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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

Collection of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes

Harold Melvin was one of the driving forces behind Philadelphia soul, leading his group the Blue Notes to the top of the charts during their stint on Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International label. Despite Melvin's billing out front, the Blue Notes' focal point was lead singer and onetime drummer Teddy Pendergrass, whose surging baritone graced the Blue Notes' recordings during their glory years of 1972-1975 and gave them a truly distinctive sound. Their output ranged from sweeping, extended proto-disco dance tracks to silky, smoldering ballads, all wrapped up in Gamble and Huff's lushly orchestrated production. When Pendergrass left for a solo career, Melvin & the Blue Notes' commercial fortunes largely reverted to the pre-Pendergrass days (of which there were quite a few), although they did continue to record for a time. They never really disbanded, and by the time Melvin passed away in 1997, he'd been leading the Blue Notes for over four decades.

Melvin was born June 25, 1939, in Philadelphia. A self-taught pianist, he began singing doo wop as a teenager with a group called the Charlemagnes, and put together the very first edition of the Blue Notes in 1954. The original lineup was a quintet featuring Melvin as the lead singer (for a time), songwriter, arranger, and choreographer; ironically, he would mostly relinquish those duties by the time the group achieved its greatest success. The other members were co-leader Bernard Williams, Roosevelt Brodie, Jesse Gillis, Jr., and Franklin Peaker. The Blue Notes cut their first single, "If You Love Me," for Josie in 1956, and turned it into a regional hit. They recorded for several other labels over the next few years, Dot chief among them, before scoring their first R&B chart hit in 1960 with "My Hero" (released on Val-Ue). Numerous personnel shifts kept the group in flux despite steady recording activity, and Bernard Williams split off to lead what he dubbed the Original Blue Notes in the mid-'60s. Melvin assembled a new version of the Blue Notes centered around lead singer John Atkins, who returned the group to the R&B charts in 1965 with the Landa single "Get Out (And Let Me Cry)." Further releases on Arctic, Checker, and Uni followed over the rest of the '60s, as well as more personnel changes. During the late '60s, the group toured often with the Cadillacs, whose young drummer Teddy Pendergrass would prove to be Melvin's greatest discovery.

Pendergrass first joined the Blue Notes' backing band, but demonstrated so much vocal talent that after John Atkins left in 1970, Melvin soon elevated him to the post of lead vocalist. This move helped them land a deal with Gamble and Huff's Philadelphia International label in 1972, just as the company was taking its place as soul music's new epicenter; Pendergrass' voice was similar to that of Dells singer Marvin Junior, whom Gamble & Huff had courted heavily. By this time, the Blue Notes consisted of Melvin, Pendergrass, bass vocalist Lawrence Brown, baritone vocalist Bernard Wilson, and tenor vocalist Lloyd Parks. With Gamble & Huff now supplying top-quality material and production, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes would become one of the most popular groups in R&B over the next few years. Their self-titled debut mostly featured songs that had been written in anticipation of landing Marvin Junior. The first single, "I Miss You," was a hit on the R&B charts, but their second was a smash -- the classic ballad "If You Don't Know Me by Now," which featured an anguished, star-making vocal turn from Pendergrass. "If You Don't Know Me by Now" went all the way to number one R&B, and also became their only Top Five hit on the pop side; it was later covered in 1989 for a number one hit by Simply Red.

The Blue Notes scored again in 1973 with the string-laden dance track "The Love I Lost," credited by many observers as one of the first disco records; it was their second R&B chart-topper and Top Ten pop single. The accompanying album, Black & Blue, produced another R&B Top Ten in the follow-up "Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back)." In 1974, Lloyd Parks was replaced by Jerry Cummings, who debuted on the R&B chart-topping LP To Be True. "Where Are All My Friends" and "Bad Luck" continued their string of Top Ten R&B hits, and a new addition to the group, female vocalist Sharon Paige, helped bring them back to the top of the R&B charts in 1975 with the duet "Hope That We Can Be Together Soon." Another excellent album followed later that year in Wake Up Everybody, whose title track was another R&B number one; "Tell the World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby" also reached the R&B Top Ten, and the album cut "Don't Leave Me This Way" was later covered for a disco smash by Thelma Houston.

However, tension was building within the group. The heavily spotlighted Pendergrass was hungry for separate billing, but Melvin, still the group's chief organizing force, turned him down. In 1976, Pendergrass left the Blue Notes for a solo career that quickly made him one of R&B's top sex symbols. Sharon Paige helped fill his shoes on lead vocals, as well as new male lead David Ebo, whose sound was fairly similar to Pendergrass'. However, Pendergrass' departure also signaled the end of the Blue Notes' relationship with Philadelphia International -- their next recordings were for ABC, for whom they hit the R&B Top Ten in 1977 with the title track of Reaching for the World. It would prove to be their last major success, however; after one more album for ABC, they moved to MCA subsidiary Source in 1979 for two LPs that failed to reignite their commercial momentum. Cummings and Wilson had both departed in 1977, replaced by Dwight Johnson and William Spratelly, and Paige and Ebo both left in 1980. Still, Melvin soldiered on, helming one last album of new material for Philly World in 1984's hopefully titled Talk It Up (Tell Everybody). It was mildly popular in the U.K., but not enough to re-establish them. Melvin continued to tour with versions of the Blue Notes steadily into the '90s, and Paige eventually returned to the fold as well. Sadly, Melvin suffered a stroke and never fully recovered; he passed away on March 24, 1997, in his beloved hometown of Philadelphia.

