The Intruders' Robert 'Big Sonny' Edwards Passes, Helped Put Gamble & Huff On The Map
October 18, 2016 at 12:58 PM (PT)
THE INTRUDERS member ROBERT "BIG SONNY" EDWARDS, the first group to have a national hit song under the direction of PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS co-founders KENNETH GAMBLE and LEON HUFF with "Cowboys To Girls," passed away.
GAMBLE & HUFF issued the following oint statement. "We are very saddened to learn of the death of our good friend, ‘BIG SONNY.’ THE INTRUDERS, featuring BIG SONNY and the rest of the original members, were near and dear to our hearts, and helped start our musical career as a team. Not only was the group one of the first artists we wrote for and produced, but they also were our close friends. BIG SONNY and the group were great artists who we have been honored to work with from the very beginning. We will truly miss BIG SONNY. We send our sincere condolences to his family.”
Surviving original member PHIL TERRY lamented that BIG SONNY “was not only my longtime friend for over 59 years, he was like a brother to me. And we, too, were honored to work with the GAMBLE & HUFF producing team and help launch the Legendary Sound of PHILADELPHIA as one of its first artists. BIG SONNY was clearly the heartbeat of the group and had a positive impact on all of us. I will greatly miss my dear brother.”
THE INTRUDERS' 1968 hit, “Cowboys To Girls,” topped the R&B charts, was a Top 10 pop hit, and became the template for what would become the PHILLY SOUND.
THE INTRUDERS received a bronze plaque along the PHILADELPHIA MUSIC WALK OF FAME in 1996. In 2010, EDWARDS and PHIL TERRY, the surviving original members of the group at the time, were honored by PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS with the annual PHILLIES GAMBLE & HUFF COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP AWARD at CITIZENS BANK PARK.
Originally a doo-wop group, THE INTRUDERS signed with GAMBLE & HUFF's fledgling GAMBLE RECORDS in 1966, and scored a Top 20 R&B hit that year with "(We'll Be) United." They followed a year later with "Together."
GAMBLE & HUFF's success with THE INTRUDERS played a significant role in helping to launch PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL RECORDS. Other subsequent INTRUDERS hits on the label included “(Love Is Like a) Baseball Game,” “(Win Place Or Show) She's A Winner,” and “I Wanna Know Your Name.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.