The music world has lost an irreplaceable titan today. TMZ reports that William “Poogie” Hart, the lead singer of the iconic R&B trio The Delfonics, passed away Thursday, July 14, at the age of 77. His son Hadi said that he was taken to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia after he reported trouble breathing and suffered complications during surgery.
The Delfonics, which Hart and his brother Wilbert formed in Philadelphia in 1965, are credited with helping to popularize the Philly vocal sound, which was characterized by their use of falsetto on songs like “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” “La-La (Means I Love You),” and “Ready or Not Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).” Although the height of their popularity was primarily in the 1960s and ’70s, they remained active to this day, performing at festivals like Like Upon A Time In LA and working with contemporary producer Adrian Younge in 2013 to release Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics. They also appeared in Marvel’s Luke Cage series on Netflix.
Hip-hop fans may know the vocal group from their work with Younge and samples by The Fugees, Ghostface Killah, Nas, and The Notorious B.I.G. Their music was also used extensively in films like Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 thriller Jackie Brown, in which “Didn’t I” was pivotal to the plot. Poogie’s death leaves his brother Wilbert as the last remaining original member of the group, which had splintered in the 1990s, performing as two separate groups under the same name.