All About Love
You know, despite all the controversy and rumors (and perhaps accusations of being an intellectual property thief) that surrounded her in the 80s; the one thing that cannot be taken away from Paula Abdul, is her very real talent. You can dish out your worst about Paula, but the fact is, she can dance her ass off! Whether she has a singer’s voice or not is debatable. She’s kind of like Madonna in a way. Madonna never had a “singer’s voice,” but she had music that young people of her generation connected to, which in tern sold millions. Paula is the same way I think. But even so, I think her dancing makes up for a less than dynamic vocal range.
I Always Confused Paula With Lisa Lisa!
I Always confused Paula with Lisa Lisa back in the day. The were like blood sisters. The only difference was Lisa Lisa has a darker complexion. Today, @ age 56, Paula has a long successful career as an actress, dancer, choreographer, recording artists, and producer. There is no sign of this woman ever slowing down. She definitely kept herself busy.
Throughout the years, as Paula rose to the peak of her career; she’s been plagued with all sorts of rumors. Rumors ranging from Paula steeling dance moves from other choreographers (particularly after her success working with Janet Jackson), to her being accused steeling bras worth in the 5 digits. Check this article out from The Daily Mail. When someone publicly accuses a celebrity like Paula (with her status in Hollywood), that’s when you know they’ve reached a level of real fame and money. By the way, I don’t know how I manage to find this rare rehearsal video of Janet and Paula on YouTube.
Paula came out with a lot of music I really liked. One of my huge favorites is a ballad called “Rush Rush” from her 1991 “Spellbound” album. I was watching an old live Patti Labelle performance on VHS, and I remember her saying that this song was originally written for her, but Patti turned it down. So Paula took it instead. Patti stated she was sorry she turned it down, as it hit #1 that same year! 😂 “Cold Hearted” is another dance favorite. Oh, man! I can’t forget about “Straight Up.” Almost all the kids was dancing to that song. Paula hadn’t had a hit since the early nineties; but it’s wonderful to see she’s still working doing her thang @ age 56!
Today’s topic is, “An Artist’s Magic In The Background.” I guess, unless you’re an actual musician, the average person doesn’t know who Michael Anderson is. Michael has had a couple of R&B hits, one song is called “Take Me I’m Yours (1978),” which unfortunately although it hit #6 on R&B charts, it only got as high as #88 on the Top 100 Billboard. That was a shame because the man can sing. By the way, I think this song would be a perfect for this coming Valentine’s Day.
Henderson Reminds Me So Much Of Ray Parker Jr.
Back in the day, I just couldn’t get over the uncanny resemblance between Henderson and fine ass Ray Parker Jr. I’ve been going crazy trying to find any evidence that Henderson is Parker’s brother. However, I could not find anything, so I guess it’s just a coincidence. But, interestingly enough, Henderson has worked with many artists in the background, and that included Ray Parker Jr.
In addition to Henderson being a talented vocalist (although I think he doesn’t project his voice enough), he’s also an accomplished bass player. As a result, he’s been able to work with lots of very famous people, such as the late Miles Davis, Bob Seger, Phyllis Hyman, and even Adele. The list goes on and on. He is very much sought after.
Probably one of the biggest projects (that I can remember) Henderson has been a part of, is his collaboration with Norman Connors. Henderson was featured on the #4 R&B hit “You Are My Starship (1976).” Another great collaboration was with the legendary Phyllis Hyman, on the song called “Can’t We Fall In Love Again.” The song hit #9 on the R&B charts; but only #57 on the Top 100 Charts in 1981. Great song! Check it out.
Introducing, Reggae Bonnie, from country music!! Just kidding 🤓 You know, I don’t think I would be completely out of line, if I were to say that most long-time musicians had recorded at least ONE reggae song throughout their career, regardless of what their core genre is. Hell, even the hugely popular classic rock group “Blondie” recorded a reggae song. I guess… Why not? Reggae is good music when done right!
I Would Have Never Guessed She Was A Country Singer!
Bonnie Raitt did such a wonderful job performing this song. I have to say, when I first heard her sing “Have A Heart (1989),” if I didn’t already know who she was, I would have never guessed she was actually a country singer. The song was written by singer & record producer, Bonnie Hayes. I think it’s such a nice song with lyrics everyone can relate to. I was disappointed that the song only peaked at #49 on the Top 100.
So, despite the fact that Bonnie is such a talented performer, my next favorite song from her called “Something To Talk About (1991),” was the closest thing she ever had to a number one hit. The song peaked at #5 on the Top 100. It’s a very cute and youthful country song about two people in a new relationship, who really care for each other.
