R&B star Gene Chandler was convicted today (December 22,1976) for his role in a heroin sale in May and June of this year.
The “Duke of Earl” was convicted on three counts in U.S. District Court in Chicago, for selling a total of 462.9 grams of the drug to federal undercover agents on May 9 and June 8 of 1976.
Chandler was sentenced to one year in prison on the first count, sentenced to a year in prison on the second and given three years special probation on both counts.
“I made a mistake, I just hope you understand,” a remorseful Chandler told Judge Jules Flaum.
Flaum chastised Chandler for selling such an addictive drug, especially one that was plaguing the streets of Chicago at the time.
Gene Chandler, born Gene Dixon, is best known for his hit single “Duke of Earl.”
He has enjoyed one of the longest running careers in the music business, landing over 22 singles on Billboard’s Top 100 pop chart.
Chandler recorded for legendary labels like Vee Jay and Constellation, where he worked with legendary producers Bill “Bunky” Sheppard, Carl Davis and Curtis Mayfield.
He was a mainstay on the charts in the 1960’s, landing with “Just Be True,” “I Fooled You This Time” “Rainbow” and “Rainbow ‘66,” in addition to producing hit tracks like “Back Field in Motion” by Mel & Tim.
Chandler continued into the 1970’s with “Groovy Situation,” on Mercury in addition to rejoining with Curtis Mayfield on Curtom from 1971 to 1973.
He also hit with duets with former Impressions member Jerry Butler on Mercury.
These days Gene Chandler is still active on the oldies circuit.