b. John Phillip Baptiste, 14 March 1931, Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA. Phillips wrote his one hit, ‘Sea Of Love’, to impress a would-be girlfriend in 1958.
He was introduced to producer George Khoury, who recorded the song at the Goldband Recording Studio and released it on his own label, credited to Phil Phillips And The Twilights. Although the song never had the intended effect upon the girl, the single sold well locally, resulting in the larger Mercury Records picking up distribution and the ballad reached number 2 in the US national chart and number 1 in the R&B chart. The song was typical of the ‘swamp-rock’ sound that Cajun community of the bayou of southern Louisiana was producing by such artists as Rod Bernard, Tommy McLain, and Johnnie Allan. Phillips recorded several other songs during the next few years, but never again managed to chart. His song later resurfaced recorded by Marty Wilde (UK number 3, 1959), Del Shannon and the Honeydrippers (a rock supergroup with Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Nile Rodgers of Chic), the latter nearly matching the original’s performance by reaching the US number 3 position in 1985. In 1989, Phillips’ original recording made news again as the title song for Al Pacino’s film of the same name. Phillips worked as a Louisiana disc jockey in the late 80s.