Chicago soul vocal group the Lost Generation had their biggest hit with "The Sly, Slick and the Wicked," a mellow ballad that hit number 14 R&B and number 30 pop in the summer of 1970. The group members were lead singer/songwriter Lowrell Simon, Fred Simon, Jesse Dean, and Larry Brownlee. Brownlee had been a member of the singing group the C.O.D.'s, whose single on the local Kellimac label, "Michael (The Lover)," made it to number five R&B in 1965. Born March 18, 1943, on Chicago's south side, Lowrell formed a childhood friendship with Gus Redmond. As a teenager, Lowrell was a member of the LaVondells, a vocal group. Dropping the first two letters from their name to become the Vondells, the group had a local hit with "Lenore" on the Marvello label. Soon afterward, the group broke up. One of the members, Glen Murdock, teamed with local singer Joyce Kennedy to sing lead vocals for the funk/rock group Mother's Finest.
After Dean completed his stint in the Army, he joined Lowrell, Fred, and Brownlee in the Lost Generation. Childhood friend Redmond, who was now head of promotion and marketing for Brunswick Records, introduced the group to producer Carl Davis in 1969. The single "The Sly, Slick and the Wicked" was co-written by Lowrell, Brownlee, and Redmond. The hit tied for trade publication Record World's 1970 Record of the Year award with the Jackson 5's "ABC." The release also generated enough money for Brunswick to buy itself out from its owner, Decca Records. On the flip side was "You're So Young but You're So True." The next single, "Wait a Minute," was written by the Chi-Lites' Eugene Record. The Simon-Brownlee-Redmond trio wrote "Someday" and "Talking the Teenage Language." All were included on The Sly, Slick and the Wicked, released in the fall of 1970. After their last chart hit, "Your Mission (If You Decide to Accept It) Part 1," the group disbanded. Brownlee and Simon joined Curtom act Mystique featuring Ralph Johnson, the former lead singer of the Impressions. The group charted with three Bunny Sigler-produced singles: "Is It Really You?," "What Would the World Be Without Music?," and "It Took a Woman Like You." Lowrell Simon co-wrote and co-produced the track "Keep on Playing the Music" on their self-titled debut LP. Lowrell Simon dropped his last name and signed to entertainer Liberace's AVI Records; the single "Mellow Mellow Right On" b/w "You're Playing Dirty" went to number 32 R&B in 1979. He also produced and co-wrote tracks for the Gemigo/Curtom act the Notations. One single, "Think Before You Stop," charted in 1985. Sadly, Larry Brownlee died in 1978 in Chicago. ~ Ed Hogan