The Intruders were an American soul music group most popular in the 1960s and 1970s. As one of the first groups to have hit songs under the direction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, they had a major influence on the development of Philadelphia soul.
Formed around 1960, the group originally consisted of Sam "Little Sonny" Brown, Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, Phillip "Phil" Terry and Robert "Big Sonny" Edwards. In 1969, Sam Brown was replaced as lead singer by Bobby Starr, only to rejoin the group in 1973.
In 1965, when songwriters and record producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff first contemplated leaving the Cameo-Parkway record label to risk launching their own label, the vocalists on which they pinned all their hopes and venture capital were The Intruders. Like many other subsequent acts the duo produced, which included Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and The O'Jays, The Intruders had already developed a vocal sound that was both theirs and uniquely Philadelphian.
Brown, Daughtry, Terry and Edwards had been recording and performing one-off singles together since 1961, blending Philly's street corner doo-wop tradition with black gospel fervor. The result was neither as pop-infected as Motown, nor as funky and blues-inflected as Stax. The sound which The Intruders refined for the Excel, Gamble and Philadelphia International imprints reflected a different attitude than either Stax or Motown.
Gamble and Huff's success with The Intruders helped convince Columbia Records to grant them the money to launch Philadelphia International. Gamble and Huff acknowledged that their work with The Intruders was the foundation of what they called "The Sound Of Philadelphia".
The Intruders, meanwhile, were undergoing some internal turmoil. When the group resurfaced on the 1970 Gamble LP, When We Get Married, lead singer Brown was replaced by Bobby Starr. The title song, When We Get Married" (R&B #8, Pop #45), a Dreamlovers cover, became a hit on the charts, as was the follow-up "Win, Place Or Show (She's A Winner)" (UK #14). Starr's tenure with the group included Soul Train television appearances, and the rare collector's single, "I'm Girl Scoutin". Brown returned to the group in 1973 for the album Save The Children, which spawned The Intruders' last two big hits, "I Wanna Know Your Name" (R&B #9, Pop #60) and "I'll Always Love My Mama" (R&B #6, Pop #36). Kenny Gamble's mother Ruby, the inspiration for "I'll Always Love My Mama", died 10 March 2012 in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania, at age 96.
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