The Stylistics

The Stylistics were an American soul group from Philadelphia, formed in 1966. The group released seven albums on Avco between 1971 and 1975, followed by five albums on H&L during the second half of the decade.

Members: Airrion Love (tenor vocals, lead vocals), Herbert “Herbie” Murrell (baritone vocals, lead vocals), Russell Thompkins Jr. (lead vocals, 1966-2000), James Dunn (baritone vocals, 1966-80), James Smith (bass vocals, 1966-80)

The Stylistics formed through the merger of two Philadelphia groups, The Percussions and The Monarchs. Singers Russell Thompkins Jr., James Smith, and Airrion Love hailed from the Monarchs; James Dunn and Herb Murrell came from the Percussions.

In 1970, The Stylistics debuted with the single “You’re a Big Girl Now” (b/w “Let the Junkie Bust the Pusher”) on local-press Sebring. Both sides were co-written by Marty Bryant, their road manager, and Robert Douglas, who played in their backing band Slim & the Boys. After some regional airplay, the single was picked up by Avco Records, which signed the group in 1971.

Avco linked The Stylistics with producer Thom Bell, who’d generated a string of hits with The Delfonics. Bell, in his first act of creative control with the new signing, assigned lead-vocal duties to the group’s high-tenor, Russell Thompkins Jr.


  • The Stylistics (1971)
  • Round 2 (1972)
  • Rockin’ Roll Baby (1973)
  • Heavy (1974)
  • Let’s Put It All Together (1974)
  • Thank You Baby (1975)
  • You Are Beautiful (1975)
  • Fabulous (1976)
  • Once Upon A Jukebox (1976)
  • Sun & Soul (1977)
  • In Fashion (1978)
  • The Lion Sleeps Tonight (1978)
  • Wonder Woman (1978)
  • Love Spell (1979)
  • Hurry Up This Way Again (1980)
  • Closer Than Close (1981)
  • 1982 (1982)
  • Some Things Never Change (1985)
  • A Special Style (1986)


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