Edmund Sylvers
Born: 1-25-1957 Died: 3-11-2004
(
lung cancer)
     Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Edmund was part of The Sylvers, a family act tutored by their former opera singing mother, Shirley Sylvers. He joined his singing
siblings in 1971 and the group signed to Pride Records, a subsidiary of MGM Records in 1972. Their debut single,
"Fool's Paradise," reached #-13 on Billboard's R&B chart. "Wish
That I Could Talk To You"
repeated the success, rising three places higher (and to #-77 on Billboard's pop charts). Later the Sylvers transferred to the main MGM imprint, but
had only one chart appearance,
"Through The Love In My Heart."
   
 When Larkin Arnold, then vice president for Capitol Records, signed them in 1975, he hired Motown veteran Freddie Perren to produce them. Perren helped write and
produce three #-1 singles for The Jackson Five and one for Michael Jackson. The first time Perren heard The Sylvers, he knew he would be working with 24-carat material. The
group had many of the same strengths as the early Jacksons, including a lead singer (
Edmund) who was beginning to mature, but still had a youthful flavor to his voice.  Lyricist
Keni St. Lewis, one of Perren's oldest friends and collaborators, came to rehearsals and suggested they come up with a song using one of the popular words of the day,
"boogie."
The funky tune that emerged,
"Boogie Fever," featured all nine Sylvers, including the youngest sisters Angelia and Pat. The single entered the Hot 100 on February 14, 1976 at
#-84 and took 13 weeks to climb to #-1. The follow-up, a confection called
"Cotton Candy" was less danceable and aimed more at a radio audience. The results were less than
sweet. A short chart run peaking at #-57. However the album
"Showcase" did do well in sales.
     Perhaps Larkin or Perren, or both, realized their mistake and quickly rectified it with a promotional-only 12" single to clubs to promote The Sylvers next release. "Hot Line" became the group's second biggest single
peaking at #-5 on the pop charts in January of 1977. The album,
"Something Special" did produce another charter with "High School Dance" but failed to make it big in the clubs. One final album for Capitol Records, the
bland 1977
"New Horizons" failed to produce any hits and failed to get any chart or sales action. By this time a move was afoot to the more visible Casablanca Records, who at this point seemed to have the disco market
cornered.
    Their 1978 Casablanca Records debut was produced by Leon Sylvers. By this time they were back down to a sextet, four brothers (
Edmund, Foster, Ricky and James), and  two sisters (Pat and Angelia). "Forever Yours"
gave them a promising start at their new label. The first single,
"Don't Stop, Get Off" took them back to the charts, even if only at a modest Top 20 R&B. For their next album Casablanca pulled out the big guns. Giorgio
Moroder produced, while Harold Faltermeyer arranged, and Juergen Koppers mixed. Most of the musicians were from Giorgio's
"Munich Machine" line-up. Although "Disco Fever" produced no chart hits, one listen and you'll
hear the quality embedded in the grooves. The bright and crisp sounds that could only come from Giorgio, lace this album like any of his other fine productions. Sadly overlooked in the massive amount of releases in 1979
this was to be the groups last for Casablanca. Edmund released one solo effort on Casablanca, the 1980 disc
"Have You Heard." A second album was recorded for Arista Records in the early 1980's but remains unreleased.
    A loving family man, he remained close to his siblings and was happy to fade into the background when demand for the group waned. After the groups demise he found work as a percussionist on albums by The
Whispers and Janet Jackson, and as a producer for Gladys Knight and Carrie Lucas.
    According to family sources he battled the lung cancer for 10 months before succumbing to it in his Richmond, Virginia home. Edmund is survived by 11 children, both his parents and eight brothers and sisters. A younger
brother, Christopher, died in 1985 at age 17. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Thanks Edmund for bringing your music into our world!