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Williams' three years with Tower of Power established him as a big name in soul and funk and he became famous for his lead vocals on major hits like "What Is Hip?," "Don't Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream)," "This Time It's Real," and the ballad "So Very Hard to Go." But while Tower of Power was a big break for Williams, he only stuck around for three years; in 1975, the Bay Area resident left the band and became a full-time solo artist. His first few solo albums (recorded for Motown) didn't do much, but his solo career took off in a big way when he recorded Choosing You for ABC. That 1977 release (which contains the major hit "Shoo Doo Fu Fu Ooh!") almost went gold in the U.S. (meaning that it sold close to 500,000 units). Williams next solo effort, Spark of Love (also on ABC), became his first gold solo album and boasted the hit ballad "Cause I Love You." After providing a few albums for MCA, Williams recorded for the independent Rocshire label in 1983 and 1984; when that company folded, he was deprived of a 50,000 dollar advance he said he was owed. Disgusted with music industry, Williams considered giving up singing and devoted a lot of his time to real estate investments. But in 1986, Williams ended up signing with Knobhill, a short-lived indie that was distributed by Fantasy. Williams' 1986 LP, New Episode, wasn't a blockbuster, although the single "Ten Ways of Loving You" became a minor hit and reached number 67 on Billboard's R&B singles chart. But while Williams wasn't as big in the '80s and '90s as he was in the '70s, he still had a loyal following. In 1994, he recorded Chill for Bellmark; Williams' next album, Love Therapy, came out on Volt/Fantasy in 2000. ~ Alex Henderson