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Where Are They Now: Gene Chandler

The Duke of Earl would like to regain his seat among rock’s nobility

Gene Chandler

Gene Chandler, 1962

Gilles Petard/Redferns/Getty

Chicago soul star Gene Chandler found success early in his singing career, reaching Number One in 1962 with ”Duke of Earl.”

He recorded with Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler, scored another gold single, ”Groovy Situation,” in 1970 and performed on and off while also owning record companies, managing bands and producing records. At his busiest, Chandler had 25 acts on his own label and was producing all of them. ”I was so energetic and hyped that I didn’t realize I was doing as much work as I was,” he says. ”I just backed out of it–it was like burnout.”

He served a brief jail sentence for drugs in 1976. After acrimoniously leaving the now defunct Chi-Sound Records (”I was disgusted with that particular situation”) Chandler didn’t do much for a few years. ”I thought I’d sit back and get my head together rather than just rush out and try to record again.”

Chandler, 45, still lives in Chicago and recently signed to Fastfire, a new label in New York. His first album for the label, Your Love Looks Good on Me, has just been released. ”As soon as it starts moving,” he says, ”we look forward to beginning to perform again. I’ve seen the greatest of them come and go. But people like Tina Turner and myself, we just keep rolling along. You have to work at your craft, stay away from heavy drugs and be an adult. You cannot assume because you were good that anything you do is going to be great.”

In This Article: Chicago, Coverwall, Soul Train

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