Album: Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (1972)

01. I Miss You
02. Ebony Woman
03. Yesterday I Had The Blues
04. If You Don't Know Me By Now
05. Be For Real
06. Let Me Into Your World
07. Let It Be You

Album: Black & Blue (1973)

01. Cabaret
02. The Love I Lost
03. It All Depends On You
04. Concentrate On Me
05. Satisfaction Guaranted
06. I'm Weak For You
07. I'm Comin' Home Tomorrow

Album: To Be True (1975)

01. Where Are All My Friends
02. To Be True
03. Pretty Flower
04. Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
05. Nobody Could Take Your Place
06. Somewhere Down The Line
07. Bad Luck
08. All Because Of A Woman

Album: Wake Up Everybody (1975)

01. Wake Up Everybody
02. Keep On Lovin' You
03. You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good (with Sharon Paige)
04. Don't Leave Me This Way
05. Tell The World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby
06. To Be Free To Be Who We Are
07. I'm Searching For A Love (with Sharon Paige)
08. Don't Leave Me This Way (A Tom Moulton Mix) (Bonus Track)

Album: Reaching For The World (1976)

01. Reaching For The World
02. Where There's A Will
03. After You Love Me
04. Sandman
05. Hostage Part 1 & 2
06. He Loves You And I Do Too
07. Big Singing Star
08. Stay Together

Album: Now Is The Time (1977)

01. Where's The Concern For The People
02. Baby' You Got My Nose Open
03. Let Take It Over
04. Feel Like Magic
05. Now Is The Time
06. Power Of Love
07. Today, Tomorrow, Forever
08. Try To Live A Day

Album: The Blue Album (1980)

01. Tonight's The Night
02. Prayin'
03. Baby I'm Back
04. I Should Be Your Lover
05. If You're Looking For Somebody To Love
06. Your Love Is Taking Me On A Journey

Album: All Things Happen In Time (1981)

01. Hang On In There
02. I'm In Love With You
03. Tell Me Why
04. If You Love Me, Really Love Me
05. Ain't That Love
06. Have I Told You, I Love You
07. All Things Happen In Time
08. Come Go With Me

Album: Talk It Up (1984)

01. Don't Give Me Up
02. Time Be My Lover
03. Talk It Up (Tell Everybody)
04. I Really Love You
05. Today's Your Lucky Day
06. This Is The Love
07. I Can't Let Go
08. What We Both Need (Is Love)

Album: If You Don't Know Me By Now (1995)

01. Cabaret
02. Love I Lost
03. If You Don't Know Me By Now
04. Don't Leave Me This Way
05. I'm Weak For You
06. Everybody's Talkin'
07. Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
08. Bad Luck
09. Where Are All My Friends
10. Wake Up Everybody
11. Yesterday I Had The Blues
12. Satisfaction Guaranteed (Or Take Your Love Back)
13. I Miss You
14. Tell The World How I Feel About 'Cha Baby
15. Keep On Lovin' You

Album: Blue Notes & Ballads (1998)

01. Pretty Flower
02. It's All Because Of You
03. I'm Weak For You
04. Hope That We Can Be Together Soon
05. You Know How To Make Me Feel So Good
06. To Be True
07. Yesterday I Had The Blues
08. If You Don't Know Me By Now
09. I Miss You
10. Ebony Woman
11. To Be Free To Be Who We Are
12. Let Me In Your World
13. Somewhere Down The Line
14. It All Depends On You


Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Collection of Cameo

An outlandish, in-your-face stage presence, a strange sense of humor, and a hard-driving funk sound that criss-crossed a few musical boundaries earned Cameo countless comparisons to Parliament/Funkadelic in their early days. However, Cameo eventually wore off accusations of being derivative by transcending their influences and outlasting almost every single one of them. Throughout the '70s and '80s, the group remained up with the times and occasionally crept ahead of them, such that they became influences themselves upon younger generations of R&B and hip-hop acts. By the time the group's popularity started to fizzle in the late '80s, a series of R&B chart hits -- ranging from greasy funk workouts to synthesized funk swingers to dripping ballads -- was left in their wake. Further separating Cameo from their forebears, they didn't have a diaper-clad guitarist. Instead, they had a codpiece-wearing lead vocalist.

That vocalist was Larry Blackmon. In 1974, the ex-Juilliard student and New York City club-goer instigated a funk band with a membership of 13 called the New York City Players. Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, and Nathan Leftenant formed the group's nucleus. The Casablanca label signed the group to their Chocolate City offshoot, and shortly after that, the group changed its name to Cameo. Their excellent debut album, 1977's Cardiac Arrest, was highlighted by four singles. Three of those hit the Billboard R&B chart: "Rigor Mortis" (number 33), "Funk Funk" (number 20), and "Post Mortem" (number 70). Although the group was clearly inspired by elder funk groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, and the Ohio Players, Cardiac Arrest made Cameo's case for belonging in the same division an open-and-shut one.

