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10 Essential The Whispers Singles

Today 360°Sound pays homage to one of the greatest R&B vocal groups of all time – The Whispers. Formed in Los Angeles in 1963 by identical twins Walter and Wallace “Scotty” Scott, Marcus Hutson, Nicholas Caldwell, and Gordy Harmon, The Whispers first hit the pop and R&B charts in 1970 with the socially conscious “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong,” released on the small Hollywood label Dore Records. However, their run of R&B chart dominance would begin in the late ‘70s when they were the first group signed to SOLAR Records, a label reconstituted from Soul Train Records.

At SOLAR, The Whispers benefited from the ace production of Leon Sylvers III. Sylvers crafted a trademark disco-funk sound that would also grace records by The Whispers’ labelmates Shalamar, Midnight Star, and Lakeside. From 1979’s The Whispers album until 1988, every LP the group released went either gold or platinum. In total, The Whispers have 34 Top 40 R&B hit singles to their credit. They notched 15 Top 10 R&B hits, including “And the Beat Goes On,” “It’s a Love Thing,” “Keep on Lovin’ Me,” and “Rock Steady.”

And the beat goes on. The Whispers are still at it today. They’ve got upcoming tour dates and even dropped a few singles, including 2020’s “How Long” about racial unrest. Amazingly, no personnel changes have occurred since 1973 when Leaveil Degree replaced Gordy Harmon. Hutson passed away in 2000, and Nicholas Caldwell, who wrote some of the group’s hits, died in 2016, leaving them as a trio.

Let’s give a listen to ten essential singles from The Whispers. Shhh… these dancefloor pleasers and boudoir teasers are sure to have you steady rockin’ all night long!

“(Olivia) Lost and Turned Out”

Released: 1978
From the album Headlights

A smooth midtempo song about a prostitute who “got distracted on her way to grandmother’s house” by a pimp (“a wolf in nice clothing”). The group’s gorgeous harmonies shine on this single, which peaked at #13 on the R&B charts.

“And The Beat Goes On”

Released: 1979
From the album The Whispers

“And The Beat Goes On” is one of the very best songs from the disco era. With that unstoppable groove, it’s no wonder it was the biggest hit of The Whispers’ career. “And the Beat Goes On” topped the R&B charts and it was their first Top 40 pop hit, peaking at #19. The self-titled album it’s from went double-platinum. As a millennial, my introduction to the tune came from Will Smith’s 1998 hit “Miami,” which sampled its funky beat. [Editor’s note: And it sounds like Madge ripped it off wholesale for her mega hit “Lucky Star.”]


Released: 1980
From the album The Whispers

A fan-favorite ballad, “Lady” went to #3 on the R&B charts and #28 on the pop charts. While the twins would typically take turns singing verses, Scotty sings the entirety of “Lady.” One of the things that differentiated The Whispers from other R&B vocal groups like The Temptations and The Delfonics was that they didn’t have a bass singer.

“It’s a Love Thing”

Released: 1981
From the album Imagination

If “It’s a Love Thing” doesn’t get you tappin’ your feet, I don’t know what will.


Released: 1982
From the album Love Is Where You Find It

I love the deliciously dated music video for “Emergency.” Not only are they wearing fly ‘80s tracksuits, but they’re also packed into an actual phone booth, singing to a real-life operator.

“Love Is Where You Find It”

Released: 1982
From the album Love Is Where You Find It

Looking to set the mood? Look no further than the slow-jam title track from the second side of Love Is Where You Find It. “Side A for dancin’, Side B for romancin,’” reads the LP’s back cover.

“Keep on Lovin’ Me”

Released: 1983
From the album Love for Love

Hey Scotty!
What’s that mean?
That means I’ll never give up the love that’s good to me

Gotta love the call-and-response between the mustachioed twins on this feel-good banger. “Keep on Lovin’ Me” features some scatting, too, and it’s all done over quite possibly the sickest groove the group ever laid down. The video for this Top 10 R&B hit is entertaining as well with the late Nicholas Caldwell (the tall one in the orange suit) stealing the show with his dance moves. In fact, Caldwell created all the group’s choreography.

“Some Kinda Lover”

Released: 1984
From the album So Good

“Some Kinda Lover” is a fun, uptempo, synth-driven song in the mold of “Keep On Lovin’ Me.” Hey, if the formula is working, why change it? This single, which was written by Bo Watson and a then relatively unknown Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, was not quite as successful though, peaking at #17 on the R&B charts.

“Rock Steady”

Released: 1987
From the album Just Gets Better with Time

Their biggest hit since “And the Beat Goes On,” 1987’s “Rock Steady” was a collaboration with super producers Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and “L.A.” Reid. The groovy dance tune was their only single to crack the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #7. It’s noteworthy that The Whispers’ two biggest hits were uptempo tracks. After all, this was a group initially known for their ballads and who got their name from their soft dulcet singing tones.

“In The Mood”

Released: 1987
From the album Just Gets Better with Time

This mood setter about setting the mood (We’ll dance to sweet music/How about some Marvin Gaye?) peaked at #16 on the R&B charts.

Throw these 10 singles on a playlist and you’ve got one helluva greatest hits comp. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into The Whispers’ impressive catalog, I highly recommend the new 4-CD set The Definitive Collection: 1972-1987. The compilation is on Robinsongs, a division of the UK’s Cherry Red Records, which consistently releases top-notch reissues and comps on CD.

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