The Intruders were an American soul music group most popular in the 1960s and 1970s. Formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, they are considered one of the earliest groups to define the “Philly Soul” sound, which would become influential in the development of soul music in the 1970s.
The original members of The Intruders were lead singer Sam “Little Sonny” Brown, Eugene “Bird” Daughtry, Phillip “Phil” Terry, and Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards. They formed in 1960 and initially recorded for small local labels, producing music that blended doo-wop and soul.
Their big break came when they signed with Gamble and Huff’s label, Gamble Records, in 1966. Under the guidance of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, The Intruders developed a smoother, more rhythmically sophisticated version of soul music that was characteristic of the emerging Philadelphia Soul sound.
The Intruders scored their first big hit in 1968 with “Cowboys to Girls,” which topped the R&B charts and became a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. This success marked the beginning of a series of hits for the group, including songs like “(Love Is Like A) Baseball Game,” “Together,” and “I’ll Always Love My Mama.” These songs often featured catchy melodies, lush arrangements, and heartfelt lyrics about love and family life, reflecting the maturing tastes of the soul music audience.
Despite their success, The Intruders faced challenges, including changes in the lineup and the evolving music industry. The group experienced a decline in popularity in the mid-1970s as disco and funk became dominant. However, their music continued to be appreciated by soul music aficionados.
In later years, The Intruders, like many classic soul groups, saw a revival of interest in their music, particularly among collectors and fans of old-school R&B. Their role in pioneering the Philly Soul sound, which influenced artists and producers for decades, ensures their place in the history of American popular music. The Intruders’ blend of harmonious vocals and sophisticated musical arrangements remains a hallmark of their enduring legacy in the soul music genre.