Richard “Dick” Griffey, the founder of Solar Records which stood for Sound of Los Angeles Records passed away on September 24. Solar Records was the home to many music artists I listened to back in the 70’s and 80’s including Shalamar featuring Jody Watley, Lakeside, the Whispers, Klymaxx and Midnight Star.
Dick Griffey, the founder of the Solar record label — known for bringing a funky, laid back, California sound to soul, R&B and disco in the ’70s and ’80s — died on Sept. 24 in Los Angeles. He was 71.
The cause was complications of quadruple bypass surgery, his daughter Regina Griffey Hughes said.
Solar was an acronym for Sound of Los Angeles Records. It was started by Mr. Griffey in 1977 as a spinoff from Soul Train Records, a company he had founded several years earlier with Don Cornelius, the creator and host of the long-running, dance-driven television variety show “Soul Train.” Mr. Griffey had been the show’s talent coordinator.
Under his aegis, Solar signed groups like Shalamar, the Whispers, Lakeside, Dynasty, Klymaxx, Midnight Star and the Deele. And by 1980, The Los Angeles Times called Mr. Griffey “the most promising new black music executive” in the country.
Shalamar, which included several performers from the “Soul Train” show, went on to score more than a dozen hit singles, among them “The Second Time Around,” which topped the soul music charts and crossed over into the pop market. Other Shalamar hits were “Right in the Socket,” “Make That Move,” “A Night to Remember” and “This Is For the Lover In You.”Also among Solar’s biggest stars were the Whispers, who brought their intricate harmonies to hits like “It’s a Love Thing,” “Chocolate Girl,” “Rock Steady” and — their best known — “And the Beat Goes On,” which Mr. Griffey helped write. Other Solar hits include Lakeside’s “Fantastic Voyage,” Babyface’s “It’s No Crime” and Klymaxx’s “The Men All Pause.”
Solar Records had some great music back in the day. Check out Lakeside’s Raid.
Mr. Griffey is survived by his wife singer Carrie Lucas, five children and five grandchildren. RIP Mr. Griffey.