impressions , and Curtis Mayfield. A Grammy Hall Of Fame Inductee, Chandler has had more than thirty chart hits.


Early years

Chandler attended Englewood Technical Prep Academy High School on Chicago's south side. He began performing in the early 1950s with The Gaytones. In 1957 he joined a doo-wop group The Dukays with James Lowe, Shirley Jones, Earl Edwards and Ben Broyles, soon becoming their lead singer. After his draft into the US Army he returned to Chicago in 1960 and rejoined The Dukays.


The Dukays were offered a recording contract by Nat Records and recorded a single "The Girl Is a Devil" (1961), followed by two other singles including "Nite Owl". "Nite Owl" entered the charts and he recorded with The Dukays under the name of Gene Dixon and as a solo act as Gene Chandler. Vee-Jay Records released the Dukays recording of "Duke of Earl" but credited the song solely to Chandler. "Duke of Earl" sold a million copies in just over one month[2].

After spending three weeks at number one on the Billboard Magazine charts, Chandler purchased a cape, a monocle, a top hat and a cane and became "The Duke of Earl" . Chandler can be seen in the full 'Duke' outfit singing "The Duke of Earl" in the movie Don't Knock the Twist 1962, starring Chubby Checker. His concerts became popular and he performed encores, usually "Rainbow '65, one of his collaborations with Curtis Mayfield. This song was recorded by Chandler three times during his career, becoming a hit each time.

Chandler left Vee Jay and recorded for Constellation Records, Chess and Brunswick Records, these companies alternated with each other when releaseing Chandler's recordings. He had a Top 20 Pop hit with "Just Be True" (1964), produced by Curtis Mayfield. "Nothing Can Stop Me" (1965),also written by Mayfield became a Top 20 pop hit as well. More hits followed such as "What Now", "A Man's Temptation", "Bless Our Love", and "You Can't Hurt Me No More", during the next five years. Chandler had success with his hit cover of James Brown's "There Was A Time" and "You Threw A Lucky Punch" , which was released to compete with Mary Wells Motown hit "You Beat Me To The Punch". In 1970, Chandler recorded the album Gene and Jerry: One on One, with Jerry Butler.

After a number of years on the road, Chandler decided to become more involved with production of music. He produced, wrote, arranged and had a major hit with "Groovy Situation" (1970), which reached #12 on the pop charts pop and #8 on the R&B charts, becoming his second biggest hit since "Duke Of Earl". "Groovy Situation" sold more than a million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. in November 1970.[3]

The hits he recorded and produced earned him The National Association of Television and Radio Announcers Producer of the Year Award in 1970, against competition from other esteemed nominees including Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Norman Whitfield. He also appeared with The Impressions and Curtis Mayfield on the live album Curtis in Chicago (1973). Chandler appeared on Arthur Louis's album Knocking on Heaven's Door (1974) alongside Eric Clapton. Later he had success with disco music, creating hits such as "Get Down" (1978), "When You're #1", "Does She Have A Friend?" and "Rainbow '80".[1]. During this time he was also the Executive Vice President of Chi Sound Records and worked with reggae star, Johnny Nash. In the late 1970s an interest in older musicians inspired US DJ Wolfman Jack put together a tour including vintage acts featuring Chandler.

"Duke of Earl" was sampled by Cypress Hill, on the song "Hand on the Pump" from their album Cypress Hill (1991) and also Chandler's song "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" for their album Black Sunday (1993). In 1997 Chandler was inducted as a Pioneer Award honoree into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation .Chandler's "Tomorrow I May Not Feel the Same" was sampled by Reflection Eternal on the song "Ghetto Afterlife" from Train of Thought (2000)

In 1998 "Duke of Earl" was included on the soundtrack of Hairspray."Groovy Situation" appeared on Anchorman: Music from the Motion Picture (2004). In the same year "Duke Of Earl" was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Groovemaster K. & 88 Keys sampled Chandler's "When You're #1" for their song "Frisco Disco".[4]

Chandler still performs in Chicago, Las Vegas and elsewhere in US.

Further reading

  • Pruter, Robert. Chicago Soul. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1991, ISBN 978-025206259-9


  1. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie, Gene Chandler, biography,,, retrieved 2010-11-02 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 275. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ "Gene Chandler, credits". Retrieved 2010-11-02. 

External links

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