William ‘Poogie’ Hart, Grammy-Winning R&B Singer, Dead at 77

by Emily Morgan

William ‘Poogie’ Hart, a member of an iconic R&B group from the ’70s, has died. He was 77. According to reports from TMZ, Hart, the former lead singer in the Delfonics, suddenly passed away after his “complications from surgery.”

Previously, Hart was having trouble breathing. As a result, he was taken to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia and underwent surgery. Sadly, the procedure didn’t go as planned, and he tragically passed away. 

Hart, who friends and family knew as “Poogie,” was born on January 14, 1945. Hart and his brother, Wilbert, later formed their band, the Delfonics, during the late ’60s.

Later, the group expanded when the brothers added Randy Cain, Ritchie Daniels, and Thom Bell to the group. Hart and his bandmate Thom co-penned all the songs in their massive catalog.

Hart, along with Cain, won a Grammy Award for best R&B performance for their song, “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971. 

Sadly, The Delfonics split up in 1975 after achieving about 12 top-20 hits on Billboard’s R&B and Soul Single Chart. However, former members of The Delfonics continued to perform in other bands throughout the ’90s and the 2000s. 

Fans grieve the loss of William ‘Poogie’ Hart

Iconic songs like “Didn’t I” and “La-La” were included in the soundtrack for Quentin Tarantino’s blockbuster film, Jackie Brown. Spike Lee also used their songs in his coming-of-age film, Crooklyn. 

In addition, The Fugees played a version of the group’s “Ready Or Not” and “Here I Come (Can’t Hide From Love).” Moreso, Ghostface Killah requested that Hart sing backup on his song, “After the Smoke Is Clear.”

Additionally, The Bulletproof Wallets also rapped over the entire track of “La La (Means I Love You)” in a song titled “Holla.” Other rap icons such as Biggie Smalls, Missy Elliott, Gang Starr, and Nicki Minaj have also sampled songs from the ’70s group. 

Following Hart’s passing, the group’s fans rushed online to grieve the loss of the beloved vocalist. 

One fan wrote: “There’s no Blue Magic, no Stylistics, or any other group that excelled in ballads in the early 70s (especially groups that had a primary falsetto lead singer) without the foundation of The Delfonics. RIP William Hart, now reunited with Randy Cain and Major Harris.”

Another fan mourned: “So sad, me and my mom love The Delfonics.”

A third fan mentioned La-La Means I Love You and tweeted: “A classic amongst many. Sleep in peace, William Hart.” Someone else wrote: “One of the baddest falsetto singers of all time…Rest in Power William Hart of Philly’s Own Delfonics.”

A fellow commentator said: “Damn RIP William Hart. I’ve been going to car shows with my dad ever since I was a kid and hearing oldies music like The Delfonics always made it that much better of an experience.”