From Small Town Music Capitol of the World to radio waves have passed Perry Como, Bobby Vinton and The Edwards Generation.
The latter, an enduring family band whose career began slowly at a Polish club in Canonsburg, built at concerts in Pittsburgh and New York, and reached a crescendo in Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, once again takes center stage. from the scene. Their 1976 track, “You’re the One for Me,” was sampled by Dr. Dre for its latest release, ETA, which debuted in the online game Grand Theft Auto V, The Contract, on December 15th. .
“They’re using the actual performance we did in 1976,” said Les Edwins, the drummer for The Edwards Generation who released the single “It’s Christmas!” The final holiday season. “They haven’t really changed much. It was truly an honor for us to hear all of our individual tracks. It’s really great that you can hear the song redone again, but not changed to such an extent that you don’t even know which song it is.
Dr. Dre – known the world over as a rapper, music producer, and genius behind the Beats by Dre headphones – isn’t the first big-name artist to sample The Edwards Generation. The band’s music has been reused by at least 12 hip-hop rappers, including Knxwledge., Who collaborated with Silk Sonic’s Anderson .Paak. And last year, up-and-coming Irish artist For These I Love (who signed to Adele’s manager’s label) sampled “You’re the One for Me”.
“If you listen to his version… you’re going to hear parts of our song. He made it into a more electronic soundtrack; he took our voice and twisted it. Personally, I like what he did, ”said Myron Edwins, the band’s bassist. “It doesn’t sound like our song so much. You can tell it’s in there, but it’s so different. Now, with the Dre version, they’ve paid tribute to us, the entire Edwards generation. “
The Edwards Generation, which has been performing since all siblings can remember, has a rich history to pay tribute to. Jeff, Myron, Les, Charlene and Ron Edwins were born into music; indeed, God, family and music are the threads that weave the family.
Their father, Charles “Chuck” Edwins, was a much-loved singer and musician, known throughout the greater Pittsburgh area and beyond as Chuck Edwards (Edwards, he thought, looked more professional). The Canonsburg man recorded songs for Duke and Apollo records and, in 1959, was joined by the Five Crowns – including Ben E. King – on two tracks produced by Alanna Records.
“We heard music all the time,” Myron said. “Our mother always sang at home. We would wake up, we would go downstairs, she was in the kitchen making breakfast … just singing. Our father had his own band – various musicians came to our house. We had the opportunity to see them play.
Chuck and Irene, whose name is René, never pushed their children to buy instruments – the Edwins just turned to music. They spent many happy times in their family living room in Canonsburg, where Chuck taught and René applauded his children’s progress.
“I remember we were sitting together in our living room, playing. Before we learned to play a song from start to finish, my dad would stop us and tell us the different notes, ”Myron recalls. “He spent a long time with us, just educating us on this theory. When we started to learn our instruments better, the songs started to sound better. That’s when it started to get really fun.
Jeff said the family learned the standards – “We rehearsed until our fingers bleed,” he recalls – before graduating from Chuck’s music library. It wasn’t long before the family started making appearances at local bars.
“One of the things most people don’t realize, or even don’t know, is the trust my dad had in me and my brothers,” said Les, who was 6 when his dad asked him to step on. scene. at a club in Pittsburgh.
” I’m 6 years old. My dad and his band … they played jazz, blues. And here we have a 6 year old who plays the drums because his drummer got sick, ”Les said.
This confidence brought the Edwins to the stage at the Polish Club in Canonsburg and other bars and clubs in the region.
“I remember our first paid gig as a performance on the Gateway Clipper party liner. It was for a ball, ”said Jeff. “It was the first gig I can remember playing professionally, where we got paid, it was as The Edwards Generation. I was in college.
The family group was a hit, known throughout the region as Pittsburgh’s Jackson 5. From Canonsburg, the group traveled to Greenwich Village, where other big names like Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and Barbara Streisand obtained their big breaks, to perform at the top of the door.
