Colored People


Harry James Elston was born into a musical family in Dallas, Texas and grew up in San Diego, California.

In his mid teens Elston was part of a group called “Cel Foster and the Audios” which was chosen by the The Johnny Otis Rhythm & Blues Caravan in a talent search. (Otis produced Etta James’ first hit, "Roll With Me, Henry", also known as "The Wallflower" and "Every Beat of My Heart", first recorded by “The Royals” is his most famous composition which became a hit for Gladys Knight.)

In his mid twenties Elston worked as a limousine driver for “The Temptations” and in the early 60’s he LaMonte McLemore, Marilyn McCoo together with Fritz Baskett, Rex Middleton, and Lawrence Summers formed the Hi Fi’s and went on tour with Ray Charles who produced the group’s single “Lonesome Mood”.

In the mid 60’s after leaving the Hi Fi’s, Elston and Floyd Butler joined with Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love, formed the legendary group “Friends of Distinction” a name which was suggested by Love.

In the late 60’s Hall of Fame football player Jim Brown, who became the groups manager, introduced them to RCA Records and in 1969 their first album, “Grazin”, was released.

The album included the song "Grazing in the Grass" which a top five on both Pop and Soul charts. The song was originally an instrumental composed by Philemon Hou, first recorded by the South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, produced by John Florez, arranged and conducted by Ray Cork Jr. Elston wrote lyrics for the song and sang lead on it. The single sold one million copies gaining the group their first gold record.

The other single was "Going in Circles.", which earned the group their second gold record, which sold over one million copies and peaked at number five on the Top Ten pop and three on the R&B charts. "Going in Circles" was written by Jerry Peters and Anita Poree.

In 1970 the group recorded their third album, "Real Friends" on RCA Records with Charlene Gibson who replaced Barbara Jean Love.  Jessica Cleaves left to join the R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire and later Parliament.

"Love or Let Me Be Lonely", from the album, Real Friends, earned the group a second Top 10 pop hit, featuring Charlene as the lead. "I Need You" was also recorded by the group.

“The Friends were quite prolific from 1969-71, releasing 5 albums (a sixth appeared in 1973). They also released a number of great singles, including "Check It Out" (later remade by Tavares) and a terrific cover of Neil Sedaka's "Time Waits for No One." Their best cuts are excellently compiled in The Best of the Friends of Distinction, which was released in 1996.” Myspace.com/HarryElston

In 1975 the group separated and sadly, On April 29, 1990, Floyd Butler passed away.

Over the next 20 years the groups music was remade by the Gap Band, the late Luther Vandross, Paul Davis and Disney star Raven Simone.



The new Friends of Distinction group which is made up of Berlando Drake, Wendy Smith Brune, Tim Owens and of course Harry Elston brings us great memories and are creating new ones.

Elston is part of the Flashbackz - Celebrity Softball Team with Little Anthony, Robert DeBlanc, Bubba Knight, LaMonte McLemore and Sonny Turner.

The Flashbackz, ColoredPeople.net member and our sponsor DaughterNature.com have teamed up for worthy causes!

Join us Friday, March 12, 2010 at BlogTalkRadio.com/ColoredPeople 7pm PST/9pm CST/10pm EST as we meet with Mr. Harry Elston.

To *only listen over the phone*, dial (712)432-0075 Passcode: 900080.

Sponsored by: DaughterNature.com

  1. Today's Best
  2. Top Shows
  3. Best of BTR
    1. Loading

      Nadine Mercey of Destination America

      Destination America’s new hit paranormal show GHOSTS IN MY HOUSE follows homeowners who believe they live in a haunted home, and turn to renowned psychic Nadine Mercey and paranormal investigator Michelle McCay for answers.

    2. The Year of The Pitbull

      Join Tia in this 1 1/2 hour controversial special about the reputation that follows Pit Bulls and the people who own them.

    3. Beefy Dude's vs All Women Ghostbusters

      Beefy dudes undermining the all-women Ghostbusters remake, and shine theory in mountain biking.

    4. The Viral Wedding Crasher

      Ever thought about crashing a wedding? Well one man accomplished just that. We had Wedding Crasher internet sensation, Joey DiJulio and the groom, Jeff Minetti, call in to tell us their "accidental" cross country friendship story.

    5. Fireman Ed and Calvin Pryor

      This episode features exclusive interviews with New York Jets safety Calvin Pryor and one of the team's most popular fans Fireman Ed.

    6. First Woman on Mars! (Maybe...)

      Sabrina Surovec has applied for the Mars One Mission, could she be the 1st woman on Mars?

    7. Communication Can Hurt Or Help

      Amy Alkon & Dr. Verdolin: Communicating to find, keep, or improve a relationship

    8. Supernatural "The Things They Carried"

      Despite Dean’s (Jensen Ackles) directive to forget about looking for a cure for the Mark of Cain, Sam (Jared Padalecki) continues to do research and much more.

    9. Jack Weiner, Allagash Alien Abductions

      Jack Weiner along with his twin brother, Jim, and his friends Chuck Foltz and Charles Rak believe they were abducted during a kayaking trip in Maine in 1976.

    10. Chiropractic Care FAQs

      What’s new for you from Diane, shout out: Diana Rodgers’ Homegrown Paleo Cookbook, and this week in the Paleosphere: The WOD Doc.

    11. Yummy Raw Foods for Spring

      Today Laura Theodore the Jazzy Vegetarian shares tasty and easy raw recipes to brighten your spring menu! Laura welcomes Carl Solomon, Sales Director for LifeGrains.com to talk about raw food ideas.

    12. Masters of Suspense

      Joining Halli at her table are two celebrated authors of the genre Dennis Lehane and James Grady.

    13. Too much sugar?

      Join Jed and Tim from Next Door Brewing Company as we talk public school activism with parents, teachers, and citizens prior to Too much sugar? Too much TV? Too much testing?

    14. The Love of Tools

      What tools and workshops do you envy?

    15. The Gaelic Lilt of Outlander

      Adhamh O Broin Dialect Coach Brings Gaelic Authenticity to "Outlander"

    1. Loading

      Small Business Unstuck

      Host Barry Moltz gets small businesses unstuck. He has founded and run small businesses with a great deal of success and failure for more than 15 years. This is a business radio show where he shares all the craziness of small business. It’s that craziness that actually makes it exciting, interesting and totally unpredictable.

    2. America's Most Haunted

      Official Internet radio show of forthcoming epic paranormal investigation book by Eric Olsen and "Haunted Housewife" Theresa Argie.