Solar Records Reunion Tour
In 1975, Soul Train Records was founded by Dick Griffey and Soul Train creator Don Cornelius. Griffey formed a collective called Shalamar, using a host of session singers to record “Uptown Festival,” which was a disco-length medley of early Motown hits. After scoring a hit with the recording, he looked to Cornelius to help him put together an actual group to maintain the impact. In 1977, Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and singer Gerald Brown (who was eventually replaced by Howard Hewett) were recruited to form the new Shalamar, which would become the fledgling label’s centerpiece. Cornelius decided to shut down the label, wanting to focus his energies on the show- which was a monster hit and required his full attention to keep it so. With legalities now taken care of, Griffey reorganized Soul Train Records into the newly founded SOLAR label in late 1977. Griffey and Cornelius remained good friends, and as a result SOLAR maintained close ties to the Soul Train show.
SOLAR was known for several others who enjoyed success, including: The Whispers, Dynasty, Lakeside, Midnight Star, Klymaxx, Calloway, Carrie Lucas, Collageand The Deele — which introduced singer/songwriter/producer Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and future music executive Antonio “L.A.” Reid. Griffey had always believed in giving new talents the opportunity to create and develop their craft, and he was introduced to songwriters/producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis by his A & R rep Dina Ruth Andrews who was the team’s first manager, Reggie and Vincent Calloway, and Leon F. Sylvers III. The “SOLAR sound” was a collective effort, with artists working on each other’s sessions and artists encouraged to be creative. Sylvers who became SOLAR’s house producer in 1978. His signature basslines and productions helped mould the hit sound of SOLAR, which is funky, progressive dance music infused with soul and disco.