PHILADELPHIA, PA (CelebrityAccess) — Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards, an original member of the Philadelphia-based soul group The Intruders has died. He was 74 at the time of his passing.
A press statement released on by his longtime music producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff said that Edwards died on Oct. 15th at a Philadelphia hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home.
“We are very saddened to learn of the death of our good friend, ‘Big Sonny.’ The Intruders, featuring Big Sonny and the rest of the original members, were near and dear to our hearts and helped start our musical career as a team. Not only was the group one of the first artists we wrote for and produced, but they also were our close friends. Big Sonny and the group were great artists who we have been honored to work with from the very beginning. We will truly miss Big Sonny. We send our sincere condolences to his family,” the statement from Gamble and Huff.
Originally formed in the early 1960s as a doo-wop group, the Intruders, comprised of "Big Sonny" Edwards, Terry, lead singer Sam "Little Sonny" Brown and Eugene "Bird" Daughtry, played a major role in the rise of what came to be known as the Philadelphia Sound.
Their 1968 hit, “Cowboys to Girls,” topped the R&B charts, was a Top 10 pop hit, and “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” released in 1973, has been commonly played on Mother’s Day by radio stations around the world for over 40 years.
The original Intruders lineup disbanded in 1975 but were recognized with a bronze plaque along the Philadelphia Music Walk of Fame in 1996. In 2010, Edwards and Phil Terry, the surviving original members of the group at the time, were honored by Philadelphia International Records with the annual Phillies Gamble & Huff Community Partnership Award at Citizens Bank Park.
Edwards is survived by his wife, a son and two grandchildren. – Staff Writers