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The Friends of Distinction

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Known most for their pop smash "Grazing in the Grass," the Friends of Distinction were founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler and included Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love, as well as later member Charlene Gibson, who replaced Love during her pregnancy. Elston and Butler's involvement in music entailed several groups, including the Hi-Fi's. When that group disbanded in 1966, Elston and Butler recruited Cleaves and Love for their next endeavor. Initially, Elston came up with Distinctive Friends as a name, but Love suggested reversing the words to Friends of Distinction. After polishing their act for a few months during 1968, the Friends of Distinction hit the local tour circuit in Los Angeles. With well-developed talent and the support of a well-known manager, former football great Jim Brown, the group signed with RCA. In 1969, the group released its first single, "Grazing in the Grass." Originally recorded by famed trumpeter Hugh Masekela (Elston wrote the lyrics to Masekela's trumpet lead), the song became a smash hit. It graced the Billboard R&B chart for 17 weeks and peaked at number five, while it reached number three on the Hot 100. The second release, "Going in Circles," climbed to number three on the R&B chart during a 19-week stay. "Love or Let Me Be Lonely," "Time Waits for No One," and "I Need You" also charted for the group, though none was as rewarding as the group's first two hits. The group also encountered some personnel changes following the early success. Love departed, as did Cleaves, who joined Earth, Wind & Fire (and later worked with Parliament-Funkadelic and Raw Silk, among others). When Elston and Butler opted to call it quits over differences, the Friends of Distinction had seven albums to their credit, all of which were released on RCA. After several years apart, Elston and Butler overcame their differences, but Butler died of a heart attack in 1990. Later in the decade, Elston re-formed the group with Pattie Brooks, Van Jewel, and Drake Frye as his fellow performers. Cleaves died after a stroke in 2014. ~ Craig Lytle
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Albums by
The Friends of Distinction

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    12 songs

    On Air

    Grazin'

    9 songs

    On Air

    Highly Distinct

    20 songs

    On Air

    The Best of the Friends of Distinction

    10 songs

    On Air

    Going in Circles

    10 songs

    On Air

    Whatever

    1 song

    On Air

    Grazing In the Grass [Performed Live On the Ed Sullivan Show]


Top Songs by
The Friends of Distinction

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Going in Circles
  3.   Grazing in the Grass
  4.   Love or Let Me Be Lonely
  5.   Love Can Make It Easier
  6.   It Don't Matter to Me
  7.   Jenny Wants to Know
  8.   I Really Hope You Do
  9.   It's a Just a Game Love
  10.   Check It Out
  11.   Love Shack
  12.   Dying to Live
  13.   (A) Sweet Young Thing Like You
  14.   I've Never Found a Girl (Who Loves Me Like You Do)
  15.   Grazing in the Grass Anchorman Medley
  16.   The Train
  17.   Love or Let Me Be Lonely
  18.   Why Did I Lose You
  19.   It's Sunday
  20.   Workin' on a Groovy Thing
  21.   We Got a Good Thing Goin'
  22.   Eli's Comin'
  23.   Honey Baby Theme
  24.   Easy Evil
  25.   This Generation
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
The Friends of Distinction

    On Air

    Classic Soul

    On Air

    Smooth Jams

    On Air

    Oldies

    On Air

    Hotel Poolside

    On Air

    Old School R&B

    On Air

    '60s Deep Dive


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