Legendary 80s dance deva Samantha Fox (not to be confused with the porn star Samantha Fox), was one of the baddest bitches in club music! Now, I know that some of my readers may disagree with Samantha being a dance deva; but this completely depends on the environment your in. Hate her/love her, her music was a must have in terms of the underground. In fact, believe it or not, her music just wasn’t big in the straight night clubs; but she was also a massive hit in the gay clubs too! Strangely enough, she had a considerable connection with Black gays. The common answer I got was “her music was easy to vogue to.”
She Was One Of The Biggest Dance Devas Of The 80s!
When I tell you records and tapes? Every mix, remix, dubs, tribal mix, and mega mixes that was released by Samantha, the gay community had it. Back in the 80s when we still purchased albums, about every hour someone would ask if a store had the latest Samantha Fox mix. It was so serious that if a club didn’t play Samantha Fox, I remembered people saying “They didn’t play my song!” 😂
Unfortunately, for this UK girl, Samantha was often confused with the porn star whose stage name was also Samantha Fox, because Samantha (the singer) done a lot of risque pinup work. Most of her pictorials were topless, and unfortunately, this was the only “safer for work” photo I found I could share. Ok straight boys, don’t drool all over your keyboard. LOL. Samantha started off posing semi-nude in a London paper at the estimated age of 16.
One of my ultimate favorites from Samantha was her massive 1989 hit, “I Wanna Have Some Fun.” This song peaked at #8 on the 100 chart. Another favorite is a song called “Love House.” I was quite surprised that the song only peaked at #14 in the U.S. But, then again, like I’ve mentioned earlier, it depends on your environment. I remember gay children literally jumping over each other just to get on the dance floor when this song was played. Goodness, I really do miss those days. The music was different, and the people were different. I’ll give you one more huge favorite of mine. It’s called “Naughty Girls (Need Love Too).” The song peaked at #3 in 1988. I think it’s a great dance tune!Save $2 off $40 with Coupon Code 2SCHOOL
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.
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. 😱
A once, Gangsta’s Paradise! I had absolutely no intentions on writing about rap today; but I indirectly found photos of Coolio and said to myself, “damn! What the hell happen to you!! Holy cow!!! Oh, hell…. Let’s talk about it! Coolio has gone from an almost “king of rap” status, to becoming a hasbin in the span of only a single decade. Coolio is one of those cases that gives me many mixed feelings about rap in general. But, the truth of the matter is, the whole subject around the genre is very complex, because there are many elements that surround it; as there are many opinions that go along with them (both in support, and against).
Coolio hasn’t had a major hit since “Gangsta’s Paradise,” from the movie soundtrack “Dangerous Minds (1995),” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. By he way, Dangerous Minds was an incredible movie in my opinion. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I do remember enjoying it very much. Michelle did a hell of a good job; way more than I gave her credit for in the beginning. Not only did Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise hit number 1, it stayed number one for 3 consecutive weeks! That was very impressive. This rap title was very unique, in that it’s one of the very few compositions that captures the raw emotion of being young and out in the streets. I also think the movie helped to bring further context to Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise.
Now, once I started to see photos like this emerge on the internet, I knew Coolio has finally lost his last mind. A once Grammy Award winning artist, has not only been in jail multiple times, but has had more run-ins with police than most people can change clothes in a day. And you know what else? Like father like son! I found an article from NY Daily News, that says that Coolio and his son was actually in the same prison. Discovering Coolio’s website was also somewhat of a shocker. Coolio’s World, is a decent looking website. However, it also screams “I’m trying desperately to keep my old rap career alive.” Which would explain why Coolio insist on keeping those damn few strands of braids. He most likely feels it’s the only way people would remember him. Another sign that Coolio is not doing well, on his website he as a section called “Cooking With Coolio.” This man is just screaming for attention. A stark contrast from the Coolio we once knew.
Wow!! Look who I dug up! Does any of my readers remember the legendary Jeffrey Osborne? Yes, I’ve called him legendary because, although he never had any Billboard Top Ten Hits, Osborne hit the charts hard enough that most 80s kids like me still remember him. His song “On The Wings Of Love,” was released in 1982. It only peaked at #29, but it remains one of my most favorites from Jeffrey. Interesting to note that, what I didn’t know was that Jeffrey’s version was actually a cover song 😱 !! Yup. The original song was recorded by Regine Velasquez. But, sorry Regine, I love Osborne’s version better. Turns out that Velasquez released quite a few albums; but her music is not my cup of tea. All her music sound like demo tapes! Anyway, it doesn’t stop there; the song became a cover once more; done by an artist named Kyla as part of a soundtrack to a romantic/comedy TV show. What Show? You’ve guessed it! “On The Wings Of Love (2015).”