In an attempt to keep the ball rolling, 1978 saw the release of Cameo's second and third albums. Neither We All Know Who We Are nor Ugly Ego were as solid as the debut, but the group's singular characteristics were becoming increasingly evident. The winding, horn-punctuated "It's Serious" (from We All Know Who We Are) narrowly missed the Top 20 of the R&B chart, while "Insane" (from Ugly Ego) dipped just inside it, peaking at number 17. The best halves of these two albums would've made a fine sophomore LP.

1979's Secret Omen, featuring a disco-fied re-visiting of Cardiac Arrest's "Find My Way" and the magnificently funky and slightly loony "I Just Want to Be" (a number-three R&B chart hit), was stacked with fine album cuts and brought Cameo back as a group that excelled in the LP format. "Sparkle" was one of their best ballads, a sinewy number that hit the Top Ten. Five albums released between 1980 and 1983 (Cameosis, Feel Me, Knights of the Sound Table, Alligator Woman, Style) brought about a slight dip in quality on the album front. Despite an abundance of filler on each record, none of those albums were strict disappointments, delivering hot Top 20 R&B singles like "Shake Your Pants," "We're Goin' Out Tonight," "Keep It Hot," "Freaky Dancin'" "Just Be Yourself," "Flirt," and "Style."

One of the most significant ripples in Cameo's time line came during that period, in 1982, when they packed up and set up shop in Atlanta. Pared down to a quintet and located in a less hectic city, the group became bigger fish in a smaller pond. Blackmon even started his own label, Atlanta Artist. The label's first LP, Style, also marked a significant shift in sound, with synthesizers taking on a pronounced role. Paydirt was struck with 1984's She's Strange; the title cut, a late-night slithery smolder, topped the R&B chart and eclipsed the Top 50 of the pop chart, kicking off a remarkable three-album run that made Cameo one of the most popular groups of the '80s. Single Life and Word Up!, released respectively in 1985 and 1986, continued the hot streak. The singles from those two albums -- "Attack Me With Your Love," "Single Life," "Word Up," "Candy," and "Back and Forth" -- held down the Top Five plateau of the R&B chart. "Word Up" even went to number six on the pop chart, giving them their biggest bite of the mainstream. The song was everywhere.

What goes up must come down, and that's exactly what happened to Cameo. Despite the fact that two more singles -- "Skin I'm In" and "I Want It Now" -- scaled up to number five on the R&B chart, neither Machismo nor Real Men Wear Black performed well as albums. After 1991's Emotional Violence, the group's profile was lowered significantly, but they did tour sporadically to the delight of hardcore fans as well as plenty of misguided people who thought Cameo was all about "Word Up" and nothing more. Notably, Blackmon spent a few years of the '90s at Warner Bros., as the vice president of A&R.

Cameo's presence continued to be felt throughout the early 2000s, not only through extensive sample use and less tangible influences upon younger artists and producers. Several retrospectives have kept the group's music alive: Casablanca's 1993 compilation The Best of Cameo is an excellent point of entry. Mercury's 12" Collection & More, released in 1999, covers the group's best dancefloor moments. 2002's spectacular Anthology, a double-disc set also released by Mercury, covers a lot of ground and does the group justice as a total package. Allmusic by Andy Kellman

Album: Cardiac Arrest (1977)

01. Still Feels Good
02. Post Mortem
03. Smile
04. Funk, Funk
05. Find My Way
06. Rigor Mortis
07. Good Times
08. Stay By My Side

Album: We All Know Who We Are (1978)

01. Inflation
02. C On The Funk
03. Why Have I Lost You
04. Stand Up
05. We All Know Who We Are
06. It's Serious
07. It's Over

Album: Ugly Ego (1978)

01. I'll Be With You
02. Insane
03. Give Love A Chance
04. Ugly Ego
05. I Want You
06. Anything You Wanna Do
07. Friend To Me
08. Two Of Us

Album: Secret Omen (1979)

01. Energy
02. I Just Want To Be
03. Find My Way
04. Macho
05. The Rock
06. Sparkle
07. New York

Album: Cameosis (1980)

01. Cameosis
02. Shake Your Pants
03. Please You
04. We'Re Goin' Out Tonight
05. I Care For You
06. On The One
07. Why Have I Lost You

Album: Feel Me (1980)

01. Throw It Down
02. Your Love Takes Me Out
03. Keep It Hot
04. Feel Me
05. Is This The Way
06. Roller Skates
07. Better Days

Album: Knights Of The Sound Table (1981)

01. Knights By Knights
02. Freaky Dancin'
03. I Never Knew
04. Use It Or Lose It
05. The Sound Table
06. Don't Be So Cool
07. I'll Always Stay
08. I Like It

Album: Alligator Woman (1982)

01. Be Yourself
02. Soul Army
03. Flirt
04. Enjoy Your Life
05. Alligator Woman
06. I Owe It All To You
07. For You

Album: Style (1983)

01. Aphrodisiac
02. This Life Is Not For Me
03. You'Re A Winner
04. I Can't Help Falling In Love
05. Serenity [Interlude]
06. Style
07. Cameo's Dance
08. Let's Not Talk Slot
09. Slow Moving
10. Heaven Only Knows

Album: She's Strange(1984)

01. She's Strange
02. Love You Anyway
03. Talkin Out Of The Side Of Your
04. Tribute To Bob Marley
05. Groove With You
06. Hangin' Downtown
07. Lé Ve Toi!

