(Courtesy of Soul Generation)
It was January 1970 and a group known as The Citations set off into the world of R&B music to make a name for themselves. Group originator Cliff Perkins (lead singer, tenor, Choreographer), along with Earl Davenport (2nd tenor), Thomas Timmons (bass) and Herman Hammonds (baritone) gave it all they had and… well, since you probably haven't heard of The Citations I suppose you can conclude that it may not have gone down just as they had planned it to, but that is not the conclusion of the story.
Resilience is one of Cliff Perkins' most significant qualities and he was indeed determined to make this dream a reality. Famed jazz musician Doc Bagby took an interest in the young group and together with Cliff decided they needed a name change and thus Soul Generation was born. Doc Bagby contributed to their move forward towards musical success in as much as he authored a song for the group (although it was never recorded) and he introduced them to Ben E. King (who was then a member of The Drifters). He was interested in producing the group but because of his schedule only one song was written and produced. That song was called "Chicago Woman" but it was never released. Jeff Burgess joined the group replacing Thomas Timmons and Soul Generation went to work. Jeff brought with him a connection to a young songwriter by the name of Paul Kyser who penned a little ditty that would be called "Body & Soul." The group hit the studio and recorded the song that they thought to be a sure fire hit, but when they took it to the record labels; they wanted no parts of it. However this did not deter Cliff Perkins and Soul Generation from the realization of their goal. With the help of Paul Kyser and additional backing secured from The Posner Group, Ebony Sounds Records was created. The development and creation of this independent label made it possible that one day early in 1972 we turned on our radios to hear the tinkling timbres of the bells and the soulful intonation of the French horn followed by the falsetto stylings of Cliff Perkins as the words "Ooo, Ooo Baby You Just Got To Understand…" slipped ever so sweetly from his lips. The song intrigued us, then seized us and soon Soul Generation had us in the palm of their hands. The result, their 1st gold and 1st platinum hit in the form of "Body & Soul."
With the fabulous success that "Body & Soul" brought about (and those record labels that turned them away now kicking themselves) Soul Generation set out to once again reach that same status. Despite Harvey Posner selling his interests in Ebony Sounds Records to the Hillary Record Group, Soul Generation continued forward with Cliff Perkins part owner in the company. The Hillary Record Group teamed Soul Generation with a producer by the name of Stan Vincent. The question now, with all the changes could the group reach platinum level status once again?
As "Body & Soul" began to recede into recesses of our memories, we began to hear the beat of the drums, the string serenade of the violins, the horns and the words "If I Had…" and this time it was "Million Dollars" that was the million seller (written by Jeff Burgess and produced by Stan Vincent). In all actuality the song also surpassed gold and again the group achieved platinum. Yes, they'd done it again!
1973 if at all possible was an even greater year for Soul Generation as "Million Dollars" climbed the charts. Their first album ("Beyond Body & Soul") was released and Soul Generation was chosen "Most Promising Group Of The Year." They received much praise, accolades and acclaim. They were awarded the keys to various cities, honored with plaques and book revues, the dream that Cliff Perkins held for those many years was unfolding before his very eyes. Following on the heels of "Million Dollars" was "I Wonder What She's Doing" another chart topping hit for this now success driven group. "In Your Way" and "Wait So Long" made 1975 another golden year for Soul Generation and everything was just that good until the group experienced a loss with the untimely death of Earl Davenport. Earl was replaced by Michael Murphy. Soul Generation advanced toward their next stride and with the help of Cecil Holmes signed with Buddah Records. There they teamed with Tony Camilio and went on to bring "Praying For A Miracle" to the airways. With Tony aboard the group produced several solid songs like the cover of the Carpenter's "Close To You," "Stop Look & Listen", "Take My Word For It Baby" and "One Thing On My Mind" (Although unreleased at that time these songs are currently available on the recently released CD "The Tony Camilio Project Featuring Soul Generation & Cliff Perkins"). Soul Generation continued to perform and warm the hearts and souls of many loyal fans until the Disco era hit and brought a hush to their soft sensuous sounds of love.
The group went on hiatus, pursuing their individual interests. However Cliff was not yet ready to close the door on his dream. He continued in the music/entertainment industry doing commercials such as Burger King, McDonalds, Miller Beer, Sassoon Jeans, True Cigarettes and others. He sang back up for various artists; working with such groups as The New Moments, Tomorrow's Edition and Ray, Goodman & Brown. The era of the 80's soon faded into the 90's and it looked as if love songs were a thing of the past. But 1995 brought with it a smooth "new" development, love songs. They were once more the height of fashion and the demand for such groups as Soul Generation was once again the trend. Ted West joined Cliff, Jeff and Herman with Veda Ramos filling the slot as background singer. (With that came several different CDs which were released on II Class Records (Cliff's independent label), and are currently available to Soul Generation fans at their shows and from their website.
Soul Generation is once again on the move. Cliff along with Ms. Veda Ramos, Ms. Crystal Perkins (Cliff's daughter) and Mr. Donald Taylor are ready to once again capture you body and soul so step back and just watch them blaze the musical trail into the twenty-first century and today's Soul Generation is more than just a song. Cliff Perkins has taken the group full circle and he has developed quite an impressive musical portfolio which incorporates a full service entertainment enterprise. Bass Clef Publishing (a music publishing company), Papercup Productions (a music production company), II Class Records (a record label), Class A Attractions (an artist booking agency), Ultimate Publicity (a Public Relations agency) and last but surely not least ITP Management (a talent management agency and music sound company that encompasses quite a few elements of many of the preceding companies). ITP Management has the role of an events/concert coordinator and has produced concerts for many organizations.
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