(Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

The Intruders in 1968 (clockwise from bottom): Sam “Little Sonny” Brown, Phil Terry, Eugene “Bird” Daughtry, and Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards. (Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An original member of the pioneering Philadelphia-based soul group The Intruders has died. Robert “Big Sonny” Edwards was 74.

Edwards died Saturday at a Philadelphia hospital after suffering a heart attack at his home. His death was announced Tuesday by music producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.

After forming in 1960 as a doo-wop group, The Intruders signed with Gamble and Huff in 1966 and helped define the smooth, soulful Philadelphia Sound. Their 1968 smash, “Cowboys to Girls,” topped the R&B charts and was the first hit song for Gamble and Huff.

The original lineup of The Intruders disbanded in 1975.

Gamble and Huff say Edwards and the rest of The Intruders helped launch their career as a producing team.

Edwards is survived by his wife, a son and two grandchildren.

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