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. 😱
Oh, boy. I loved the Heptones growing up. They really made some nice music back in the day. Their music is the kind of music I think should have been played on stations like Light FM. The Heptones reggae version of “Crystal Blue Persuasion,” was perfect for light radio! It’s a shame that as many Americans claim to love reggae music, it was almost never played on major stations, unless it was music produced by a major American artist. The only exception to that as far as I remembered was Bob Marley, and Eddy Grant. Not even Eddy Grant; because it is my opinion that he only got famous because of the song he produced called “Romancing The Stone.” Grant originally produced it for the movie “Romancing The Stone (1984),” starring Michael Douglas, and Danny DeVito. But, even then, as I’ve discussed on my old blog, I never considered Eddy Grant’s music reggae music. 90% of it was all Americanized, and appealed to specifically American rock/pop audiences.
Now, I honestly don’t mean to rant and start bitching….. But…… Reggae groups like the Heptones need to be sought out and played! Too many American people hear that dancehall music and think that, that’s what reggae is all about. But the reality is, just like American music, there is an array of reggae music of different styles and genres. Trust me when I tell you, not all reggae music is the same! I can’t tell you just how many American people who tell me, “I don’t listen to reggae music, ’cause they all sound the same.” The reality is, if those people really searched for it, they’d immediately know they’re not the same.
Not All Reggae Music Is The Same
So, The Heptones consist of a trio, Robert Dacres, Earl Morgana & Carlton Scarlett. Past members: Naggo Morris, Leroy Sibbles, and Barry Llewellyn. They come from Jamaica, and their core genres are Rock Steady and Ska. The group harmonized so well, it was almost like listening to a Jamaican version of The Miracles. The Heptones are so talented, it infuriates me that I have such difficulty finding chart information for many of these groups. I know I sound like a broken record already, but this is part of the many causes of why we’re losing our music culture. Black music culture especially. People are searching for good music, therefore this information must be made available! Otherwise, the music simply becomes “oh yeah, my mom played that song once or twice.”
I want to leave you with one last favorite of mine by The Heptones. The song is called “Party Time (1972).” Now, this song right here?!?! This is some sweet reggae right here!! You don’t have to just take my word for it anymore, you can immediately listen to it yourself on Spotify! It just a shame that the song is so short. According to The Jamaican Observer, the legendary rock steady group is still in demand, and is now touring in Europe. That is so awesome!!