Album: Single Life (1985)

01. Attack Me With Your Love
02. Single Life
03. I'Ve Got Your Image
04. A Good-Bye
05. I'll Never Look For Love
06. Urban Warrior
07. Little Boys - Dangerous Toys

Album: Word Up (1986)

1. Word Up
2. Candy
3. Back And Forth
4. Don't Be Lonely
5. She's Mine
6. Fast, Fierce & Funny
7. You Can Have The World

Album: Machismo (1988)

01. You Make Me Work
02. I Like The World
03. Promiscuous
04. In The Night [Featuring Miles Davis]
05. Skin I'm In
06. Pretty Girls
07. Honey
08. Soul Tightened
09. Dkwig

Album: Real Men... Wear Black (1990)

01. Close Quarters
02. I Want It Now
03. Me
04. Attitude
05. Get Paid
06. Am I Bad Enough
07. Time, Fire & Space
08. Nan-Yea
09. Just A Broken Heart

Album: Emotional Violence (1992)

01. Emotional Violence
02. Money
03. Raw But Tasty
04. Front Street
05. Kid Don't Believe It
06. Another Love
07. Don't Crash
08. Love Yourself
09. Nothing Less Than Love
10. That Kind Of Guy

Album: The Best Of Cameo (1993)

01. Word Up
02. Single Life
03. Candy
04. Shake Your Pants
05. Rigor Mortis
06. Attack Me With Your Love
07. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck
08. Sparkle
09. Back & Forth
10. Flirt
11. She's Strange (12' Rap Version)
12. I Just Want To Be
13. Skin I'm In
14. It's Over

Album: In The Face Of Funk (1994)

01. In the Face of Funk
02. Slyde
03. You Are My Love
04. Desire
05. Don't Say It's Over
06. BSU
07. The Man
08. A Special Love
09. We Can Make It Happen
10. Where

Album: The Best Of Cameo, Vol 2 (1996)

01. Don't Be So Cool
02. I Want It Now
03. In the Night
04. We're Goin' Out Tonight
05. Why Have I Lost You
06. Hangin' Downtown
07. It's Serious
08. Freaky Dancin'
09. Keep It Hot
10. Be Yourself
11. Alligator Woman
12. Insane
13. We All Know Who We Are
14. Feel Me
15. Your Love Takes Me Out

Album: Greatest Hits (1998)

01. Word Up!
02. Single Life
03. Candy
04. She's Strange
05. Attack Me With Your Love
06. Back And Forth
07. You Make Me Work
08. I Just Want To Be
09. Sparkle
10. Skin I'm In
11. Freaky Dancin'
12. Keep It Hot

Album: Hits Collection: The Best Of Cameo (1998)

01. Word Up
02. She's Strange
03. Candy
04. Rigor Mortis
05. Attack Me With Your Love
06. Sparkle
07. She's Mine
08. Be Yourself
09. Freaky Dancing
10. A Good-bye
11. Post Mortem
12. Keep It Hot
13. I Just Want To Be
14. Flirt
15. You Make Me Work
16. Shake Your Pants
17. Single Life
18. Back And Forth

Album: Ballads Collection (1998)

01. Why Have I Lost You (version 1)
02. Sparkle
03. It's Over
04. Feel Me
05. We All Know Who We Are
06. Hangin' Downtown
07. Love You Anyway
08. Don't Be Lonely
09. I Owe It All To You
10. I'll Always Stay
11. I Never Knew
12. Why Have I Lost You (version 2)

Album: 12 inch Collection And More (1999)

01. I Just Want To Be (Original 12 inch Extended Mix)
02. Word Up! (Original 12 inch Club Mix)
03. Shake Your Pants (Original 12 inch Club Mix)
04. She's Strange (Original 12 inch Club Mix)
05. Candy (Original 12 inch UK Mix)
06. Back And Forth (12 inch Larry Blackmon Mix)
07. Single Life (Original 12 inch UK Mix By Larry Blackmon)
08. Attack Me With Your Love (Original 12 inch Club Mix)
09. Rigor Mortis (Original 12 inch Mix)
10. Room 123 (She's Strange) (Original 12 inch Rap Version)

Album: Sexy Sweet Thing (2000)

01. Sexy Sweet Thing
02. Antidote
03. I Wake Up
04. She Wants Some More
05. Time for Love
06. Your Love
07. Same Dream
08. You Make Me Crazy
09. Another Crazy Day
10. Ready for Love
11. Pre Rolled Blunt
12. Special Love
13. Baby It's You

Album: Anthology (2002)


01. Rigor Mortis
02. Post Mortem
03. Funk Funk
04. Find My Way (TGIF version)
05. It's Serious
06. We All Know Who We Are
07. Insane
08. I Just Want To Be (12" version)
09. Sparkle
10. Shake Your Pants
11. We're Goin' Out Tonight
12. Why Have I Lost You (version 2)
13. Keep It Hot
14. Feel Me


