In the spring of 1971, several young Washington, D.C. musicians who were then active members of existing groups came together to form "The Forces of Unity". The "Forces" began by performing at occasional community activities until the fall of 1972, when with the arrival of two key members, the group began to assume the dimensions of a serious local act. The following spring, first prize in the D.C. Recreation Department Annual Talent Contest was awarded to The Forces of Unity, a tribute to the long hours the group had already begun to devote to rehearsal. Shortly thereafter, in keeping with the emerging theme of the group, the name was shortened to "Unity".
The name 98.6 was introduced to the public in December 1974 at a concert in Norfork headlined by Kool and the Gang. The group, by then under the exclusive management of Virginia Music Distributors, performed numerous concert and club dates over the next two years alongside Roy Ayers, Ronnie Laws, Mandrill and The Manhattans to name a few.
The focus of attention during that period began to swing heavily toward recording. After writing a least two dozen original tunes, 98.6 went into the studio to record three of them, two of which ("Thanks to You" and "98.6") were released on the Mercury label, February 13, 1976.
98.6 continued to operate under the auspices of its Richmond based Management Company until the fall of 1977 when the group became a self managing, self-promoting organization. Our group had exhibited extreme discipline, diligently -- like clockwork -- rehearsing every Monday thru Friday evening from 6:30 till about 9:00 or later and occasionally Saturday mornings, from spring 1974 till spring 1980.
On October 7, 1978, Billboard Magazine announced the summer signing of 98.6 with a New Jersey based record company. By then, we had composed an extensive list of at least 4 dozen songs, which we narrowed down to a select dozen in preparation for studio recording. Our music style was a fusion of several genres including R&B, Funk, Jazz, Pop and Disco.
By early November, the group had completed its first LP at the Englewood Cliffs NJ, record company's studio.
Aided by the concert sounds and visual special effects mastery of "Thunder and Lightning", the 98 .6 show has earned rave responses from audiences from Connecticut to South Carolina while the group's repertoire of original music is a blend of creative flair and commercial appeal.
Our dream was deferred for nearly 36 years after the New Jersey record company shelved our music and refused to release it to the public. Led by the diligent efforts of now attorney Bradley A. Thomas, we are fighting to regain full rights to our unreleased music.
"The Phoenix Phenomenon"
No one in our group can recall ever before in our lifetimes such a situation of a ten member musical ensemble who all remain alive after nearly 36 years split, reuniting, forming a company, and then resuming their aspirations of successful music careers.
We view our revived mission, should we achieve this feat, as historical, almost as amazing and unbelievable as aforementioned 'The Phoenix Phenomenon', but instead of ancient and mythical, it would be modern era remarkable.
We would then be in the prominent position and possess the business savvy, success and experience to share our knowledge and entrepreneur strategies, not to mention realistic hope of dream achievement with adolescents through social security recipient age folks whom also aspire successful music careers. We hope our story will inspire countless others to not relinquish their dreams. Join us as fans of 98.6 to share in the dream!
Never assume never!