Category: soul

Benny Mayne – Never No

Benny Mayne – Never No

On this day in music history: September 21, 19…

On this day in music history: September 21, 1985 – “Oh Sheila” by Ready For The World hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also topping the Hot 100 and Hot Dance Club Play charts for 1 week on October 12, 1985. Written by Melvin Riley, Jr., Gordon Strozier and Gerald Valentine, it is the biggest hit for the R&B/Funk band from Flint, MI. The band get their start in 1982 when they are discovered by local radio personality The Electrifying Mojo from WJLB in Detroit. The following year, they record and release their debut single “Tonight” on their own Blue Lake record label. The amount of local airplay it receives attracts the attention of MCA Records R&B executive Jheryl Busby, who quickly signs them and re-releases the song nationally. “Tonight” peaks at #6 on the R&B singles chart in early 1985. The follow up “Deep Inside Your Love” peaks in the same position a few months later. “Oh Sheila” is released as their third single from their self-titled debut album in July of 1985, quickly rising up the R&B charts and becoming a crossover smash. Many misconstrue the song as being about singer/musician Sheila E., as well as for its Prince influenced sound, but the band deny that it is true.

On this day in music history: September 21, 19…

On this day in music history: September 21, 1982 – “Janet Jackson”, the debut album by Janet Jackson is released. Produced by Rene Moore, Angela Winbush, Bobby Watson, Foster Sylvers and Jerry Weaver, it is recorded at Allen Zentz Recording Studios, Media West Studios, Studiomasters in Los Angeles, CA, Davlen Sound Studios in North Hollywood, CA, Conway Studios, Larrabee Sound Studios, Spindletop Recording Studios and Wally Heider Studios in Hollywood, CA from May – August 1982. Janet Jackson begins her career in the entertainment business at seven years old, performing live with her superstar brothers The Jackson 5 during a residency at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Wowing audiences with impressions of screen icon Mae West and pop superstar Cher, she demonstrates a natural charisma and stage presence early on. However, her initial interest is to pursue acting and not to follow her brothers into the music business. Janet lands the role of Penny Gordon Woods on the hit sitcom “Good Times”, playing the character on the shows last two seasons. Then in 1980, she begins her recurring role as Charlene Duprey, the girlfriend of actor Todd Bridges’ character Willis on “Diff’rent Strokes”. During this time, Jackson’s father and manager Joe Jackson negotiates a deal for Janet to record an album for A&M Records. Initially reluctant to embark on a singing career, the then sixteen year old Janet dives in with both feet. For her initial solo release, she is paired with a group of talented songwriters and producers including Rene Moore and Angela Winbush (Rene & Angela), Rufus bassist (and Moore’s step-brother) Bobby Watson, Foster Sylvers and Jerry Weaver. Consisting of mostly uptempo dance oriented R&B/Pop, the album receives mixed reviews and only modest sales, barely hinting at the huge success Janet achieves with her third album “Control” just a few years later.  It spins off three singles including “Young Love” (#6 R&B, #64 Pop), “Come Give Your Love To Me” (#17 R&B, 58 Pop) and “Say You Do” (#15 R&B). The albums striking front and back cover photos are taken by fashion photographer Harry Langdon (Diana Ross, Donna Summer). The photos taken in the swimming pool at Jackson’s family home in Encino, CA, are inspired by photos of a young Elizabeth Taylor submerged in a pool. Originally released on only vinyl LP and cassette, the CD release of album Jackson’s debut released in the early 90’s, features the longer 12" dance remix of “Say You Do”, instead of the original LP version. “Janet Jackson” peaks at number six on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number sixty three on the Top 200.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1986 – “The Rain” by Oran “Juice” Jones hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #9 on the Hot 100 on November 15, 1986. Written by Vincent Bell, it is the biggest hit for the Harlem, NY based R&B singer. Jones is the first R&B artist signed to the famed Def Jam record label. The song starts off as a conventional R&B track until Jones, feeling that the song is lacking something goes back into the studio and performs the now classic monologue verbally chastising his cheating girlfriend, which is recorded in a single take. At first, writer and co-producer Bell does not like the spoken monologue at the end of the song, but is overruled when co-producer and Def Jam founder Russell Simmons approves of it. Columbia Records R&B & Jazz VP Eddie Pugh plays an important role in the records’ success. Recognizing its hit potential, the executive leads the charge in the record receiving the promotional support necessary from CBS’ Black Music Division, to get it on the radio. Released in late June of 1986, it breaks quickly on R&B radio which leads to it crossing over on to the pop chart. “The Rain” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: September 20, 19…

