*On this day in 2007, the group Hi-Five suffered the loss of their lead singer, Tony Thompson.
The Waco, Texas-based quintet had broken up when Thompson’s body was discovered in his hometown, 18 years after they skyrocketed to success from the gate. Four of their five first singles hit the Top 10 on the Hot 100, and reached the Top 5 on the R&B singles chart. “I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)” was the money shot, reaching No. 1 on both tallys.
Thompson, Roderick “Pooh” Clark, Marcus Sanders, Russell Neal and Oklahoma City native Toriano Easley signed with Jive Records in 1989, and their Teddy Riley-produced self-titled debut album, which also housed singles “I Just Can’t Handle It” and “I Can’t Wait Another Minute,” went platinum.
Their second album, “Keep It Goin’ On,” spawned what would be their last two Top 5 R&B hits, “She’s Playing Hard to Get,” and the R. Kelly-penned “Quality Time.”
Hi-Five eventually parted ways and Thompson released his solo debut, “Sexsational,” in 1995, featuring the Top 20 R&B single “I Wanna Love Like That” and follow-up single “Handle Our Business.”
On November 4, 2005, Thompson and some of the band members re-formed for the new album “The Return” on Thompson’s own N’Depth label. But during a promotional appearance on Wendy Williams’ radio show, they were confronted with a cease and desist letter that Wendy – being Wendy – read live on the air. The letter was sent by two former Hi-Five bandmates citing their legal ownership of the group name. Distribution and sales of “The Return” album stopped cold.
On June 1, 2007, at around 10 p.m., security officers found Thompson’s body near an air-conditioning unit outside of an apartment complex in his native Waco. An autopsy later determined that he had died from “toxic effects of chlorodifluoromethane,” or inhaling a toxic amount of freon.
He is buried at Doris Miller Memorial Park in Waco.