01. Freaky Dancin'
02. Don't Be So Cool
03. Just Be Yourself
04. Flirt
05. Alligator Woman/Secrets Of Time
06. Style (single version)
07. She's Strange
08. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck
09. Hangin' Downtown
10. Attack Me With Your Love
11. Single Life
12. Word Up
13. Candy
14. Back & Forth
15. Skin I'm In (single version)
16. I Want It Now (single version)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Whitney Houston

Collection of Whitney Houston

Whitney Houston is inarguably one of the of the biggest female pop stars of all time. Her accomplishments as a hitmaker are extraordinary; just to scratch the surface, she became the first artist ever to have seven consecutive singles hit number one, and her 1993 Dolly Parton cover "I Will Always Love You" became nothing less than the biggest hit single in rock history. Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity; the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson's wake. Like many of the original soul singers, Houston was trained in gospel before moving into secular music; over time, she developed a virtuosic singing style given over to swooping, flashy melodic embellishments. The shadow of Houston's prodigious technique still looms large over nearly every pop diva and smooth urban soul singer -- male or female -- in her wake, and spawned a legion of imitators (despite some critics' complaints about over-singing). Always more of a singles artist, Houston largely shied away from albums during the '90s, releasing the bulk of her most popular material on the soundtracks of films in which she appeared. By the end of the decade, she'd gone several years without a true blockbuster, yet her status as an icon was hardly diminished.

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born in Newark, NJ, on August 9, 1963; her mother was gospel/R&B singer Cissy Houston, and her cousin was Dionne Warwick. By age 11, Houston was performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at her Baptist church; as a teenager, she began accompanying her mother in concert (as well as on the 1978 album Think It Over), and went on to back artists like Lou Rawls and Chaka Khan. Houston also pursued modeling and acting, appearing on the sitcoms Gimme a Break and Silver Spoons. Somewhat bizarrely, Houston's first recording as a featured vocalist was with Bill Laswell's experimental jazz-funk ensemble Material; their 1982 album One Down placed Houston alongside such unlikely avant-gardists as Archie Shepp and Fred Frith. The following year, Arista president Clive Davis heard Houston singing at a nightclub and offered her a record contract. Her first single appearance was a duet with Teddy Pendergrass, "Hold Me," which missed the Top 40 in 1984.

Houston's debut album, Whitney Houston, was released in March 1985. Its first single, "Someone for Me," was a flop, but the second try, "You Give Good Love," became Houston's first hit, topping the R&B charts and hitting number three pop. Houston's next three singles -- the Grammy-winning romantic ballad "Saving All My Love for You," the brightly danceable "How Will I Know," and the inspirational "The Greatest Love of All" -- all topped the pop charts, and a year to the month after its release, Whitney Houston hit number one on the album charts. It eventually sold over 13 million copies, making it the best-selling debut ever by a female artist. Houston cemented her superstar status on her next album, Whitney; despite the unimaginative title, it became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one, and sold over nine million copies. Its first four singles -- "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" (another Grammy winner), "Didn't We Almost Have It All," "So Emotional," and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" -- all hit number one, an amazing, record-setting run of seven straight (broken by "Love Will Save the Day"). In late 1988, Houston scored a Top Five hit with the non-LP single "One Moment in Time," recorded for an Olympics-themed compilation album.

Houston returned with her third album, I'm Your Baby Tonight, in 1990; a more urban-sounding, R&B-oriented record, it immediately spun off two number one hits in the title track and "All the Man That I Need." But the quality of the material was generally viewed as, overall, much weaker than her previous efforts, and following those two hits, sales of the album tapered off quickly, halting around four million copies. Nevertheless, Houston remained so popular that she could even take a recording of "The Star Spangled Banner" (performed at the Super Bowl) into the pop Top 20 -- though, of course, the Gulf War had something to do with that. In retrospect, the erratic quality of I'm Your Baby Tonight seemed to signal Houston's declining interest in making fully fleshed-out albums. Instead, she began to focus on an acting career, which she hadn't pursued since her teenage years; she also married singer Bobby Brown in the summer of 1992. Her first feature film, a romance with Kevin Costner called The Bodyguard, was released in late 1992; it performed well at the box office, helped by an ad campaign which seemingly centered around the climactic key change in Houston's soundtrack recording of the Dolly Parton-penned "I Will Always Love You." In fact, the ad campaign undoubtedly helped "I Will Always Love You" become the biggest single in pop music history. It set new records for sales (nearly five million copies) and weeks at number one (14), although those were later broken by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997" and Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men's "One Sweet Day," respectively. Meanwhile, the soundtrack eventually sold an astounding 16 million copies, and also won a Grammy for Album of the Year.

Once Houston had stopped raking in awards and touring the world, she prepared her next theatrical release, the female ensemble drama Waiting to Exhale. A few months before its release at the end of 1995, it was announced that she and Brown had split up; however, they called off the split just a couple months later, and rumors about their tempestuous relationship filled the tabloids for years to come. Waiting to Exhale was released toward the end of the year, and the first single from the soundtrack, "Exhale (Shoop Shoop)," topped the charts; the album sold over seven million copies. For her next project, Houston decided to return to her gospel roots; the soundtrack to the 1996 film The Preacher's Wife, which naturally featured Houston in the title role, was loaded with traditional and contemporary gospel songs, plus guest appearances by Houston's mother, Shirley Caesar, and the Georgia Mass Choir. Houston also began making headlines for what appeared to be increasing unreliability, cancelling several TV and concert appearances due to illness.