“It was actually the start,” Jeff said. “This led to a rehearsal of the performance in New York at Lincoln Center. Not only that, we actually got a recording deal from a record company. This led to the release of our first record in the Pittsburgh area. “
“Someone Like You” was very popular, and the family moved to Los Angeles, where Chuck hoped the Edwards Generation would find national success.
The trip turned out to be a life changing, “our vacation to Cali that turned into a vay-cay-stay-cay,” Jeff said with a laugh.
On his way back from LA to Canonsburg, Chuck announced to his family that he wanted to see San Francisco before returning east.
“I can hear it now, Pops started singing, ‘I left my heart in San Francisco,’” Charlene said. “He wanted to stop in San Francisco. This is how we ended up in San Francisco. The guys … started playing in San Francisco, then went to the pier. Where would we be without Pops? “
San Francisco became the “home” of the Edwins family, who made a living as street performers along Fisherman’s Wharf. The exhibition propelled their careers forward. The family drew huge crowds with their acoustic performances – Les on drums, Ron on maracas, Myron and Jeff dancing and joining their father and his bell on vocals, Charlene often appearing in the show – and were invited to perform on the much appreciated “Mike”. Douglas show.
“The cover art for our album, In San Francisco The Street Thang, was taken while we were playing on the ‘Mike Douglas Show’,” said Jeff, who recalled family days on the streets with a smile.
“It was fun, it took time. We have worked a lot. We had huge crowds coming down just to see us play. We were probably the best group in San Francisco at the time, ”said Jeff. “I think what was the most fun was seeing people from all over the world, San Francisco being a metropolitan city. It is also a tourist town.
The tourists returned home and The Edwards Generation toured; they performed in Europe and Japan, and were pleasantly surprised to see their own faces staring at them in the pages of MONO magazine in Seoul, Korea.
Another time overseas, “Young girls, they came over to us, they had a picture of us at the wharf,” Ron said with a laugh.
Music gave the Edwards Generation a life of purpose and memories, and as the family continues to perform together, each brother has successful solo careers and supports the efforts of others.
Les entertained the crowds on Fisherman’s Wharf and in May released the single “Fight of Your Life”. Ron is an artist and producer at Swift Kick Productions; last year he released a single, “It’s Christmastime”.
Jeff released his second solo album, Just Another Day, earlier this year, as well as a single dedicated to his mother called simply “Irene”.
Myron is a songwriter and producer who owns MEP Entertainment / RichMoist Productions; his 2019 single ST FRANCIS spent six weeks at No.1 on the ReverbNation charts. Charlene lives in Austin, where she works and still pursues music, and Rene, the matriarch, still owns Tight Records.
“They are amazing musicians,” Charlene said.
Each Edwin has dozens of accolades under his belt, but although they have received accolades, honors, and achievements (including Super Bowl appearances, BMA awards, and chart-topping songs), the Edwards Generation remain a loving and sincere person. Terran family with close ties to their hometown, visiting Canonsburg and playing old lairs anytime their schedule allows.
“I am very proud of my family,” said René. “They were wonderful children. They are businessmen. They are wonderful musicians. They are really good at what they do.
What they are doing is something they will continue to do: create. The most recent sample from The Edwards Generation is sort of another bond between the family. The band is thrilled to have “You’re the One for Me” reused by Dre, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak and others.
“The music we were making was so real. We went to the studio and we played these songs. What you hear is what we actually did – there is nothing overproduced, ”Les said. “If you notice a lot of rap groups are starting to recognize that this music is the music they want now. They’re starting to bring back that old-school sound. What we’re looking for with the Dre thing, you got the old school with the new school and that’s what makes it really cool.
Les’s mother, sister and brothers agreed.
“We have been around for a long time. It is now a blessing from God for all the years that we have worked together as a family, ”said Jeff. “Now is a great opportunity for a lot of people around the world to finally understand our music, which we have been doing. It gives us the opportunity to let the global world know who the Edwards Generation is. To be a part of this is very exciting.