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"Too Late To Turn Back Now"
Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
United Artists 50910
July 1972
Billboard: #2    Lyrics Icon Videos Icon

Cornelius Brothers & Sister Roseamily values were all over the pop charts in the early 1970s when Jackson, Osmond, and Carpenter families regularly dominated the Billboard Hot 100. The Cornelius family attempted to join the trend and was rewarded with a pair of Top 10 singles.

'Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose' - Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose
A whopping five Billboard Top 40 singles, including the No. 3 "Treat Her Like A Lady" and No. 2 "Too Late To Turn Back Now," were featured on Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose's eponymous debut album. First charting on July 29, 1972, the LP peaked at No. 29 on the Hot 200 album chart, and remained on the charts for 25 weeks.
A native of Dania, Florida, where he was part of a musical family of 15 children, Edward Cornelius loved music from an early age. In the 1960s, he convinced his brother Carter and his sister Rose to join him in forming a gospel group called The Split Tones, which toured frequently in the greater Miami area. After the group members decided to move to secular music, they chose a new name, Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. With Edward in place as the lead singer and songwriter the group set out to secure a recording deal. After a brief stint on Platinum, United Artists gave the family act a chance.

The group's first single, "Treat Her Like A Lady," climbed to #3 during an 18-week run. Unfortunately when the band members had their first taste of success, an automobile accident sidelined their career for over a year. In 1972, they were primed for a comeback, and this started with their next single, "Too Late To Turn Back Now."

Debuting at #73 the Bob Archibald production showed that fans hadn't forgotten the band. In fact it got off to a better start than their first hit had. In its fourth week, the song reached the Top 40. In its fifth week, the song reached the Top 10. And in its eighth week, "Too Late To Turn Back Now" surpassed the chart run of "Treat Her Like A Lady" by going all the way to #2, spending two weeks in that position (behind Bill Withers' chart-topper "Lean on Me") and going gold in the process. The song also proved to be an across-the-board hit, reaching #6 on the Adult Contemporary charts and #5 on the R&B charts.

As the single was starting to drop, United Artists released the group's debut album, which climbed to #29 on the strength of its two Top 10 singles. Three more followed. "Don't Ever Be Lonely (A Poor Little Fool Like Me)" peaked at #23, "I'm Never Gonna Be Alone Anymore" climbed to #37, and "Let Me Down Easy" stalled at #96.

Before the group's second album, Big Time Lover, the act added sister Billie Jo to the group. But to avoid any confusion they chose not to revise their name to Cornelius Brothers & Sisters Rose & Billie Jean. The album's only minor hit, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You," bubbled under the chart at #104, quite a comedown for an act whose debut album produced five hits. The family members soon found that it was too late to turn back chart time. Carter, who changed his name to Gideon Israel and became a Muslim leader, died in 1991.

- Christopher G. Feldman, The Billboard Book of No. 2 Singles, Billboard, 2000.

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