Gene Chandler

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Gene Chandler
Birth nameEugene Dixon
Born(1937-07-06) July 6, 1937 (age 76)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
GenresR&B, soul
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, record producer, record company executive
Years active1957–present
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Gene Chandler
Birth nameEugene Dixon
Born(1937-07-06) July 6, 1937 (age 76)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
GenresR&B, soul
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, record producer, record company executive
Years active1957–present

Gene Chandler (born Eugene Dixon, July 6, 1937)[1] also known as "The Duke of Earl" or simply "The Duke", is an American R&B and soul singer-songwriter, producer and record executive.

Chandler is best known for his million-selling hits "Duke Of Earl" and "Groovy Situation" and his association with the Dukays, the Impressions and Curtis Mayfield.

Gene is a Grammy Hall Of Fame inductee and a winner of both the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers' (NATRA) "Producer of the Year" Award and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award.[2] Chandler is also one of a just a few select artists to chart hit records during the doo-wop, rhythm and blues, soul, and disco eras, with some 40 Pop and R&B chart hits between 1961 and 1986.

Early years[edit]

Chandler attended Englewood High School on Chicago's south side. He began performing in the early 1950s with the Gaytones. In 1957, he joined 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 with producers Carl Davis and Bill "Bunky" Sheppard, "The Girl Is a Devil" (1961). This was followed with a session in August 1961 that resulted in four sides, most notably "Nite Owl" and "Duke of Earl." Nat Records chose to release "Nite Owl" and it became a sizeable r&b hit at the end of 1961. Meanwhile, Davis and Sheppard shopped the "Duke of Earl" recording to Vee-Jay Records, who decided to release it by him as a solo artist, under the name "Gene Chandler."

"Duke of Earl" sold a million copies in just over a month.[3] After spending three weeks at number one on the Billboard charts, Chandler purchased a cape, monocle, cane, and top hat 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 in 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 in the fall of 1963 and recorded for another Chicago label, Constellation Records. After Constellation went under in 1966, he was signed first to Chess Records and then Brunswick Records. For a time, Chess and Brunswick alternated in releasing Chandler's recordings. He had Top 20 pop hits on Constellation with "Just Be True" (1964) and "Nothing Can Stop Me" (1965), both songs written by Curtis Mayfield and produced by Carl Davis.

Other hits included "What Now", "Rainbow", "I Fooled You This Time", "Think Nothing About It"', "A Man's Temptation", "To Be A Lover", "Rainbow '65" (recorded live at Chicago's Regal Theater), "Bless Our Love", and "You Can't Hurt Me No More." These songs enabled Gene to successfully shed his "Duke Of Earl" typecasting and go on to become a major R&B star.[4] Chandler also had success with his hit cover of James Brown's "There Was A Time" and "You Threw A Lucky Punch", which was released as an "answer" song to Mary Wells's Motown hit "You Beat Me To The Punch".

After a number of years on the road, Chandler decided to become more involved with the production of music, forming his own production company and record labels, Bamboo and Mister Chand. He produced a hit his first time out with "Groovy Situation", issued on Mercury Records (1970), which reached #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #8 on the Billboard R&B chart, becoming his second biggest hit after "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.[5]

Earlier, he produced "Backfield In Motion" for Mel And Tim on Bamboo, which climbed to #3 on the R&B chart and reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, following up with "Good Guys Only Win In The Movies" for the duo (#17 R&B, #45 pop). These hits earned him The National Association of Television and Radio Announcers' Producer of the Year Award in 1970, against competition from other nominees, including Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff and Norman Whitfield.[6]

Later that year, Chandler recorded the album Gene and Jerry: One on One, with another top Chicago artist, Jerry Butler on Mercury. 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. A spell with Curtis Mayfield's label, Curtom resulted in four self-produced singles in the mid-1970s,but none charted.

