Formed initially in 1968 as Project Soul by Mike Cooper (guitar, sitar, timbales, percussion, vocals) and Louis McCall (drums, vocals), the groups rise began when they accepted an offer to back the Soul Children, necessitating a move from California to Memphis. Upon arrival in 1972, Project Soul became Con Funk Shun, having been augmented by group members Karl Fuller (trumpet, flügelhorn, vocals), Paul Harrell (saxophone, flute, vocals), Cedric Martin (bass and vocals), Felton Pilate (trombone, bass trumpet, piano, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, vocals) and Danny Thomas (clavinet, piano, synthesizer, organ, vocals). To make ends meet they initially worked as a Stax Records studio band. After recording a couple of singles with small local label Fretone they signed with Mercury Records, releasing their debut album in 1976. The following year they achieved a gold disc with Secrets, aided by the success of Ffun, which would go Top 30 in early 1978. Further albums consolidated their success, but the lack of a focal point within the group (as opposed to contemporaries such as Lionel Richie and the Commodores) meant they were never likely to attain superstar status. In the mid-80s they split, with Felton Pilate becoming an in-demand producer.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.