William “Poogie” Hart, the Grammy Award-winning lead singer and songwriter of the R&B group The Delfonics, has passed away. He was 77.
According to TMZ, Hart had complained of trouble breathing, and he was taken to Temple University Hospital on Thursday (July 14), where he died due to complications from surgery.
The Delfonics were founded in Philadelphia in the ’60s with Hart and his brother Wilbert alongside Randy Cain, Ritchie Daniels and Thom Bell. The Sound of Philadelphia, otherwise known as T.S.O.P, became a hallmark of soul music in the ’60s and ’70s and the Delfonics were one of the forefathers with hit singles such as “La-La Means I Love You,” “Hey! Love,” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).”
Landing on Kenneth Gamble & Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records label in the ’70s, the group was a label powerhouse alongside noted singers and legends, including The O’Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass, MFSB, The Stylistics, Patti LaBelle and Lou Rawls.
The group would win a Grammy in 1971 for “Didn’t I” for Best Performance By A Duo Or Group, Vocal Or Instrumental and would later become the backbone for several ’90s hits, including The Fugees’ “Ready Or Not” and Missy Elliott’s “Sock It To Me.”
After the original band split in 1975, former members created smaller groups to keep the sound and spirit alive. The Delfonics scored twelve top-20 hits on the Billboard R&B singles charts.