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

      Native Trailblazers Christmas Special!

      The Native Trailblazers 5th Annual Christmas Special!!!

    2. White House Travel Summit

      Study abroad and global citizenship were front and center at a recent White House Travel Summit.

    3. Road Trip 2

      “Road Trip 2” with a WWE Hall Of Famer and International Superstars Abdullah The Butcher and Kevin Sullivan.

    4. Magdalene & Thistle Farms

      Reverend Becca Stevens, founder of Magdalene & Thistle Farms, shares how we can use hope and love as the most powerful force to affect social change from her latest book, The Way of Tea & Justice.

    5. James Colt Harrison and Diana Saenger

      Film critics James Colt Harrison and Diana Saenger drop by to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption, an acclaimed movie that earned seven Oscar nominations. Actors Morgan Freeman, Clancy Brown and Gil Bellows have been invited to call in.

    6. College Bowl Breakdown

      SLZE Sports Breaks down ALL the college bowls and gives you a reason to watch them all!

    7. Seema Iyer

      Interview with Seema Iyer, Esq., Host of "The Docket" on Shift by MSNBC (show debuted yesterday 12-16-14) - topics included legalized pot industry in Colorado and rape allegations against Bill Cosby

    8. Victoria Moran

      Laura Theodore the Jazzy Vegetarian welcomes Best- Selling author and holistic coach, Victoria Moran to chat about tips and recipes for hosting a healthy holiday meal.

    9. Jewel

      That's Entertainment's host Tammy Jones-Gibbs will be talking with singer, songwriter and four time grammy nominee recording artist, Jewel about being a judge on the hit NBC's cappella musical competition, "The Sing-Off.

    10. The WOW Project

      Jessica Peterson is a master in helping entrepreneurs get a WOW message out to their ideal client. She is the queen of utilizing quiz's to connect with your target audience to engage and inspire them.

    11. Emily Fonda

      Emily Fonda is staring in one of the hottest movies of 2015, Fifty Shades of Grey. Emily joins me to discuss her role and delivering these iconic words "Mr. Grey will see you now".

    12. 2014 Book of the Year

      Authors on the Air host Pam Stack presents the nominees and winner for 2014 Book of the Year.

    13. Mark Reis

      Mike Reis, is the father of Chris Reis, NFL football star with the New Orleans Saints The story of a father's addiction to alcohol and sex is heart-rending and the journey of healing and reconciliation between father and son, deeply inspiring.

    14. Lt. Col Robert Adelhelm

      On tonight’s show, WE will have guest, Retired Lt. Col Robert Adelhelm. He will talk to us tonight about the recent release of the CIA reports that exposed the “torture” techniques used by the CIA!

    15. TV Guide's Michael Logan

      Michael Logan has been TV Guide's daytime television reporter for 25 years this fall, and he came to Brandon's Buzz to reminisce about his quarter-century tenure at the magazine and to dish about some of his memorable interviews.

    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.