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Forgotten Artists!

LaVern Baker - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Have you guys ever heard of the late LaVern Baker? Woooweee! I love her vocals! In a way, she reminds me a lot of Etta James, in that she was feisty when she sang. Or perhaps if she was a gospel singer, she would sound closer to someone like Shirley Caesar. Most definitely, LaVern was not scared of the microphone. When the mic was in her possession, she meant business.

LaVern Baker -SpotifyThrowbacks.com
Lavern Baker performing at North Sea Jazz Festival Den Haag The Netherlands July 1991. (Photo by Jan Persson/Getty Images)

LaVern was born in 1929. The moment she opened her mouth as a child, “that’s all she wrote,” as my elders used to say. Long story short, she eventually signed on to Atlantic Records, and then history was born. She was one of the many artists responsible for showcasing the original R&B music. I’m dumbfounded to find out that she only had one top ten hit in her career. That was a song called “I cried A Tear (1959).” But unfortunately, I have to tell ya, this wasn’t my favorite. My favorite is actually a song called “Love Me Right (1960).” It looks like the song didn’t even make the charts at all. But you know, I thought to myself, maybe this makes sense, as technically this song was very raunchy for those days 😂. I recommend that you try to research her music.

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Unfortunately, although Richard Marx is an incredible performer and talented songwriter, I only really loved one song he recorded (so far in his career). Not that Richard didn’t have hits, he had many. I just only connected with one song. Now, before I reveal my favorite song, allow me to share with you some of his accomplishments. Richard started his career in the early eighties, and performs adult contemporary and pop music for the most part.

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Marx collaborated with many artists, including NSYNC and the late Luther Vandross. I haven’t heard anything new by him in like over 2 decades, but homeboy has a lot of faithful fans. I’m pleased to discover that he’s still performing. In fact, he’s playing in Carnegie Hall next week. If he managed to fill-up Carnegie Hall, homeboy has got it goin’ on!

Richard Marx - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

His first self-titled album, released in 1987 I believe, yielded about 3 hits. “Don’t Mean Nothing,” “Endless Summer Nights,” “Hold On To The Nights,” and oh yeah, I guess there was a forth one called “Should’ve Known Better.” Despite these hits, I still wasn’t particularly drawn to his music, until I hard a song from his 1989 “Repeat Offender,” and the song was called “Right Here Waiting.” “Right Here Waiting” is a very romantic soft rock song that hit #1 on the Top 100 Charts, and has been used on many movies and television shows, such as “The Good Place (2018),” and “The Bachelorette (2018).”

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Martha Reeves and the Vandellas - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Let me tell you guys something. You couldn’t mess with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas! They were one of the hottest girl groups at the time (next to the Supremes). This amazing girl group started around 1957. What I didn’t realize was that the group was first called “The Vandellas,” and Martha Reeves was not included in the group until a few years later. Eventually she ended up lead singer.

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

These legendary Motown girls had many classic hits we all know and love. Songs like “Dancing In The Streets (1964),” “Heatwave (1963),” “Nowhere To Run (1966),” and of course we all know “Jimmy Mack (1967).”

But There Is A Forgotten Song You Need To Hear!




There is an outstanding song that Martha performed with the Vandellas called “Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things) (1966).” Martha ripped this song to shreds! This song gave me a whole new respect for Martha as a singer. Unfortunately, the song only hit #70 on the Top 100 Chart, and only #22 on the R&B Chart. Are you kidding me? This song was amazing! My opinion is that compared to all their other songs, this should have been on at least the top 10 list.

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Owen Grey - SpotifyThrowbvacks.com

Ok reggae fans out there! Do you remember legendary Owen Grey? Mr. Owen was born in Kingston, Jamaica. He grew up to be one of Jamaica’s most beloved vocal artists. The passion Owen has for all kinds of music shows in the variety of genres he played. From R&B to ska to gospel, I think it’s safe to say he just about did it all (with the exception of disco LOL).

His Biggest Hit Undocumented As Far As I’m Concerned!!




And of course, I’m already aggravated, because I can’t find any official stats on his biggest hit (U.S.) in 1996. “Don’t Turn Around,” with Dianne Warren singing background, was one of the most popular reggae hits from the mid 90s in the US. What’s even worse, I am dumbfounded that as popular as this song was, YouTube has very low streams for  this song. However, collectively speaking his music streamed well on YouTube (considering no one plays really his music anymore as a whole). Billboard was absolutely useless to me 😠 . This is a damn shame! All I can do at this point, is share with you my memories.

Owen Grey - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Owen started his career at the age of 9, when he performed on his first talent show. People in the reggae industry took noticed, and his career eventually skyrocketed. From about 1958 until present, he’s produced a LOT of albums. I’d like to recommend some of my favorites. A cover of BJ Thomas’s “Always On My Mind,” “Confidential To You,” “The Game Has Just Begun,” a cover of Nat King Cole’s (written by Ivory Deek Watson)  “Sentimental Reasons,” and finally a song called “Let’s Start All Over.” Enjoy!

