Gordy Harmon, a founding member of the long-running R&B group the Whispers, has died, ABC 7 Eyewitness News reports. Harmon’s family confirmed the news in a statement to ABC, saying that Harmon died in his sleep on Thursday (January 5) at his Los Angeles home. He was 79 years old.
The Whispers formed in LA in 1964, and went on to score massive hits with singles such as “And the Beat Goes On,” “Rock Steady,” and “It Just Gets Better With Time.” Harmon created the group alongside twins Wallace and Walter Scott, Marcus Hutson, and Nicholas Caldwell (Caldwell died of congestive heart failure in 2016).
After suffering an injury to his larynx, Harmon left the group in 1973, years before the release of “And the Beat Goes On,” which became their first No. 1 single. The Whispers issued three full lengths during Harmon’s tenure: 1969’s Planets of Life, as well as Life and Breath and The Whispers’ Love Story, both from 1972.
The Whispers were inducted into the R&B Music Hall of Fame in 2014 and, two years prior, received the Soul Music Hall of Fame Award. Back in 2005, the San Francisco chapter of the Grammy Awards presented them with the Governors Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed by an Academy chapter.