The Main Ingredient is an American soul and R&B group formed in Harlem, New York City in 1964 as a trio called the Poets, composed of lead singer Donald McPherson, Luther Simmons, Jr., and Panama-born Tony Silvester. They made their first recordings for Leiber & Stoller’s Red Bird label, but soon changed their name to the Insiders and signed with RCA Records. In 1968, after a couple of singles, they changed their name once again, this time permanently, to The Main Ingredient. The name came from a Coke bottle.
They then teamed up with record producer/arranger Bert DeCoteaux. Under his direction, the Main Ingredient reached the R&B Top 30 for the first time in 1970 with “You’ve Been My Inspiration”. A cover of The Impressions’ “I’m So Proud” broke the Top 20, and “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)” went into the Top 10. In 1971, they scored again, with the McPherson-penned black-power anthem “Black Seeds Keep on Growing,” but tragedy struck that year. Don McPherson, who had been suddenly taken ill with leukemia, died unexpectedly. Stunned, Tony Silvester and Luther Simmons re-grouped with new lead singer Cuba Gooding, Sr., who had served as a backing vocalist on some of their previous recordings and had filled in on tour during McPherson’s brief illness.