On this day in music history: September 20, 1980 – “Give Me The Night”, the nineteenth album by George Benson hits #1 on the Billboard R&B album chart for 4 weeks, also topping the Jazz Album Chart for 12 weeks on August 16, 1980, and peaking at #3 on the Top 200 on October 4, 1980. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA and Cherokee Studios in Hollywood, CA from October – December 1979. Still riding a huge wave of mainstream commercial success that began with the Grammy winning multi-platinum selling “Breezin’”, George Benson turns to one of the successful and talented producers in the music business to oversee his first album of the new decade. Having just produced Michael Jackson’s artistic and commercial triumph “Off The Wall”, Quincy Jones signs on to produce George Benson just as he completes work with Jackson. The album is the inaugural release on Jones’ newly established Qwest Records label imprint through Warner Bros Records. Jones assembles a class A team of musicians to back Benson including Brothers Johnson bassist Louis Johnson, Rufus drummer John Robinson, Greg Phillinganes, George Duke, Michael Boddicker (keyboards) all of whom had played on Jackson’s album. Carlos Vega (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass), Paulinho Da Costa (percussion) and the Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams) are also featured. The producer also calls on songwriter Rod Temperton to write several songs, of which he contributes five of the albums ten songs. Singer Patti Austin also features prominently on “Give Me The Night”, acting as both a background vocal arranger, as well as singing background vocals and dueting with Benson on a cover of the jazz standard “Moody’s Mood”. Released on July 25, 1980 and led by the smash title track (#1 R&B, #4 Pop, #2 Club Play), the album spins off two other singles including “Love X Love” (#9 R&B, #61 Pop) and “Turn Out The Lamplight” (#33 R&B). It becomes the second largest selling studio album of George Benson’s career. It wins four Grammy Awards including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (“Give Me The Night”), Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Male (“Moody’s Mood”), and Best R&B Instrumental Performance (“Off Broadway”) for Benson, and Best Instrumental Arrangement (for “Dinorah, Dinorah” awarded to Quincy Jones and Jerry Hey) in 1981. The making of the album is documented on the PBS music series “From Jump Street”, hosted by jazz musician, author and playwright Oscar Brown, Jr.. “Give Me The Night” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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

On this day in music history: September 19, 1989 – “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814”, the fourth album by Janet Jackson is released. Produced by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Janet Jackson, Jellybean Johnson and John McClain, it is recorded at Flyte Tyme Studios in Minneapolis, MN from September 1988 – May 1989. Issued as the follow up to the hugely successful “Control” album, it is a concept album with many of the songs touching on the subject of social injustice. Taking a greater role in the creative process this time out, half of the albums twelve songs are either co-written or written by Janet herself. The numbers “14” and “18” in the album’s title, signify the letters “R” and “N” as the eighteenth and fourteenth letters in the alphabet. The ambitious project is supported with both an accompanying long form music video, directed by frequent collaborator Domenic Sena. Released on home video, it wins a Grammy Award for Best Longform Video in 1990. The album is extremely well received by fans and critics, and becomes the only album in history to spin off seven top five singles, including four number one pop (“Miss You Much”, “Escapade”, “Black Cat”, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”), and three number one R&B singles (“Miss You Much”, “Rhythm Nation”, “Escapade”). One additional track, “State Of The World” though not issued as a commercial single in the US (at the time of its original release in Australia and Japan only), is remixed and released to radio and as a double 12" set for club DJ’s. On the heels of the album’s success, Janet launches her first world tour in Pensacola, FL on February 27, 1990. The Rhythm Tour plays fifty seven dates in the US, Europe and Japan, running until November 16, 1990. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, three weeks (non-consecutive) on the R&B album chart, and is certified 6x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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

On this day in music history: September 19, 1987 – “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” by Michael Jackson & Siedah Garrett hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on the same date.Written by Michael Jackson, it is the seventh number one solo single (eleventh, to date) for “The King Of Pop”. Issued as the first single from “Bad”, the song is initially pitched to Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston, who both have to pass on recording the song due to prior recording commitments. Siedah Garrett comes to the studio, initially believing she is there to add overdubs to the song “Man In The Mirror” which she has co-written with fellow songwriter Glen Ballard. To her great surprise, producer Quincy Jones asks her to sing the duet with Michael. Released seven weeks ahead of the album on July 20, 1987, the single is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #37 on August 8, 1987, it leaps to the top of the chart six weeks later. Jackson and Garrett also record a Spanish language version of the song (titled “Todo Mi Amor Eres Tu” translated by Ruben Blades) that is released as a limited edition 12" single by CBS International’s Latin Music division. In 2012 to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of “Bad”, Wal-Mart reissues “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” as an exclusive limited edition CD single (individually numbered) with the previously unreleased demo “Don’t Be Messin’ ‘Round”. A numbered limited edition replica of the original 7" single is also reissued along with a reproduction of the original picture sleeve artwork. “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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

