THE LEGENDARY INTRUDERS!!!
On Saturday, August 20, the 26th Annual Down Home Family Reunion will happen, 4:00 – 11:00 p.m., at Abner Clay Park, Belvidere and West Leigh Streets, downtown Richmond, VA in Historic Jackson Ward.
The word intruders’ is self-explanatory; the definition being to intrude musically into your mind. Thus was born a Philadelphia musical legend that has grown internationally through the years with a solid block of classic R&B hits. For four decades The Intruders have done just that, intruded all over the musical landscape of the world.
Over four decades ago, four young men from North Philadelphia entertained family, friends and passerby’s with their street corner doo-wop harmonies. Known as The Intruders, Sam “Little Sonny” brown, Eugene “Bird” Daughtry, Phillip “Phil” Terry, and Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards all had aspirations of singing professionally worldwide before thousands of admiring fans. Their desire to perform and record music came to fruition in 1961. Then in 1965, The Intruders joined with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff to launch Gamble Records.
In the early sixties, with Little Sonny as the lead singer, the Intruders recorded such hits as A Love That’s Real, United, Gonna Be Strong, and Together. They captivated audiences at the famed Apollo Theatre in New York, the uptown Theatre in Philadelphia, the State Theatre in Baltimore, and the Howard theatre in Washington. In Atlanta, Las Vegas and nationwide, they performed at “sold out” arenas.
In 1968, The Intruders’ single Cowboys to Girls written by Gamble and Huff went gold selling over a million copies. The success of this song along with the group’s rhythm & blues sound helped launch the emerging Sound of Philadelphia.
With the release of When We Get Married in 1970, Robert “Bobby Starr” Ferguson replaced the lead singer, Little Sonny, who took a hiatus to devote time to his family. Along with Phil, Big Sonny and Bird, Bobby continued to smooth harmonic sounds that The Intruders were known for and recorded other hits such as This is My Love Song.
With the return of little Sonny in 1972, the Intruders’ success continued with a new string of hits that included (Win, Place or Show) She’s a Winner. In 1973, the group releases the phenomenal album Save The Children which included the smash hits, I Wanna Know Your Name and I’ll Always Love My Mama, written by Gamble, Huff, McFadden and Whitehead.
Masters of the Sound of Philadelphia, The Intruders appeared on the Philadelphia based TV shows – Jerry Blavat, Hy Lit and Georgie Woods; on the west coast The Joey Bishop Show; and on national TV shows such as Soul Train. In 1973, they also joined Billy Paul and The O’Jays in a Philly International European tour showcasing the Sound of Philadelphia to their overseas audience.
In 1975, The Intruders released their final album, Energy of Love and in 1976 after 15 remarkable years, Little Sonny, Bird, Phil and Big Sonny- the original Intruders disbanded.
With 26 R&B chart records and a legacy of being one of the best male vocal groups demonstrating Philly soul, the demand for their sound persevered. In the early eighties, Eugene “Bird” Daughtry formed a new group without the other original members of The Intruders. He then teamed with Glenn Montgomery and formed the new Intruders. Bird performed as first tenor for a while, but retired from performing due to health reasons and assumed the role as manager. Shortly thereafter, Bobby Starr returned to the group. During the latter part of the eighties, The Intruders sound emerged once again.
With, Michael Singletary distinctive lead voice, and Glen Montgomery, Calvin Hines, James Murphy, and Phil Gaye providing the most stellar background vocals of any group out of the City of Brotherly Love. Their live performance of such classics “Sad Girl”, “United”, “Cowboys To Girls”, “Together”, “When We Get Married” and of course the monster “I’ll Always Love My Momma” under the guidance of Philly International Records’ Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff added to the magic of this intrusion.
The intruders are just as fresh with their musical sound today as it was with the birth of their inception and will live as long as they have desire to be The Intruders.
And the legacy of The Intruders continues. In 1996, The Intruders were inducted into the Philadelphia Music hall of fame and a star in their honor was placed on the Walk of Fame on Broad Street in Philadelphia.
With the support of Phillip “Phil” Terry and Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards, the surviving members of the original group, The Intruders continue to perform today. Big Sonny and Phil proudly pass the torch. Sadly, missed are Eugene “Bird” Daughtry who passed away on December 25, 1994 and Sam “Little Sonny” Brown who died four months later on April 17, 1995.
Future plans for The Intruders include the continuation of pleasing earlier fans with sultry memories in song and music and capturing the hearts of a new audience with their R&B/Philly soul sound. They also have plans of recording a new album and a Nationwide Tour.
The VIP Gold Circle
The VIP Gold Circle returns this year. Festival attendees may obtain special seating at the stage throughout the day, complimentary food and beverages and a private meet and greet with the 26th Annual Down Home Family Reunion’s headliner, The Intruders. Tickets are $30.00 and available at below or by calling or visiting Elegba Folklore Society’s Cultural Center, 101 E. Broad Street, Richmond, Virginia, 804.644.3900