In the late 1970s, he found new success with disco-style music, creating hits with his former producer, Carl Davis, including "Get Down" (1978) and follow-ups, "When You're #1" and "Does She Have A Friend?".[1] During this time, he was named Executive Vice President of Chi Sound Records, run by Davis, and worked with reggae star Johnny Nash. In the late 1970s, an interest in older musicians inspired the US DJ Wolfman Jack to put together a tour, including vintage acts such as Chandler.

"Duke of Earl" was sampled by Cypress Hill, on the song "Hand on the Pump" from their album Cypress Hill (1991); plus Chandler's song "Hallelujah, I Love Her So" was sampled on their album Black Sunday (1993). In Argentina, where Cris Morena was the host of a popular teenage programme Jugate Conmigo, the song was included on the main intro on the fiction novel, inside the program called: "Life College" (1994). In 1997, Chandler was inducted as a Pioneer Award honoree into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

In 1988, "Duke of Earl" was included on the soundtrack of Hairspray. "Groovy Situation" appeared on Anchorman: Music from the Motion Picture (2004). In 2002, "Duke Of Earl" was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.[7] Groovemaster K. and 88-Keys sampled Chandler's "When You're #1" for their song "Frisco Disco".[8] His #1 hit "Duke Of Earl" has also been selected by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll .[9][10]

Chandler still performs in Chicago, Las Vegas and elsewhere in the US. He also performs occasionally in Europe [2]


Chart singles[edit]

Chandler Duke Earl.jpg
SingleChart Positions
US Pop[11]US
1961"The Girl's a Devil"
The Dukays
1962"Duke of Earl"11-
"Nite Owl"
The Dukays
"Walk on with the Duke"
The Duke of Earl
"Rainbow" /
"You Threw A Lucky Punch"
1963"Man's Temptation"7117-
1964"Soul Hootenanny"92n/a[14]-
"Just Be True"194 (cb)-
"Bless Our Love"39n/a[14]-
"What Now"4018-
1965"You Can't Hurt Me No More"9240-
"Nothing Can Stop Me"183-
"(Gonna Be) Good Times"9240-
"Rainbow '65"692-
1966"(I'm Just a) Fool for You"88--
"I Fooled You This Time"453-
1967"Girl Don't Care"6616-
"To Be a Lover"949-
"There Goes the Lover"9846-
1968"Show Me the Way to Go"
Gene Chandler and Barbara Acklin
"Nothing Can Stop Me" (reissue)--41
"River of Tears"-19-
"There Was a Time"8222-
"From the Teacher to the Preacher"
Gene Chandler and Barbara Acklin
1970"Groovy Situation"128-
"Simply Call It Love"7529-
1971"You Just Can't Win (By Making the Same Mistake)"
Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler
"You're a Lady"-14-
"Ten and Two (Take This Woman Off the Corner)"
Gene Chandler and Jerry Butler
1972"Yes I'm Ready (If I Don't Get to Go)"-47-
1978"Tomorrow I May Not Feel the Same"-51-
"Get Down"53311
1979"When You're #1"993143
"Do What Comes So Natural"-73-
1980"Does She Have a Friend?"-2828
"Lay Me Gently"-73-
1982"I'll Make the Living If You Make the Loving Worthwhile"-40-
1983"You're the One"
Jaime Lynn and Gene Chandler
1985"Haven't I Heard That Line Before"-61-



  1. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie. "Gene Chandler, biography". Retrieved 2010-11-02 
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Gene Chandler - Reference". Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  5. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 275. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  6. ^ "Gene Chandler Page". 1937-07-06. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  7. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame
  8. ^ "Gene Chandler, credits". Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  9. ^ "500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2012-11-10. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 118. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 71. 
  13. ^ Betts, Graham (2004). Complete UK Hit Singles 1952-2004 (1st ed.). London: Collins. p. 139. ISBN 0-00-717931-6. 
  14. ^ a b No Billboard R&B chart was published during this period

External links[edit]