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The Main Ingredient
Early historyThe group was formed in Harlem, New York in 1964 as a trio called the Poets, composed of lead singer Donald McPherson, Luther Simmons, Jr., and Panama-born Tony Silvester.
They made their first recordings for Leiber & Stoller's Red Bird label, but soon changed their name to the Insiders and signed with RCA.
After a couple of singles, they changed their name once again in 1968, this time permanently to the Main Ingredient, taking the name from a Coke bottle.The Main Ingredient then teamed up with record producer Bert DeCoteaux.
Under his direction, the Main Ingredient reached the R&B Top 30 for the first time in 1970 with "You've Been My Inspiration." A cover of The Impressions' "I'm So Proud" broke the Top 20, and "Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)" went into the Top 10.
They scored again with the McPherson-penned black power anthem "Black Seeds Keep on Growing," but tragedy struck in 1971: McPherson, who had suddenly taken ill with leukemia, died unexpectedly.
Stunned, Silvester and Simmons regrouped with new lead singer Cuba Gooding, Sr., who had served as a backing vocalist on some of their previous recordings and had filled in on tour during McPherson's brief illness.The Gooding era began auspiciously enough with the million-selling smash "Everybody Plays the Fool", which hit number two R&B and number three pop to become the group's biggest hit.
It sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A.
in September 1972.
The accompanying album, Bitter Sweet, became their first to hit the Top 10 on the R&B album chart; its follow-up, 1973's Afrodisiac, featured several songs written or co-written by Stevie Wonder, although it did not produce any huge successes on the singles charts.
They peaked at number eight on the R&B chart in 1974 with "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely", which sold over a million copies, and also reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100.
The track peaked at number twenty-seven in the UK Singles Chart in July 1974, although it was their only chart presence in the UK.
In 1975, the group recorded several songs co-written by Leon Ware, including the R&B Top Ten "Rolling Down a Mountainside".
By this point, however, Silvester was harboring other ambitions; he released a solo album called Magic Touch that year, and left the group to form a production team with DeCoteaux.Later yearsSilvester was replaced by Carl Tompkins, and Gooding departed for a solo career on Motown in 1977, which produced two albums; Simmons, meanwhile, left the music industry to work as a stockbroker.
Gooding, Silvester and Simmons reunited as the Main Ingredient in 1979, and recorded two more albums, 1980's Ready for Love and 1981's I Only Have Eyes for You (the latter featured a minor hit in "Evening of Love").
The trio reunited for a second time in 1986, but their Zakia single "Do Me Right" flopped, and Simmons returned to his day job.
He was replaced by Jerome Jackson on the 1989 Polydor album I Just Wanna Love You.
In the wake of Aaron Neville's Top Ten revival of "Everybody Plays the Fool", Gooding resumed his solo career and issued his third album in 1993.
Silvester and Simmons re-formed the Main Ingredient in 1999 with new lead singer Carlton Blount; this line-up recorded Pure Magic in 2001.Silvester died after a six-year struggle with multiple myeloma on November 27, 2006, at the age of 65 and Luther Simmons retired shortly thereafter.
The current line-up of the group consists of Cuba Gooding Sr., Larry Moore and Donald Black.