Duran Duran Wiki
Fonzi Thornton
Background Information
Birth name Alfonzo Thornton
Born New York, USA
Occupation Singer, songwriter, producer, stage performer, radio personality
Associated acts Luther Vandross
Diana Ross
The Power Station
Robert Palmer

Fonzi Thornton is an American singer, songwriter, producer, stage performer and radio personality, whose work has included performing addition vocals on The Power Station album.


Born in East Harlem, New York, Fonzi joined neighborhood vocal group, Shades of Jade and befriended a young Luther Vandross in his early teens. Inspired by the big city soul sounds of the 60’s from Motown to Aretha, the Shades competed in school talent shows and placed 2nd at Harlem’s Apollo Theater Amateur Night.

Fonzi and Vandross became soloists with Listen My Brother, the Apollo’s 16 member artist development workshop and opened at the famous venue for greats like Sly and the Family Stone and Isaac Hayes. During the 2nd season of the children’s show, Sesame Street, Fonzi sang solo and step-out parts when LMB performed soul- gospel renditions of "Count to 20", "Those are the ABC's" and "Children are Beautiful".

Later, Fonzi gained a following on the NYC night club circuit with his band and self-titled vocal trio, through his distinctive vocal style and showmanship, while honing valuable songwriting and vocal arranging skills. He and his group (re-named F360) toured England with Candi Staton and the Stylistics then appeared with heavyweight Joe Fraser in a Miller Lite Beer commercial.

In the late 1970s, approached by producers, Bernard Edwards and teenage friend, Nile Rodgers, Fonzi became male vocalist on 6 albums and went on tour with Chic. Blending with Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin and chant-singing “Leave your cares behind” on the band’s song "Good Times" and on “My Forbidden Lover,” Fonzi sang solo on You “Can’t Do it Alone” for Chic’s “Real People" album and “I Work For A Livin” on their “Soup for One” soundtrack.

In the early 1980s, Fonzi established himself as a NYC jingle soloist for Cheerios. Pringles, McDonald's, Burger King and Chevrolet, also singing off camera vocal backups for Ray Charles’ lip-synching “uh-huh” girls for Diet Pepsi.

In 2008, Fonzi joined the musical entourage of 20 time Grammy winning Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, as backing vocalist and vocal contractor and continues to tour with her.

In 2008 alone, Fonzi sang with Aretha on tour, TV and her first-time Christmas album, with Pearl Jam at NYC’s Madison Square Garden and Beacon Theatre, and with Phoebe Snow in concert, on her live album and TV. On CBS’ 2008 Fashion Rocks, in addition to accompanying Mary J Blige and Kid Rock then Beyonce and Justin Timberlake, Fonzi sang a step-out on “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” during the Motown tribute.

In 2009, Fonzi has performed at We Are One, the pre-inaugural concert on the steps of Washington’s Lincoln Memorial with Mary J Blige, Garth Brooks and James Taylor and provided off camera backing vocals for Aretha’s My Country Tis of Thee at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

A selection of backing vocal credits[]

Albums by:

  • The Power Station
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Luther Vandross
  • Diana Ross
  • Ray Charles
  • Chic
  • Mariah Carey
  • David Bowie
  • Michael Jackson
  • Robert Palmer
  • Air Supply
  • Natalie Cole
  • The B-52's
  • R. Kelly
  • Leona Lewis
  • Shawn Colvin
  • Al Jarreau
  • Celine Dion
  • Roxy Music
  • Bryan Ferry
  • Patti Labelle
  • Jewel
  • Bette Midler