Not having a top ten hit didn’t stop Osborne from landing a Miller Beer ad contract. I remember this ad being all over Jet and Ebony magazine. You know, it’s funny, I always laugh when I see this particular ad. Because it reminds me of his song, “Stay With Me Tonight (1984),” which hit #30 on the Top 100 Charts. I laugh because if the ad was actually a TV commercial, this song would fit right in, in a bar, and he’s with the woman he’s interested in. Don’t ask me why, it’s just one of those crazy thoughts that come in to your head. That would have been a cool commercial tho. 😄
He Still Is So Very Talented
To be honest, I’ve only listened to his old popular hits from back in the day. However, I acknowledge that Jeffrey is a very talented brotha. The dude can sing, and he still got soul! In fact, I don’t know if my readers realized it yet, but, Jeffrey just released an album last year in 2018! The album is called “Worth It All.” It has some pretty good tracks in there! I love it when veteran performers continue to make themselves musically relevant. One song I really like from the album is a song called “Just Can’t Stand It.” The song has a nice modern funk sound to it. His voice is still on point. Another song I think you should check out from his album is called, “That Man.”
Ever since Valarie Simpson met Nick Ashford in 1963, they were inseparable. Together they’ve made some really massively remember-able hits; such as “Solid,” “Is It Still Good To Ya,” and “Street Corner,” just to name a fraction of their great works together. But, did you know that in addition to Valerie being an awesome singer, she was and still is a phenomenal songwriter in her own right? I happened to listen to an internet radio station that played TV jingles 24/7; and on that radio station, I’ve learned that Valerie written a lot of songs for commercials! I didn’t realize this at all.
Even Hershey’s Almond Joy
Even more surprising to me was that one of them (I considered to be) was one of the biggest ad campaigns of it’s time. She written and performed jingles for many companies such as “Canada Dry,” & Hershey’s “Almond Joy,” “because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don’t.” 😂😂😜 I absolutely had no idea! But then again, even today, songwriters are not acknowledged and given much credit. You really have to dig and search for them nowadays. I found a tribute to Valerie on YouTube, singing some of her most famous jingles and themes. I’ll give you another tidbit… Did you know that Valerie co-wrote, along with her late husband Ashford, the lyrics to The Supremes’ hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?” Now, that I knew! 😜 Homage to all the songwriters out there!!!
I am sure I’m not wrong about this…. But….. Yes…… I do believe that singer/songwriter Larry Graham is among the many great forgotten artists. As far as I can remember, he only had two major hit songs of his career, and they were in 1980 and then in 1981. This man had a sexy *ss voice! He had what we used to call “bedroom voices.” There were very few men that had those types of voices, off the top of my head, Teddy Pendergrass, Barry White, & Luther Vandross. The first hit he released was in 1980 “One In A Million You,” grown women went bananas over that song. The song hit #1 on the U.S. R&B charts. With the exception of some college radio stations, I don’t think there were any stations that wasn’t playing this song. Growing up, almost every woman wanted this song played for their wedding. That’s how serious it was 😁😂 I’m not joking about that either 😜. When people heard this song on the radio back in the day, people would literally stop what they were doing to sing along until the song was finished.
The second huge hit of his career is a song called “Just Be My Lady,” released in 1981. The song peaked at #4 on the R&B Charts. This was another highly requested song for weddings. There was a song he recorded in 1975 that did ok on the Top 100 Charts, the song was called “Your Love.” Graham recorded the song along with a group he put together called the “Graham Central Station.” The song peaked at the 38th position on the Top 100, however, I couldn’t find anything on the R&B Chart. It probably didn’t do well enough to get on the chart’s radar.
Do you guys remember Jonathan Butler? Wow! This was one good-looking bro back in the day. Mr. Butler is a type of talented artist I think not to many people appreciate. He made some really good music, however, his music was not chart topping unfortunately. For some reason, I can’t retrieve all the stats for Jonathan on the billboard, but judging from the very low Spotify streams overall, I can make a safe assumption he did not rank high on the Billboard charts. But, But this doesn’t mean he wasn’t talented. One of the songs I remembered very well from him, is a song called “Lies,” released in 1987. This song only peaked at the 27th position on the Hot 100 Charts, however, I remember seeing the music video for this song all the time! It’s a great jazzy pop tune! It will at least get your head bopping. Another nice one was “More Than Friends,” released a year later in 1988 from his album called “More Than Friends.” I think you’ll really like both these songs. Check it out.