CLASSICS: RHYTHM AND BLUES

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I immediately loved this song when it came out. You know, I didn’t think I’ve noticed until now, but take a look at all the names involved in this one song! Wow, you need several people to make a hit song? That’s why nobody can make money, because every single person involved wants their cut!! But, I digress…… Any whooooo. “Through The Fire,” released on 1984 became one of my most favorite Chaka Khan songs. Now, it’s funny because, chart wise, the song didn’t do that well. It hit its highest at 15th position on the Hip Hop/R&B Charts; but on the Top 100 Chart, its highest peak was 60th position. I’m kinda in disbelief, because in the Black community this song was very popular back in the day. It’s hard for me to think these numbers were that low. Maybe it ranked higher in another category?



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Let me tell ya’ll young people something….. Taylor Dane was (and still is) one of the best & baddest vocal musicians that ever come out of the 80s generation! I don’t even know what category to put her in, because she sings all kinds of music; pop, a little rock, r&b, everything! Her voice is truly a powerhouse in my opinion. I remember watching an interview where she told America she originally was training to be a classical opera singer. Well, if you’re familiar with her music, you would never believe it if she didn’t say it! Taylor cranked out many hits, and one of my favorites ballads on the top of that list is a song called “I’ll Always Love You,” released in 1988. This was my jam! This was most people’s jam!! The song hit #3 on the Hot 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for 30 weeks! Her music really spanned all races, case I heard EVERYbody singing this song! Another amazing ballad was a song called “Love Will Lead You Back,” released in 1990. The song hit #1 and stayed there for a week. I didn’t know any Black person that wasn’t playing these two songs to the ground back in the day. Other hit favorites include: “With Every Beat Of My Heart,” “I’ll Be Your Shelter,”

The above has always been my favorite photo, because for some reason she reminds me so much of Milla Jovovich from the movie Resident Evil. In fact, you can really see the resemblance in her “Love Will Lead You Back” music video. Throughout Taylor’s career, she has sold over 75 million records and won 3 Grammy(s). Almost 40 years later, this 80s legend still continues to perform! I want you to check out some of her extended remixes. I just heard these for the first time today. “With Every Beat Of My Heart – Mental Dub,” “Tell It To My Heart (Club Mix),” “Don’t Rush Me – Continental Dub House Mix.”



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I absolutely love Sade’s music! But honey, when she released her smash hit “Sweetest Taboo” in 1985, THEN when I saw the video for it, I thought she was of the baddest bitches in music! I never saw a woman of color ride a horse like that before! It was as though she was a professional Jockey or something. Sade’s Sweetest Taboo came from her album “Promise,” and was written by Helen Adu Ditcham. The song shot to #3 on the R&B charts, and stayed relevant for about 20 weeks. This was such a cool song, anybody from any age could groove to this song. According to some articles I’ve read, she’s supposed to be working on a new album. However, she does have a single from Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time” sound track called “Flower In The Universe.”





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I think Maxwell’s music is soooo under rated if you ask me. I love his music! It’s smooth, it’s sexy, danceable yet slow jam-able at the same time. I think one of my most favorite groove songs from Maxwell is a song called “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder),” released in 1996 from his “Urban Hang Suite” album. Now, hear is the real interesting part about this song. The song only reached #36 on the Top 100 Charts; however, in terms of the hip hop category,  it reached #8 on the streaming charts. I’m not sure what to make of this. A while back, I’ve talked about the fact that eventually streaming numbers would be used instead of record sales. The way I see it, it makes it difficult for bloggers, because some songs will have both, as with the case with this song. Why is this a problem? Streaming wasn’t as popular as it is now, and it does change the dynamic quite significantly. Maybe as a classic blogger, I need to include both? As it would indicate a resurgence of popularity/interest? From the same album, I also love his piece called “The Urban Theme.” It has a hint of Blaxploitation to it, mixed with modern sound.





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The Dells, such a telented group, yet forgotten. My most favorite song they recorded, was a song called “Stay In My Corner.” The song was distributed by 3 different labels. The first original version of “Stay In My Corner (1965),” was released under Vee-Jay Records, and peaked at #30 on the R&B Charts. Then a couple of years later, The Dells reinterpreted the song, and released a new version of “Stay In My Corner (1968)” under Cadet Records. Not only did their new version hit #1 in 1968, it stayed number one for a whopping 3 weeks!! That’s incredible!! It remained their biggest hit of their entire career. The song is now digitally distributed under Geffen Records. It was written by Wade Flemons, Robert Eugene Miller, and Barrett Strong.



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Wow guys! Look what I’ve found! I never heard this song before until about yesterday. The song is called, “I Just Wanna Be Your Girl,” and it was song by the one and only, legendary Anita Baker! The album was released in 1979, under the Sony Music Label. Chapter 8 was a disco/soul group from Detroit. Anita joined the group, and recorded one or two albums before she decided to go on her solo career. I don’t think the group is active anymore, the last record release I was able to find was in 1988. This was indeed a blast from the past!!



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Ahhhhh! I just had to post this one today. The group DeBarge has made major contributions to R&B & pop music. The group consisted of all siblings, lead singer El, James, Randy, Bunny, Marty, Chico, & Bobby (who died). El had a beautiful and distinctive falsetto. Not sure how many DeBarge fans know this, but before there was a DeBarge, two DeBarge siblings were in a group called Switch. There sound was so much I like, I always used to mistake their music for DeBarge. How sad that I haven’t heard anyone (not even radio) play any of DeBarge music since the past 20 years. If there was ever a group I wanted to comeback all alive and well, it would be DeBarge. The songs “I Like It,” and “All This Love,” released on their 1982 album called “All This Love,” has got to be my two all time DeBarge favorites. BTW, I still remember their amazing Motown25 performance in 1983.



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Unfortunately, I can’t say that I particularly liked this album. However, I do like one song called “I Can’t See You When I Want To (Alternative).” The album was released in 1970, under Concord Music label. Now, I should point out that there are two versions of this song on the same album. It is my opinion that the “alternative” version is a lot more appealing, and more soulful. Unfortunately the song only hit #29 on the R&B charts. Financially the song wasn’t a flop, but wasn’t a chart breaker either. However, this song represents true R&B. David Porter was often confused with the late David Prater of the sensational singing duo, Sam & Dave. What made them so confusing was that, not only did Porter and Prater look alike, Porter has written a few of their songs. One of those songs that hit really big was a song called “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby,” which peaked at #2 in 1967. As I skimmed through Mr. Porter’s career, it seems as though he was only able to write hit songs for other people, but not himself. Which was a shame, cause I felt he was actually a talented singer.



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