Johnny Gil & Stacy Lattisaw - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Oh my goodness!!! A true blast from the past!! Do you remember these guys?!?! They seemed to be such an odd couple. I didn’t even know they were dating! I thought they were just together to promote their 1984 hit song “Perfect Combination.” This is the one and only New Edition’s Johnny Gill, and solo artist Stacy Lattisaw! You know, when I looked at Johnny Gill’s young face at the time, I just couldn’t believe that that strong voice came out of a guy that was still pretty much adolescent. “Perfect Combination” reached #10 on the R&B charts; and was released about 2 years BEFORE he was signed on as a new member of the legendary New Edition.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I was flipping through my album collection and thought I’d write about another forgotten composer. The late Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn NY in the 1930s, and grew up to be a very well known musician/flutist. Herbie has performed many types of music (but mostly classical). However, in my opinion, I think it’s safe to say he is most remembered for some of his disco tunes.

His Music Was Very Popular, But His Billboard Ranks Were Mediocre




It’s kind of weird to explain Herbie’s music, because a lot of his music rankings were mediocre, yet at the same time many of his music were very popular. I guess the only possible explanation for that is his connection to the club & disco scenes. This particular album, “Super Mann,” released in 1978 I feel is his best work. My most favorite song on the album is “Super Mann.” Super Mann is a song with intense flirtatious energy and heavy dance beats. The piece peaked at #26 on the Top 100 Charts.

Herbie Mann - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Another great composition (I think) from the same album is called “Rock Freak.” Both composition are disco infused with a Brazilian influence. Herbie had another hugely popular hit from his “Discotheque” album called “Hi-Jack (1975).” This was my jam back in the day too. This was actually an instrumental cover, taken from the original band called Barrabas.  For pure disco fans, I think the works I’ve mentioned in this article will appeal to you the most. Everything else would probably be too mellow for most disco fans. However, if you like instrumental jazz, check out his cover of “Comin’ Home Baby,” written by Ben Tucker, and originally performed by Mel Tormé w/vocals. But it was made popular by a Ray Charles TV performance. I don’t remember if it was a concert or on a variety TV show. I honestly don’t remember hearing Tormé’s original until after I heard Ray sang it. Herbie died while in Mexico c. 2003.

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Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold Faltermeyer is a music composer and record producer born in Munich, Germany. Although I’ve tagged him as being a forgotten artists, technically he’s not depending whether or not we’re talking about the public or the movie industry. Within the movie industry, he is one of the most sought after composers I can think of.

Famous Behind The Scenes




Harold is one of those talented musicians that is famous from behind the scenes. Despite the fact that he has composed scores for some pretty big well known movies, such as “American Gigolo (1980)” starring Richard Gere, and “The Midnight Express (1978),” starring Brad Davis; composers are not given the same notoriety as lead singers to a sound track unfortunately. I’m not quite sure why is that.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

I’ve always wondered what is the method of figuring out a truly successful sound track producer? Because it’s not exactly the same thing as your traditional mainstream vocal performer right? Because part of their success is also about the success of the movie, which technically has nothing to do with each other. Someone can make a legitimate argument that people only buy sound tracks when they’re a fan of the movie.

Harold Faltermeyer - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

Harold pretty much stayed unknown to most music fans, until his success with “Beverly Hills Cop (1984).” It was so successful, he got a Grammy Award for best original sound track (co-writer) some time in 1986. The composition that blew up the charts was Axel-F. The piece shot to #3 on the Hot 100 Charts. It is probably (as far as I’m concerned) one of the few biggest dance/synth-pop tunes of all times.

The legendary Regina Belle - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

OK everybody! Let’s put our hands together for the legendary Regina Belle! You know, I’m not sure if I’m using the word “phenomenal” too much or not. But, sometimes I just can’t think of any other word to describe these very talented artists! I’m also not sure if I can truly say we’ve forgotten about Regina, but certainly, we are not playing her music anymore. Throughout Regina’s career, she didn’t have that many number ones. However, her music is iconic enough to where it’s definitely worth listening to! Especially if you love or are in the mood for mellow/romantic music.

She’s The Queen Of Smooth Jazz




She’s the queen of smooth jazz! Well, this isn’t her official title. However, much of my most favorite music from her has been within that genre. Regina started her career in the mid 80s, and her success landed her the opportunity to perform for former President George W. Bush. After Regina’s scary ordeal with having brain cancer; her loyal fans have never forgotten her, despite not having a #1 hit in decades. I’m going to make the assumption she’s cancer free, since my research alludes she’s still performing.

Regina Belle - SpotifyThrowbacks.com

By the way, I’m pretty concerned with all these celebrities I’m hearing getting all sorts of cancer. This is some scary shit. Anyway, I think the moment I fell in love with Regina’s music, was when I heard her iconic song “Make It Like It Was (1989),” which hit #1 on the R&B Chart, and #5 on the Top 100 Chart. Another favorite is “Baby Come To Me (1989),” which was also number one on the R&B Chart. However, I think the song that really put Regina on the map, was a song called “A Whole New World (Theme From Aladdin) (1992),” a duet with the legendary Peabo Bryson. This song reached #1 in the Adult Contemporary category. From the same album, check out “Quiet Time,” a duet with Barry White. Oh my goodness. Barry had a way of making any song sound sexy as hell.

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