Lowrell Simon

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Lowrell Simon aka Lowrell was a member of Chicago soul group the Lost Generation and also had an '80s hit with "Mellow Mellow Right On," which has been the source for numerous raps and samples, most notably…
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Lowrell Simon aka Lowrell was a member of Chicago soul group the Lost Generation and also had an '80s hit with "Mellow Mellow Right On," which has been the source for numerous raps and samples, most notably Massive Attack's "Lately," Markie Dee, and Chicago rapper Common.

Produced by Chi-Lites producer Carl Davis for New York-based Brunswick Records, the Lost Generation's biggest hit was "The Sly, Slick and the Wicked," a number 14 R&B hit in the summer of 1970. Co-written by group member Larry Brownlee (who died in 1978), Brunswick promotion man Gus Redmond, and Simon, the record is a mellow ballad anchored by a strong, shouting lead vocal. Engineered by studio great Bruce Swedien at Chicago's Brunswick branch studio, the track has some startling pre-sampling effects ("wicked! wicked!"). The single tied for trade publication Record World's 1970 Record of the Year award with the Jackson 5's "A B C." The release also generated enough money for Brunswick to buy itself out from its owner, Decca Records. The group also included Simon's brother Fred and Jesse Dean. An Ohio group appropriated the song's title as its name.

Though the group never had a hit as big as "The Sly, Slick and the Wicked," the Lost Generation charted with "Wait a Minute" (number 25 R&B, late 1970), "Someday," and "Talking the Teenage Language." After their last chart hit, "Your Mission (If You Decide to Accept It) Part 1" (on Innovation Records), which hit number 65 R&B in fall 1974, the group disbanded.

Simon contributed to the movie soundtrack to the 1974 Gordon Parks Jr. film Three the Hard Way starring Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, and Jim Kelly. The soundtrack LP featured the Impressions. In the early '80s, he began recording for Liberace's AVI Records as Lowrell. His solo debut Lowrell (released fall 1979) boasted a production roster of the Chi-Lites' Eugene Record, Bruce Hawes, arranger Thomas "Tom Tom 84" Washington, and the cream of local musical talent. The second single, "Mellow Mellow Right On," went to number 32 R&B in fall 1979. Other tracks from the LP that garnered attention were the first single, "Overdose of Love," "You're Playing Dirty" (originally the flip of "Mellow..."), and "Smooth and Wild." Other songs Simon wrote or co-wrote include "Keep on Playing the Music" by Mystique featuring Ralph Johnson from their 1976 Curtom/Warner Bros. debut, the popular LP track "All About the Paper" by Loleatta Holloway on her self-titled 1979 Gold Mind/Salsoul album, and "Dance Master" (part one and two), a hit single by Chicago soul mainstay Willie Henderson in 1974.