All About Love

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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Do you remember this awesome classic from The Stylistics? The song is called “Hurry Up This Way Again,” distributed by Philadelphia International Records. Now the song only peaked at #11 on the R&B charts, but it still did very well. It’s a very sweet and romantic song about a guy who loves a woman so much, that he’s willing to drop everything just to make time to see her. We certainly don’t hear classics like this anymore. Great song to put on for those classic get-together(s).

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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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Wow!!! Look what I’ve digged up tonight! This classic totally escaped my mind. I only loved three songs from Boz Scaggs entire career (Boz Scaggs, what a name, somebody must have been pissy drunk). “Look What You’ve done To Me,” is such a beautiful and short love song, yet, there’s something about the way he sang this song that made it sound so damn sad. LOL. Well, sad sounding or not, this song hit #3 on the Billboard charts, and stayed relevant for about 16 weeks. I remember hearing this almost every morning on the radio when I woke up.

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I absolutely love Billy Ocean’s music. These days, I wonder exactly how many people even remember him. Billy Ocean is one of the very few Caribbean musicians, where it seems all of his music was intentionally customized and marketed to the American audience. Now, I spoke about this before, very few artist from the Caribbean (in my opinion) can musically cross over to American genres and sound good (that is if the band isn’t naturally drawn to that said genre). Just in case… Please don’t confuse my statement to mean the same as “reinterpretations, or redo’s,” those are not the same. Reinterpreting an American song, is not the same when a producer tries to change your natural inclination for YOUR own music. However, I feel Billy Ocean is one of the very few exceptions to that rule. Not only does the music that was produced worked for him, he has the perfect voice to go along with it. With hits like “Suddenly,” which happens to be one of my very favorite ballads from Mr. Ocean, hit #4 on the Hot 100 Charts. Beautifully sung.

If I am correct, Mr Ocean is now 68 years old. Remembering when I first heard his music from his self titled album “Billy Ocean (1976),” I am stunned as to how different he looks now. I guess maybe because he really hasn’t had a huge hit since around the end of 1980s, I only remembered him as far as his last hit. I believe Billy’s last huge hit was in 1988, with a song called “Get Outta My Dreams, Get into My Car.” “Get Outta My…..” was number one in the U.S., and it stayed number one for 2 consecutive weeks. The song continued to stay relevant on the charts for about 20 more weeks.

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How many of you classic music fans knew that, in 1959, the legendary late Dinah Washington recorded the unforgettable song, “Unforgettable?” This is why I love blogging;  because sometimes while researching, we come across interesting things we never knew! The song was written by Irving Gordon in 1951. The song peaked at #17 and stayed on the charts for about 13 weeks. I really love Dinah’s version of the song, although she sang almost every song as if she was on a Broadway stage. But that’s not a bad thing.

Now the interesting part of this is, originally Nat King Cole recorded Unforgettable in 1951, the song hit #12 on the billboard. Dinah’s recording did very well, she was only 5 positions shy of Nat’s, yet I don’t recall ever hearing Dinah sing this song on the radio. Now granted, it’s impossible to remember everything, but at the same time, this is considered a “song standard.”

In 1991, through the magic of audio technology Natalie Cole was able to sing with her late father again. Natalie paid a touching tribute to her father by recording “Unforgettable.” In 1992, she gave a stunning performance on the Grammy awards, with coordinated video of her late father. It was beautifully done. Surprisingly, her reinterpretation of the song didn’t do as well on the charts as I thought it would have. However, interesting enough, in terms of album sales, the album “Unforgettable: With Love” hit #1. I have a feeling the reason the song didn’t do well had to do with the fact, the song was a personal tribute (in comparison to her other work).

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I’ve always been a fan of Phil Collins from the beginning; and that includes when he started with the group “Genesis.” Phil joined Genesis from early to mid 70s, so, the man has been around for a long, long time! This phenomenal Englishmen, is both a talented music performer and an actor. He started out as a master drummer and lead singer of Genesis; his music has been used on many TV shows and movies such as “CSI NY,” and “Despicable Me 3” just to name a few. Even after leaving Genesis and going solo, he continued to bust out some amazing songs that became hits in both the UK and in the US. One of my many favorite works from him is a song called “Take Me Home,” first released in the UK on 1985; then in the US in 1986. under Atlantic Records. This was a very popular song that reached #2 on the American Hot Contemporary Charts, but in the UK it reached only #19 (which wasn’t exactly bad either).

Another very very favorite song of mine he did, was a song called “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now),” which was the theme song to the movie “Against All Odds (1984),” starring Rachel Ward and Jeff Bridges. Now, I have to be honest, I don’t remember a whole lot of the movie, but Phil’s performance of this song without a doubt was jaw dropping in my opinion. Such powerful lyrics, together with Phil’s heartfelt performance, it almost makes you want to shed a tear. Unfortunately this historic tune is wiped away from the memories of many. In the U.S., Norway, Ireland, and Canada, the song reached #1. UK it reached #2, everywhere else was in the range between #4 & #10. So this was a hugely successful single. I dare to say it was more popular than the movie itself.

Ok, last one I’m going to share. I absolutely cannot end this article without talking about this song. Phil did a duet with Earth, Wind and Fire’s Phillip Bailey, called “Easy Lover (1985).” This song was a song made perfect for them! Two awesome performers coming together to give us perfection. It is a fun & danceable song; and you know what? That’s right!! You’ve guessed it! It also became another hit, in the #2 position on the Top 100 Chart, and stayed relevant for 23 weeks! So, there you have it! Amazing artists, and three amazing songs to start your Monday morning.

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Not only was James Ingram handsome as hell back in the day, he was a very telented singer. James is best known for singing love ballads (although he’s made a lot of pop music back in the day), and many of his ballads became huge hits! One of them is called “I Don’t Have The Heart,” from the “It’s Real” album, under Warner Brothers Label. This is a very different, yet, interesting kind of love song. The average love song talks about how much one loves the other; while this particular song focuses on calming the fears of the person he loves. I can’t accurately find which chart category the song was number one (it had to have been “Top 100 Charts”), but I found this article showing that it was on a “Top Five.”

Another huge favorite of mine, is a song called “Just Once,” released in 1981. I believe it was all written and produced by Quincy Jones. This was a single release, I don’t think there was ever an album. However, it was promoted as Quincy Jones, featuring James Ingram. The song reached #7 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. It stayed relevant for twenty weeks.

Unfortunately, as talented as James Ingram is, he’s only had about 4 number ones throughout his career. And I think that “Baby Come To Me,” a duet with Patti Austin, was his most notable and memorable accomplishment. It was released in 1982, and hit number one on both Top 100 and Adult Contemporary Chart. The song was so popular, for a short time, it became the theme song to a soap opera called “General Hospital” in the mid eighties.

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