Major Harris, an R&B singer who helped develop the silky, funk-inflected “Philadelphia sound” as a member of the Delfonics and in his solo career, died on Friday at the age of 65, the Associated Press reports. According to his sister, Catherine Thomas, Harris died of congestive heart and lung failure in Richmond, Virginia.
Born in Richmond in 1947, Harris was the son of a guitarist and a church choir leader. During the 1960s, he lent his voice to various doo-wop and R&B groups including Charmers, the Teenagers (of Frankie Lymon fame), the Jarmels and Nat Turner’s Rebellion. He joined the Delfonics after founding member Randy Cain left the group in 1971, and sang on their albums Tell Me This is a Dream and Alive and Kicking. In 1974, Harris also left the Delfonics to strike out on his own as a solo singer.
Harris’ solo hits include “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” which went to Number Five on Billboard’s Hot 100, and “I Got Over Love.” He later joined the Delfonics again as they regrouped for new projects beginning in the 1980s, including providing the backing vocals for Ghostface Killah’s 1996 track “After the Smoke is Clear.” In 2008, Harris contributed his vocals to Best of the Delphonics. His final performance was at a Delfonics reunion show in 2011.