In 1998, Houston finally issued a new full-length album, My Love Is Your Love, her first in eight years. Houston worked with pop/smooth soul mainstays like Babyface and David Foster, but also recruited hip-hop stars like Missy Elliott, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill, and Q-Tip. The album sold even fewer copies than I'm Your Baby Tonight, but it received Houston's most enthusiastic reviews in quite some time. Moreover, it produced one of her biggest R&B chart hits (seven weeks at number one) in the trio number "Heartbreak Hotel," done with Faith Evans and Kelly Price. She also duetted with Mariah Carey on "When You Believe," a song from the animated film The Prince of Egypt. Unfortunately, Houston was also back in the tabloids in early 2000; she was arrested in Hawaii when airline authorities reportedly found marijuana in her luggage (the charges were later dismissed). Speculation about Houston's personal life only grew when she was dropped from the Academy Awards telecast that March, officially because of a sore throat, but reputedly due to poor rehearsals and a generally out-of-it air. Later in the year, Arista released the two-disc compilation Greatest Hits, which actually featured one disc of hits and one of remixes; it also included new duets with Enrique Iglesias, George Michael, and Deborah Cox. It was also announced that Houston had signed a new deal with Arista worth $100 million, requiring six albums from the singer. Her personal issues became even more public through the reality television series Being Bobby Brown, and she eventually divorced her husband and went into intense rehabilitation. An album of new material was initially set for release by the end of 2007, but delays pushed it -- titled I Look to You, featuring collaborations with Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz, R. Kelly, Akon, and Diane Warren -- back to September 2009.

Album: Whitney Houston (1985)

01. You Give Good Love
02. Thinking About You
03. Someone For Me
04. Saving All My Love For You
05. Nobody Loves Me Like You Do
06. How Will I Know
07. All At Once
08. Take Good Care Of My Heart
09. Greatest Love Of All
10. Hold Me

Album: Whitney (1987)

01. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
02. Just The Lonely Talking Again
03. Love Will Save The Day
04. Didn't We Almost Have It All
05. So Emotional
06. Where You Are
07. Love Is A Contact Sport
08. You're Still My Man
09. For The Love Of You
10. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
11. I Know Him So Well

Album: I'm Your Baby Tonight (1990)

01. I'm Your Baby Tonight
02. My Name Is Not Susan
03. All The Man That I Need
04. Lover For Life
05. Anymore
06. Miracle
07. I Belong To You
08. Who Did You Love
09. We Didn't Know
10. After We Make Love
11. I'm Knockin'

Album: The Bodyguard (1992)

01. I Will Always Love You
02. I Have Nothing
03. I'm Every Woman
04. Run To You
05. Queen Of The Night
06. Jesus Loves Me
07. Even If My Heart Would Break
08. Someday(I'm Coming Back)
09. It's Gonna Be A Lovely Day
10. (What's So Funny 'bout)Peace,Love And Understanding
11. Waiting For You
12. Trust In Me
13. Theme From The Bodyguard

Album: The Preacher's Wife (1996)

01. I Believe In You And Me
02. Step By Step
03. Joy
04. Hold On, Help Is On The Way
05. I Got The Rock
06. I Love The Lord
07. Somebody Bigger Than You And I
08. You Were Loved
09. My Heart Is Calling
10. I Believe In You And Me (Single Version)
11. Step By Step (Remix)
12. Who Would Imagine A King
13. He´S All Over Me
14. The Lord Is My Shepard
15. Joy To The World

Album: My Love Is Your Love (1998)

01. It's Not Right But It's Okay
02. Heartbreak Hotel
03. My Love Is Your Love
04. When You Believe
05. If I Told You That
06. In My Business
07. I Learned From The Best
08. Oh Yes
09. Get It Back
10. Until You Come Back
11. I Bow Out
12. You'll Never Stand Alone

Album: Greatest Hits (2000)


01. You Give Good Love
02. Saving All My Love for You
03. Greatest Love of All
04. All at Once
05. If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful
06. Didn't We Almost Have It All
07. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
08. All The Man That I Need
09. Run To You
10. I Have Nothing
11. I Will Always Love You
12. Exhale (Shoop, Shoop)
13. Why Does It Hurt So Bad
14. I Believe In You And Me
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. My Love Is Your Love
17. Same Script, Different Cast
18. Could I Have This Kiss Forever


01. Fine
02. If I Told You That
03. It's Not Right But It's Okay
04. My Love Is Your Love
05. Heartbreak Hotel (Hex Nector Mix)
06. I Learned From The Best (HQ2 Mix)
07. Step By Step (Junour Vasquez Mix)
08. I'm Every Woman (Clivilles & Cole Mix)
09. Queen Of The Night (CJ MacIntosh Mix)
10. I Will Always Love You (Hex Rector Mix)
11. Love Will Save The Day (Jellybean & David Morales Mix)
12. I'm Your Baby Tonight (Dronez Mix)
13. So Emotional (David Morales Mix)
14. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) (Junior Vasquez Mix)
15. How Will I Know (Junior Vasquez Mix)
16. Greatest Love Of All (Juniour Vasquez Mix)
17. One Moment In Time
18. The Star Spangled Banner (Performed Live 12791 at Super Bowl XXV)

