Formed 1976 in New York, New York, by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey and British producer Simon Soussan. The first Shalamar release, Uptown Festival, was recorded by faceless session singers. Griffey and Soussan decided to form a group proper when that single was a success, and plucked members Jody Watley (b. 30th January 1959, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.), Jeffrey Daniel (b. 24th August 1957), and Gary Mumford that was replaced by Gerald Brown, from the Soul Train set where they were primarily dancers. Gerald Brown was replaced the following year by Howard Hewett (b. 1st October 1955 in Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.) thus completing the group's best known incarnation.
In 1983, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel left the group for solo careers and were replaced by Delisa Davis and Micki Free. Howard Hewett left the group in 1986 to embark on his own solo career, as well as production for acts such as his then wife Nia Peeples, and was replaced by Sidney Justin. The band broke up in 1991, though Sidney Justin continued to tour with a new incarnation of Shalamar.
In 2005, Hewett and Daniel reformed Shalamar with new member Carolyn Griffey, who is the daughter of Dick Griffey and singer Carrie Lucas, and a former member of R&B duo Absolute, and they performed on the British talent show "Hit Me Baby One More Time". They did not win, but continue to tour together.
In 2015, Jody Watley acquired the trademark to the Shalamar name and began touring with new members Nate Allen Smith and Rosero McCoy. The Hewett and Daniels led reformation also continued to use the name, causing conflict between the two versions of the group.