On this day in music history: September 13, 19…

On this day in music history: September 13, 1980 – “Give Me The Night” by George Benson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on September 27, 1980. Written by Rod Temperton, it is the biggest hit for the veteran jazz guitarist and vocalist from Pittsburgh, PA. Working with Quincy Jones, the producer calls on frequent collaborator Temperton to write some material for Benson’s album. The former Heatwave keyboardist and songwriter goes away and comes back with five songs including “Love X Love”, “Star Of A Story (X)”, Turn Out The Lamplight", the instrumental “Off Broadway” and the title track, which is the last song recorded for the album. The song is completed so late in the recording process that no demo for the song is recorded. Temperton justs sing a guide vocal over the basic track with Patti Austin, Jim Gilstrap, Diva Gray, Tom Bahler and Jocelyn Allen providing the background vocals. The track is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA, and features a virtual who’s who of musicians backing Benson, including John Robinson (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Herbie Hancock (electric piano), Lee Ritenour (guitar), Richard Tee (synthesizer bass), Michael Boddicker (synthesizer), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion) and the Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams). Benson comes into the studio and records his lead vocal and guitar parts in one session. The guitarist is reassured of the songs commercial potential when he plays the finished track for his kids who ask him to play it repeatedly. Released as a single in July of 1980, “Give Me The Night” simultaneously rises up the R&B and pop singles charts, driving the “Give Me The Night” album to Platinum status in the US. The single is supported by a performance video, that also includes footage of the musician roller skating along Venice Beach, and driving on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. “Give Me The Night” is later covered by R&B and jazz vocalist Randy Crawford in 1995.