R&B singer Harry James Elston was born on November 4, 1938 in Dallas, Texas. Elston began his career in the music industry at the age of sixteen performing in the group Cel Foster and the Audios and touring with the Johnny Otis Caravan. In 1963, Elston formed a R&B group called the Hi Fi’s with Lamonte McLemore, Floyd Butler and Marilyn McCoo. The Hi Fi’s came to the attention of Ray Charles and joined his tour in 1965. Ray Charles went on to produce the group’s single “Lonesome Mood”. In 1966, Elston and Floyd Butler left the Hi Fi’s to form the group Friends of Distinction with Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love.
In 1968, Hall of Fame football player Jim Brown met the group and introduced them to the staff at RCA Records. In 1969, Friends of Distinction released their first album entitled Grazin’ on RCA Records. The album included the hit songs “Grazing in the Grass” (Harry Elston was writer and lead singer) and “Going in Circles.” Friends of Distinction also released the songs “Love or Let Me Be Lonely”, “Time Waits for No One” and “I Need You.” When Barbara Jean Love became pregnant in 1970, Charlene Gibson replaced the vocalist, and the Friends of Distinction released Real Friends on RCA Records.
During the 1960s, alongside Jim Brown and John Daniels, Elston was instrumental in opening the Mavericks Flat, a well-known L.A. night club that is often referred to as the Apollo Theater of the west coast. In 1992, Elston was co-writer of “It’s Over,” a single for Friends of Distinction.