Album: Love, Whitney (2001)

01. Until You Come Back
02. I Have Nothing
03. Why Does It Hurt So Bad
04. You Give Good Love
05. All the Man That I Need
06. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
07. Just the Lonely Talking Again
08. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
09. Miracle
10. For the Love of You
11. Saving All My Love for You
12. Run to You
13. I Believe in You and Me
14. Didn't We Almost Have It All
15. All at Once
16. I Will Always Love You

Album: Just Whitney (2002)

01. One Of Those Days
02. Tell Me No
03. Things You Say
04. My Love
05. Love That Man
06. Try It On My Own
07. Dear John Letter
08. Unashamed
09. You Light Up My Life
10. Whatchulookinat
11. Whatchalookinat (P. Diddy Remix)

Album: Artist Collection (2004)

01. Saving All My Love For You
02. Someone For Me
03. You Give Good Love
04. Greatest Love Of All
05. I Wanna Dance With Somebody
06. I Was Made To Love Him
07. Where Are You
08. You're Still My Man
09. For The Love Of You
10. I'm Your Baby Tonight
11. Miracle
12. Whatchalookinat
13. Hold Me
14. Its Not Right But Its Ok

Album: The Ultimate Collection (2007)

01. I Will Always Love You
02. Saving All My Love for You
03. Greatest Love of All
04. One Moment in Time
05. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)
06. How Will I Know
07. So Emotional
08. When You Believe
09. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
10. I'm Your Baby Tonight
11. Didn't We Almost Have it All
12. Run to You
13. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
14. If I Told You That
15. I Have Nothing
16. I'm Every Woman
17. It's Not Right But It's Okay
18. My Love is Your Love

Album: I Look to You (2009)

01. Million Dollar Bill
02. Nothin' But Love
03. Call You Tonight
04. I Look to You
05. Like I Never Left (Feat. Akon)
06. A Song.for You
07. I Didn't Know My Own Strength
08. Worth it
09. For the Lovers
10. I Got You
11. Salute

Album: The Essential Whitney Houston (2011)


01. You Give Good Love
02. Saving All My Love for You
03. Greatest Love of All
04. All at Once
05. If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful
06. Didn't We Almost Have It All
07. Where Do Broken Hearts Go
08. All the Man That I Need
09. Run to You
10. I Have Nothing
11. I Will Always Love You
12. Exhale (Shoop Shoop)
13. Why Does It Hurt So Bad
14. I Believe in You and Me
15. Heartbreak Hotel
16. My Love Is Your Love
17. Same Script, Different Cast
18. Could I Have This Kiss Forever


01. Fine
02. If I Told You That
03. It's Not Right But It's Okay [Thunderpuss Mix]
04. My Love Is Your Love [Jonathan Peters Mix]
05. Heartbreak Hotel [Hex Hector Mix]
06. I Learned from the Best
07. Step by Step [Junior Vasquez Remix]
08. I'm Every Woman [Clivilles & Cole Mix]
09. Queen of the Night [CJ Mackintosh Mix]
10. I Will Always Love You [Hex Hector Mix]
11. Love Will Save the Day [Jellybean & David Morales Mix]
12. I'm Your Baby Tonight [Dronez Mix]
13. So Emotional [David Morales Remix]
14. I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) [Junior Vasquez Remix]
15. How Will I Know [Junior Vasquez Mix]
16. Greatest Love of All [Junior Vasquez Mix]
17. One Moment in Time
18. Star Spangled Banner [Live 1-27-91 at Super Bowl XXV


Dazz Band

Collection of Dazz Band

The Cleveland-based Dazz Band was one of the more popular funk groups of the early '80s. Bobby Harris formed the group in the late '70s, merging two Cleveland funk bands, Bell Telefunk and Mother Braintree. After myriad lineup changes, the end result was an eight-piece band featuring Harris, Skip Martin III, Pierre DeMudd on horns and vocals, guitarist Eric Fearman, bassist Michael Wiley, drummer Isaac Wiley, keyboardist Kevin Frederick, and percussionist Kenny Pettus. Harris and lead songwriter/guitarist Mike Calhoun's concept for the group was "danceable jazz"; he shortened the description to "dazz" and called the group Kinsman Dazz. Under that name, the group had two small hits in the U.S.A. during 1978 and 1979. After Calhoun left they changed their name to the Dazz Band in 1980 and signed to Motown.

