UNSUNG REVIEW Entire Episode: The Sylvers (video)


UNSUNG: The Sylvers – Aired August 1st, TV One

the sylvers, unsung
(Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

After watching many episodes of UNSUNG, I have to admit, The Sylvers left me wanting more…a LOT more.

The Sylvers on Unsung

The flow of the show was just not there, and many of the men in the group did not appear during the segment, outside of a super sleazy manager who took full advantage of the kids, signing them to a contract that gave him 50%. Yes, I said 50% of their earnings…something was missing.

The most compelling parts were the oldest sister Olympia, a once stunning young woman (pictured), and the revelation that during the group’s early years, she had been kidnapped, viciously attacked, stabbed, and forced to escape out of a moving vehicle where she managed to run to safety should have been enough.

Unfortunately, she would never be the same after the event and suffered from severe mental illness. She lived on the streets of LA and was beaten and attacked several more times while dealing with her mental problem. This always gets to me because I am disturbed at how mentally ill people are ignored in the black community and our refusal to acknowledge that it exists.

The other unfortunate parts about the segment are that brothers Ricky and Foster are currently in prison (I was unaware of this) both for parole violations, and both have also had severe battles with drugs.

The Sylvers Connection to Ike Turner

Finally, after giving the mother 10 children, the father was good friends with Ike Turner in the early 60s. Need I say more? He ended up having a drinking problem and left his wife with ten kids in 1964, forcing her to raise the kids on her own.

Talk about a coward. She admits it was almost impossible to find an apartment that would take that many people that she could afford, so they ended up living in the projects in Watts.

The lead singer Edmond died several years ago, and there’s more to learn about the group in the show that I will not reveal. The show airs on Monday.

I came across this video of one of the late Edmund Sylvers’ son trying to bring all of his brothers and sisters together for the first time. It was said that Edmund had up to 11 kids. This would have been a great idea for a reality show. (see video below)


How Did The Sylvers Get Their Start

The singing group The Sylvers initially started in the music industry in the late 1960s. The family musical act consisted of nine siblings: Olympia, Leon, Charmaine, James, Edmund, Ricky, Angie, Pat, and Foster. They were discovered by Fred Astaire’s manager, Lou Brown, who saw the family performing at a talent show in Watts, Los Angeles.

Impressed by their talent, Lou Brown helped the group secure a recording contract with MGM Records. Their debut album, titled “The Sylvers,” was released in 1972 and included their first hit single, “Fool’s Paradise.” The song achieved moderate success on the Billboard charts.

Following their debut, The Sylvers released albums throughout the 1970s, with several of their songs becoming hits. They gained popularity with tracks like “Boogie Fever,” “Hot Line,” and “High School Dance.” Their music blended elements of soul, funk, and disco, appealing to a wide audience during the disco era.

The Sylvers’ energetic performances and catchy tunes contributed to their rise in the music industry. They achieved recognition as a talented family group, known for their harmonies and synchronized dance moves. While their popularity waned in the 1980s, their music continues to be appreciated by fans and has left a lasting legacy in the realm of soul and disco music.

What Happened to Edmund Sylvers

Edmund Sylvers, a member of the singing group The Sylvers, faced personal challenges and tragic events throughout his life. Edmund passed away on March 11, 2004, at the age of 47.

Edmund struggled with substance abuse issues, particularly with drugs, which had a significant impact on his life and career. His battles with addiction reportedly affected his ability to consistently participate in the group’s activities. Despite these challenges, Edmund contributed to the success of The Sylvers through his vocal talents and performances.

The exact circumstances surrounding Edmund Sylvers’ death are not widely available, but it is known that his passing occurred at a relatively young age. His contributions to The Sylvers’ music and legacy are remembered by fans of the group.


  1. I just absolutely LOVE the Sylvers! They were one of my favorite groups growing up. They were such a beautiful looking group! They guys were handsome and the girls were pretty! I loved Foster and am so sorry that he and Ricky had a struggle with drug addiction and are locked up. And Olympia…OMG. Now I know why eventually there was one female missing. I am again, sorry that she had to endure that terror by 3 men..just horrible! That just hurts my heart and no one should have to live through that! They still sound great, and if they did a concert tour, I would definitely go and see them!!!! The Sylvers…yes!!!!!

  2. I’ve been an avid fan of the sylvers since the beginning. It’s impossible to tell the’re story in one hour. there were alot of ommissions and errors. for instance leon’s time with the group dynasty. Edmonds departure from the group. fosters group endevure. edmond died at 47 not 45
    why did it always seem like olympia and charmaine were interchangable.

  3. I thougtht that the episode of unsung on the Sylvers was great! I have been a huge fan for years. I must say that I was truly saddened once they began to reveal what happened to them especially Olympia. Ricky and Foster being in prison was also sad. I agree that there were parts not mentioned in the show. One of them being that Edmund actually did the voice of Marlon Jackson in the Jackson 5 cartoon series. Somehow this was left out. Also, I know that the father left in 1964 but is he still alive? Does he have any interaction with his family at all? The one common theme that runs through a lot of these documentaries is that the fathers are either never mentioned as being in theirs lives, or they were there at the beginning but left and became another statistic of an absent black father. This troubles me very deeply. I love this family and I am so happy that a whole new generation is now being exposed to this wonderful family. I love them and wish them all the best.

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