b. Eugene Dixon, 6th July 1937, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Gene Chandler is probably best remembered for his 1962 number 1 hit, 'Duke Of Earl', although his career went through a renaissance during the disco period when he charted again with the dancefloor filler 'Get Down'.
Gene hails from Chicago where he attended the Englewood Technical Prep Academy High School on Chicago's south side.
His singing career began during the 1950's when he became part of the group The Gaytones in 1955.
In 1957 he joined the doo-wop group, The Dukays, with James Lowe, Shirley Jones, Earl Edwards and Ben Broyles, later becoming their lead singer.
His career was placed on hold when he became drafted into the U.S. Army.
After serving his country, Gene returned to Chicago in 1960 and rejoined The Dukays (whose line-up featured Eugene Dixon (lead), Shirley Johnson (tenor), James Lowe (tenor), Earl Edwards (baritone) and Ben Broyles (bass) in 1960.
the girl's a devil - 45/1961 / nite owl - 45/1961
That year the group signed with the Nat imprint and recorded the 45 'The Big Lie' b/w 'The Girl's A Devil' in 1961.
Further Nat singles followed, including 'Nite Owl' b/w 'Festival Of Life', (a song that reached the charts) and 'Duke Of Earl' b/w 'Kissin' In The Kitchen' in 1961.
Gene recorded under the name Gene Dixon with the Dukays, and his own name as a solo singer.
Vee-Jay Records released the Dukays recording of 'Duke of Earl' b/w 'Kissin' In The Kitchen', however, the million seller was credited to Gene solely.
Gene remained at Vee Jay until 1963, releasing the singles 'Forgive Me', 'Tear For Tear', 'You Threw A Lucky Punch', 'Check Yourself', 'Baby, That's Love' and 'Man's Temptation'.
Parodying the single release, Gene purchased a cape, a monocle, a top hat and a cane, becoming, to all intents and purposes 'The Duke Of Earl'.
Gene made an appearance as the Duke in the film 'Don't Knock the Twist' in 1962, (a film which starred Chubby Checker).
the duke of earl - 1962 / just be true - 1964 / live on stage in '65 - 1965 / the girl don't care - 1967
He left Vee Jay and moved to the Constellation in 1963, Checker and Brunswick imprints in the coming years, with Gene recording for each in tandem.
At Brunswick he collaborated with the producer Carl Davis on the songs '(The) Girl Don't Care', 'There Goes The Lover' and 'From The Teacher To The Preacher', along with a duet with Barbara Acklin ('Little Green Apples' b/w 'Will I Find You').
the duke of soul - 1967 / there was a time - 1968 / the two sides of gene chandler - 1969 / the gene chandler situation - 1970
Between 1963 and 1968, further singles included 'What Now' b/w 'If You Can't Be True', 'I Fooled You This Time' b/w 'Such A Pretty Thing', 'Think Nothing About It', 'A Man's Temptation' b/w 'Baby That's Love', 'To Be A Lover' b/w 'After The Laughter (Here Comes The Tears)', 'Rainbow '65', 'Bless Our Love' b/w 'London Town', and 'You Can't Hurt Me No More' b/w 'Everybody Let's Dance'.
By now he had left his 'title', and was beginning to develop a reputation featuring his musical output alone.
He recorded a couple of James Brown covers on Brunswick, including 'There Was A Time' b/w 'Those Were The Good Old Days' and, the earlier, 'You Threw A Lucky Punch' (a response song to the Mary Wells evergreen 'You Beat Me To The Punch').
gene and gerry - 1971
In 1970, he recorded the collaboration album 'Gene and Jerry: One on One', with Jerry Butler (featuring 'You Just Can't Win (By Making The Same Mistake)' and 'Ten And Two (Take This Woman Off The Corner)').
Gene stopped touring at this time, and began to work on his in studio productions.
At Mercury Records, 'Groovy Situation' b/w 'Not The Marrying Kind' followed in 1970, which sold more than a million copies.
Gene's last Mercury single was 'Yes I'm Ready (If I Don't Get To Go)' b/w 'Pillars Of Glass' in 1971, after which he moved to the Curtom imprint in 1973, and the Eric label in 1974.
By 1978, Gene was writing and releasing Disco material.
get down - 1978 / when you're number one - 1979 / gene chandler '80 - 1980 / here's to love - 1981
'Get Down' b/w 'I'm The Travelling Kind' (released in 1978 on Chi-Sound), was a huge hit.
This was followed by the songs 'When You're number 1' b/w 'I'll Remember You' in 1979, 'Does She Have A Friend?' b/w 'Let Me Make Love To You' in 1980, and 'Rainbow '80' b/w 'I'll Be There'.
Further releases continued until 1982, after which he recorded with Jamie Lynn at Salsoul, releasing 'You're The One' b/w 'I Keep Coming Back For More' in 1983.
your love looks good on me - 1985 / tell it like it is - 1995
He also recorded duets with Dee Clark in 1984 and Jimmy Reed in 1990.
By now he had become Executive Vice President of Chi Sound Records and had begun working with the singer Johnny Nash.
His songs have been sampled by many contemporary artists, including Cypress Hill.
In 1998 'Duke of Earl' was included on the soundtrack of the film 'Hairspray', the song later being inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame.
Gene still performs in Chicago, Las Vegas and across the States.
Gene Chandler is now a Grammy Hall Of Fame inductee, a winner of the National Association of Television and Radio Announcers Producer of the Year Award, and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award.
He has achieved more than thirty chart hits, during his career.
The Duke Of Earl (Vee Jay Records 1962)
Just Be True (Vee Jay Records 1964)
Gene Chandler Live On Stage In '65 (Constellation Records 1965), (reissued as 'Live At The Regal')
The Girl Don't Care (Brunswick Records 1967)
The Duke Of Soul (Checker Records 1967)
There Was A Time (Brunswick Records 1968)
The Two Sides Of Gene Chandler (Brunswick Records 1969)
The Gene Chandler Situation (Mercury Records 1970)
with Jerry Butler:
Gene And Jerry - One & One (Mercury Records 1971)
Get Down (Chi-Sound Records 1978)
When You're Number One (20th Century Records 1979)
Gene Chandler 80 (20th Century Records 1980)
Here's To Love (20th Century Records 1981)
Your Love Looks Good On Me (Fastfire Records 1985)
Tell It Like It Is (Black Tiger Records 1995)