Invitation to Love, the band's first release for the record label, was released in 1980. Once the group veered away from the more melodic, pop-oriented dance music that dominated their debut and started playing a tougher, more groove-oriented funk, the Dazz Band began racking up the hits. "Let It Whip," taken from their second album Keep It Live (1982), reached number five and won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by an R&B Vocal Duo or Group. While they never reached those heights again, the Dazz Band had a string of six consecutive Top 100 albums that ran until 1986; during that time, they scored two other Top 100 singles, "Joystick" and "Let It All Blow." In 1985, Fearman and Frederick left the band; they were replaced by Marlon McClain and Keith Harrison, respectively. The Dazz Band switched labels to Geffen in 1986. That year they had their final charting album, Wild and Free. Soon after its release, the band switched to RCA. The group failed to have another hit and quietly faded away. Allmusic by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Album: Invitation to Love (1980)

01. Shake It Up
02. Invitation to Love
03. Magnetized
04. Hello Girl
05. Skate Lovers
06. Carry On
07. Do It Again
08. Sooner Or Later
09. Beyond the Horizon

Album: Let the Music Play (1981)

01. Let the Music Play
02. Freaky Lovin'
03. Knock! Knock!
04. What Will I Do Without You
05. Don't Stop
06. This Time It's Forever
07. Satisfying Love
08. Everday Love
09. I Believe in You

Album: Keep It Live (1982)

01. Let It Whip
02. Gamble With My Love
03. I'll Keep On Loving You
04. Just Can't Wait Till Tonight
05. Shake What You Got
06. Keep It Live (On The K.I.L.)
07. Just Believe In Love
08. Can We Dance
09. Let Me Love You Until

Album: Joystick (1983)

01. To The Roof
02. Joystick
03. Swoop (I'm Yours)
04. Until You
05. Rock With Me
06. Striaght Out Of School
07. Know That I Have You
08. Laughin' At You
09. T Mata (Instrumental)

Album: On The One (1983)

01. Party Right Here
02. Cheek To Cheek
03. On The One For Fun
04. Don't Get Caught In The Middle
05. A Love Song
06. Bad Girl
07. Nice Girls
08. Stay A While With Me
09. We Have More Than Love

Album: Jukebox (1984)

01. Let It All Blow
02. Keep You Comin' Back For More
03. She's The One
04. Heartbeat
05. Dream Girl
06. Undercover Lover
07. I've Been Waiting
08. Main Attraction
09. So Much Love

Album: Hot Spot (1985)

01. If You Only Were In My Shoes
02. Hot Spot
03. Paranoid
04. All The Way
05. S.C.L. & P. (Style, Class, Looks & Personality)
06. She Used To Be My Girl
07. When You Needed Roses
08. Slow Rap

Album: Wild & Free (1986)

01. Wild And Free
02. Body And Mind
03. Time Will Heal A Broken Heart
04. The Best That's Right
05. All I Need
06. L.O.V.E. M.I.A.
07. Hooks In Me
08. Sunglasses
09. It's All Right
10. Something You Said

Album: Greatest Hits (1986)

01. Let It Whip
02. Joystick
03. Invition To Love
04. Party Right Here
05. Swoop (I'm Yours)
06. Keep It Live (On The K.I.L.)
07. Cheek To Cheek
08. Knock! Knock!
09. On The One For Fun
10. Let It All Blow

Album: Rock the Room (1988)

01. Anticipation
02. Single Girls
03. Open Sesame
04. One Time Lover
05. Body Drum
06. Huff and Puff
07. All the Way
08. Rock the Room
09. Once in a Lifetime Love

Album: Funkology (1994)

01. Megamix
02. Nasty Boogie
03. There I Go
04. Ten Toes Up
05. Swoop (I'm Yours)
06. Keep It Live (On The K.I.L.)
07. A Love Song
08. I Might As Well Forget About Loving You
09. Knock! Knock!
10. Heartbeat
11. Let It Whip (Extended 7 Inch Mix)
12. Joystick (Extended 7 Inch Mix)
13. Let It All Blow (Alternate Master Mix Edit)
14. Let The Music Play
15. Catchin' Up On Love
16. When You Need Roses

Album: Under the Streetlights (1996)

01. Tryin' to Get My Groove On
02. Dance With Somebody
03. Under the Streetlights
04. Give Me Just a Little Bit
05. Fly Away
06. Let's Talk About Funk
07. Dazz
08. It's Your Party
09. Love Is a Bitch
10. Nasty Boogie
11. I Like You
12. Ten Toes
13. Dazz Mega Mix

Album: Double Exposure (1997)

01. Double ZZ
02. Swoop
03. Joystick
04. Keep It Live
05. Knock Knock
06. Heartbeat
07. There I Go
08. Let It All Blow
09. Let It Whip
10. Double ZZ Reprise

Album: Here We Go Again (1998)

01. Bop Gun
02. Sho' You Right
03. Girl Got Body
04. Do Poppa Do
05. Downstairs Lounge
06. Ride
07. Summer Swim
08. I Wanna Be With You
09. The Things I'd Do
10 Oh What A Night

Album: Time Traveler (2001)

01. You Are My Starship
02. What's Up in Your World
03. Ain't Nuthin' But a Jam Y'all
04. Love Don't Make No Sense
05. She's My Lady
06. Girl You Got a Body
07. Oh What a Night
08. Do Poppa Do
09. Get Off My Groove
10. Nasty Groove

Album: 20th Century Masters Collection (2001)

01. Let It Whip
02. Keep It Live (On The K.I.L.)
03. Joystick
04. I Might As Well Forget About Loving You
05. Party Right Here
06. To The Roof
07. Swoop (I'm Yours)
08. Invitation To Love
09. Knock! Knock!
10. Let It All Blow
11. On The One For Fun


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