Oh, for goodness sake! I almost forgot about another major, major favorite of mine. I am also dumbfounded that this wasn’t a number one hit either. Do any of my readers remember her song, “I Can’t Make You Love Me (1991)?” If you love sentimental love songs, a song like this would cut deep when you hear it. Listening to the lyrics would have you saying “yes, yes, I can relate, I know what you mean.” This amazing song only peaked at #18.10% off your purchase with code LNK10. Excludes Clearance
Yes!! Her two massive covers made her over. They made her over in to a very successful international superstar. Like Madonna and Cher, she is simply known by one name. Sybil. Do you remember her? Vocally, this lady had it going on back in the day! This little lady is from Patterson, New Jersey; and sings a variety of genres, including new jack swing, and house/club. She’s got a soft singing voice, with banging dance beats.
This Song Reached #2 On The R&B Charts
What? You still don’t remember her? Well, you may remember her from hearing her biggest hit of her career! The song is called “Don’t Make Me Over.” It was written by legendary writers Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was written specifically for Dionne Warwick, and she released her original recording in 1962. Sybil’s version of “Don’t Make Me Over” only reached #20 on the Top 100; however, it shot up to #2 on the R&B Chart & #4 under Dance. Dionne’s original peaked at #5 under R&B.
Sybil had one more major international 80s hit; which also happens to be another Dione Warwick classic called “Walk On By.” This song hit #3 on R&B and #7 on Dance. Now, it seems as though the Black community played both these songs so much, we have played her out of our memory! I don’t even recall hearing internet Black radio playing her music. Her music is definitely worth jamming to.
My opinion is that, after her two major 80s hits, she became severely underrated. Her voice and music was really bangin’, and still is! There’s a lot of her music and remixes that deserved the same recognition. I’d like you to check some of (what I think) is bangin’ dance remixes, and is deserving of your ear. Check out “It’s Too Late (Thommy & Spen Dub),” “Don’t Give Up (Club Mix),” “Troubled Waters – MuthaFunkaz Vocal,” and “Make It Easy On Me.” Now, I was a little bit taken back by the song “Make It Easy On Me,” because I almost didn’t recognize her voice. She sounded a lot like Deniece Williams. 😱
You know, I’m thoroughly shocked! Absolutely dumbfounded! That the hugely popular musical group called “The Platters” only had one number one hit, and only two top 10s, according to Billboards’ Top 100 Charts (since formed in 1952)! Holy cow! Well, let me tell you, growing up, The Platters as a group were certainly #1 in our family. I remember my grandpa playing this group just as much as all his other favorites. Even as a young child, this was the kind of music I personally gravitated to.
The Original Lead Singer, Johnny Barnes, Had The Most Beautiful Voice!
The original lead singer, Johnny Barnes, had the most beautiful male voices I ever heard at the time. Even today, no other group comes to mind (when it comes to doo-wop), where their lead singer carries a tune so beautifully the way he did. Actually, you know I should add a small disclaimer to my prior statement. There were so many members that changed, members that were swapped, etc., Johnny may not actually be the original lead singer. However, his voice is the predominant voice I remembered growing up. There were sooooo many songs they produced, that became my all-time favorites. One of them on the top of that list, which also happens to be their only #1 song, is called “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” released in 1959. Man…. For me to be so young, and know nothing about love/adult relationship and somehow be able to connect with this song, was a huge testament to the power of his voice.
I was thrilled when I actually found a YouTube video of Johnny Barnes singing some of their old tunes! That was so cool! Now, that was a moment I hope the guests cherished. I would have loved to be present for that. If my research is correct, Gaynel Hodge is the only living member left from the legendary Platters. You know, considering all the scandals I’ve read; including drugs, as well as 4 male members being accused of sex trafficking (although never charged), I don’t even understand how that group continued to exist in that era, especially when news like that entered the public domain. Honestly, I really think that Johnny’s voice saved The Platters from total destruction. If they were not so talented, and had great songs, they would have been toast by the end of the 60s.
Before I close this article, I’d like to leave you with some more of my Platters favorites. “Only You (And You Alone),” “The Great Pretender,” “You’ve Got The Magic Touch,” “My Prayer,” “My Way,” “Unchained Melody,” “Please Have Mercy,” “I’m Sorry,” “As Time Goes By,” and finally, “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Thanks for reading… I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.
Michael Jackson & Justin Timberlake. If Michael was alive at the time of this mix, there would have been no greater collaboration! I’m talking about the hit song “Love Never Felt So Good.” Their voices blended nicely and seamlessly together. I have to say, this song is one of my ultimate favorite songs from the late MJ. I just appreciate the fact that while the producers involved offered a new spin on the song, they also managed to keep Michael’s essence of the 70’s. Hearing this song just made me miss MJ all over again 😭
The Song Was Co-written with Paul Anka!
I learned something interesting. NEVER in a million years would I ever thought the song was co-written with Paul Anka! I found this out indirectly, when I heard the original piano version, and guess who was on piano? Yup, the legendary Paul Anka! Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Anka, I was just thinking from the standpoint of their musical styles are so different, I just would have never matched those two together. Yet, at the same time, I am not surprised. Michael was inspired by many people that are not spoken of today, and that includes Charlie Chaplin. MJ was truly musically diverse indeed. To my understanding, the song was still just a demo put together from the 1980s, and was never released until 2014.