On this day in music history: September 19, 1986 – “Give Me The Reason”, the fifth studio album by Luther Vandross is released. Produced by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, it is recorded at AIR Studios in Montserrat, W.I., Minot Sound Studios in White Plains, NY and Westlake Audio in West Hollywood, CA from November 1985 – June 1986. Coming of the success of his previous album “The Night I Fell In Love”, Luther Vandross begins writing and recording his fifth release in the Fall of 1985. Working with long time bassist and collaborator Marcus Miller, the pair write three of the new albums nine songs, with Vandross writing or co-writing others with keyboardists Nat Adderley, Jr. and John “Skip” Anderson. Luther also invites dancer and actor Gregory Hines to record the duet “There’s Nothing Better Than Love” (#1 R&B, #50 Pop) for the project. Originally written for and recorded by Vandross’ idol Dionne Warwick in 1983, he records his own version of “So Amazing” which becomes another stand out track and major fan favorite, in spite of not being released as a single. Vandross also pays further tribute to Warwick by covering “Anyone Who Had A Heart”, which she had first recorded in 1963. The albums title track and lead single “Give Me The Reason” (#3 R&B, #57 Pop) is also featured on the soundtrack of the comedy “Ruthless People. With the new album, comes an image makeover for the R&B superstar. Having shed more than one hundred pounds from his 6’ 3” frame over the previous year, a newly svelte Vandross appears on the front cover and inner sleeve of the album. Like his previous releases, “Reason” is another instant success, spinning off a total of four singles including “Stop To Love” (#1 R&B, #15 Pop) and “I Really Didn’t Mean It” (#6 R&B). The album is remastered and reissued on CD in 2001, featuring newly written liner notes by music journalist Brian Chin. “Give Me The Reason” spend two weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number nineteen on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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

On this day in music history: September 19, 1983 – “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” by Michael Jackson is released. Written by Quincy Jones and James Ingram, it is the sixth single released from the “Thriller” album. The song initially begins as a demo by Jackson and keyboardist Greg Phillinganes after producer Quincy Jones suggests the title to Michael. The song takes its title from a brand of lingerie worn by Jones’ then wife Peggy Lipton Jones. When the initial demo is not considered suitable to fashion into a finished studio track, it is completely re-written by Quincy Jones and James Ingram except for the title. The track also features Michael’s sisters LaToya and Janet (along with Becky Lopez, Bunny Hull, Howard Hewett of Shalamar and James Ingram) on backing vocals.Though a sizable hit at the time of its release, the record is in direct competition with “Say, Say, Say” (released on October 3, 1983), Jackson’s second duet with Paul McCartney. With the two singles released so closely together, results in a lower chart placement for “P.Y.T.” than any of the previous singles from “Thriller” (with radio favoring the superstar duet over the other single), and is on and off the radio in a relatively short time span. During the 2000’s, it becomes a huge recurrent airplay favorite on R&B oldies radio, receiving more spins than it did as a new release. “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)” peaks at #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #46 on the R&B singles chart. The original demo version of “P.Y.T.” surfaces on Jackson’s box set collection “The Ultimate Collection” in 2004.

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

On this day in music history: September 19, 1980 – “Stone Jam”, the fifth album by Slave is released. Produced by Jimmy Douglass, Steve Washington, Charles Carter and Mark Adams, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City from May – July 1980. Firing on all cylinders creatively after the success of their previous album “Just A Touch Of Love”, Slave return to the studio in the Spring of 1980 to record the follow up. Along with recording engineer and producer Jimmy Douglass and fellow band member Steve Washington, bassist Mark “The Hansolor” Adams and saxophonist Charles Carter also take an active role in the production of the new album. Adams along with most of the band co-writes all eight tracks on “Stone Jam”. Topped by the distinctive and immediately recognizable vocals of lead singer and drummer Steve Arrington, often in tandem with vocalist Starleana Young, Slave emerge with what many regard as their best and most fully realized album. Led by the instant classic “Watching You” (#6 R&B, #78 Pop), it becomes their best selling release since their self-titled debut three years earlier. Over time, “Watching You” is widely sampled and interpolated into other R&B and rap songs. Its first use comes by way of the R&B/Disco band Odyssey who borrow the bass line for their own hit “Inside Out” (#12 R&B, #25 Club Play, #3 UK) in 1982, which was also produced by Jimmy Douglass and features Steve Arrington on drums. Snoop Dogg also uses the hook for “Watching” on “Gin And Juice” and “Let’s Get Blown”, and is also sampled by De La Soul, Ghostface Killer, Dru Down and EPMD to name a few.  It also spins off two other singles including “Feel My Love” (#62 R&B) and “Sizzlin’ Hot” (#57 R&B), though other songs on the album including “Starting Over” and the title track also become fan favorites. “Stone Jam” is remastered and makes its long awaited CD debut in 1997 by Rhino Records, featuring liner notes by musicologist, educator and author Rickey Vincent (“Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One”) and three additional bonus tracks. “Stone Jam” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number fifty three on the Top 200, and certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.