Gordy Harmon, one of the founding members of the jazz and soul band The Whispers, has died at the age of 79.

The musician’s family shared news of Harmon’s passing to news outlets on Friday (January 6). Harmon died peacefully in his sleep on December 5 in his Los Angeles home, due to what his family believes was natural causes. Harmon was one of five members to found The Whispers in 1964.

During his nine-year tenure with the group – which also included identical twin brothers Wallace and Walter Scott, as well as Marcus Hutson and Nicholas Caldwell – Harmon and his bandmates built a reputation as a show-stopping live act.

Harmon left The Whispers in 1973 after suffering an injury to his larynx, having released three albums during his time as a bandmate. These included 1969’s ‘Planets of Life’, and ‘Life and Breath’ and ‘The Whispers’ Love Story’, both released in 1972.

After Harmon’s departure from the band, The Whispers went on to release their first number one single on the R&B Charts, the 1979 hit ‘And The Beat Goes On’. The disco track also marked the band’s first entry into Billboard charts, peaking at number 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. Other hit singles released by The Whispers included ‘Rock Steady’ and ‘Just Gets Better With Time’, the latter of which formed the title track of their sixteenth studio album in 1987.

Harmon is survived by his only remaining The Whispers bandmates, Wallace and Walter Scott. Caldwell died of congestive heart failure in 2016 at the age of 71, while Huston passed away following a battle with prostate cancer in 2000. The Whispers were inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2014.

Speaking of The Whispers’ enduring legacy in a 2017 interview with Los Angeles Sentinel, Walter Scott credited he and his bandmates being “really attuned to being humble, never taking ourselves for granted or acting like we were bigger than we really were”.

The post The Whispers co-founder Gordy Harmon has died, aged 79 appeared first on NME.

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