Now, for various reasons, I don’t watch award shows; and haven’t done so since the 80s. But it is my understanding that Justin has received a Vanguard Award @ The VMAs, according to The Rolling Stones Magazine. So, I guess the remix of Michael’s song was good timing, as Justin was at the very peak of his career. Watching the tribute video to this song just makes MJ fans wanna cry. To hear the words sung “Love Never Felt So Good,” and to see footage of some of Michael’s best performances, was just heartbreaking to me.
You know, given light to all of Michael’s past personal problems; especially in regards to his financial troubles; the only question that seemed to be in the media just before his death; “would Michael be able to make enough money for a successful comeback?” The song “Love Never Felt So Good” alone was such a huge success around the world, there was no doubt about it, he would have been very successful. It seemed that every single artist on the planet covered this song. It was like listening to a karaoke explosion or something.
Today, I’d like to write about an awesome classic, Rock The Boat by Hues Corporation. The Hues Corporation probably became the most famous Black musical group on the planet, because of their hit “Rock The Boat,” which was released in 1974. This massively popular song became their one an only major hit single. The song reached #1 for a total of one week!
Song Reached #1 For One Week!
Although the song only stayed number one for a week; It felt like it was still number one for years I remember waking up, the stations were paying it; came home from school and the stations were playing it; barbecues parties were playing it; oh my goodness!! You young kids just don’t understand. Despite only having one big hit, that big hit was a major contribution to Black disco music.
They officially got together as a group in 1969, and dominated the disco scene with their first album featuring “Rock The Boat.” Now, according to sources, the single sold over 2 million copies. However, I don’t know what the cut off date was? Because even when the song finally dropped off the charts, we still heard it in commercials and other venues, which means it was till making money. I am almost positive that even when they removed their 7″ from circulation, the 12″ versions are usually sold for a lot longer. Not sure if those are under a different category? Interesting now that I think about it.
The group disbanded by the eighties, and once again reformed sometime in the 90s. I believe the current members are Flemming Williams, St. Claire Lee, & H. Ann Kelley. The group still looks good by the way, especially Flemming; I’ve read reports that he was heavy in to drugs unfortunately. Can’t say that I’m surprised at that. This was something that was unfortunately common. Other musicians loved to work with The Hues Corporation. To my understanding, they had great relationships with other groups such as The Spinners.
The Group Appeared In The 1972 Cult Movie Classic, Blacula!
There’s one other song that did not do too bad on the charts. The song is called “Rockin’ Soul,” which is on the same album. It reached #18 on the Top 100. I think it’s an ok song. It’s kind of reminiscent of “Rock The Boat,” it has that same obvious flavor. Let me say that this album was not a bad album; they’re a very talented group; it’s just unfortunate that they didn’t have a lot of huge hits.
I’d like to recommend one last song from this album. The song is called, “I’ll Take A Melody.” I am very surprised that this didn’t make the charts. The medley kind of reminds me of Ann Murry’s “A Love Song,” which is also another one of my very favorite classic country songs.
You know, before I get to his song “Promises.” I’d like to say that, arguably…… Sam Smith (in my opinion), could very well be one of the most successful out LGBT musicians in today’s pop culture. I mean, he’s even larger than Adam Lambert was, since his first major break on American Idol. They’re both talented, but let’s be real, Adam Lambert has a set of pipes on him. If you can lean a gig, singing with the legendary rock group Queen, you’ve got talent! However, Sam’s unique smooth and relaxed voice attracted the attention of many types of music fans, as well as LGBT supporters.
5 Top Tens, Within Four Years!
Just a shy over four years, Sam has managed to land 5 top ten hits! That’s incredible! That is not easy to do. However, even in this era of music streaming, I still think that if he was already out before he released his albums, he would not have had the same success. I mean, technically speaking, Adam has a trained voice, and look how much hell he got on American Idol! I also think the obvious….. Despite the micro movements towards LGBT acceptance, “straight acting” is still a major problem in the entertainment industry, be it music or film.
Fans fell in love with his song “Stay With Me (2014),” from his album “In The Lonely Hour,” which reached #2 on the Top 100 Charts. The next song that would become Sam’s next hit was, “Too Good At Goodbye (2017),” from his album “The Thrill Of It All,” which reached #4 on the Top 100 Chart. However, the song I really like from him did not reach high on the charts. It was the last single (I believe) he put out in 2018. The song is called “Promises.” Promises, is way down at #65, what a shame. I’m shocked that the song ranked so low. I loved his… Almost like a Bing Crosby sound. The song was mixed by Calvin Harris. There’s a remix album for this song, done by various DJs. Check it out on Spotify. Some of them sound hot.