Major Harris, a former member of the "Philadelphia sound" group the Delfonics who had his own 1975 hit "Love Won't Let Me Wait," died Friday from congestive heart and lung failure. He was 65.
The Richmond native grew up in a musical family. His father was a guitarist and his mother led the church choir, Harris' sister, Catherine Thomas, said.
In his teens, Harris was tall for his age and was able to get into clubs to watch musicians perform, she said. "He always appeared to be older, which gave him a lot of ins to a lot of older places," Thomas joked.
She said he didn't drink in the clubs back then, but he was pursuing his career. Music, she said, "was his life."
Harris made the rounds with several music groups in the 1960s, including the Charmers, Frankie Lymon's Teenagers and Nat Turner's Rebellion.
He joined the Delfonics in the early 1970s, replacing Randy Cain in the group known for such hits as "La-La (Means I Love You)" and "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)."
Harris left the group in 1974 to pursue a solo career. He recorded a string of R&B singles, with "Love Won't Let Me Wait," peaking at No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. Written by Vinnie Barrett and Bobby Eli, it was certified as a gold record.
The song was covered by Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams in a 1984 duet, by Luther Vandross in 1988 and again by Seal last year on his "Soul 2" album.
Harris last performed in 2011 at a reunion show with some of the members of the Delfonics, Thomas said.