Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The Philadelphia Signature Sound during the 1980s Pt 5

                                                Featuring female solo artist

The gold album "My Melody
In the early 1980s Deniece Williams co-produced a brilliant and soulful solo album with the legendary Thom Bell (one of the key music architects of the Sound of Philadelphia ) entitled “My Melody”. The album finally received gold certification from the RIAA on 13th October 2000, having been released on CBS Records in 1980. The album was a Top Twenty success and charted to number thirteen on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Albums Chart.

"Lonely Disco Dancer" performed by
 Dee Dee Bridgewater
During the same period Thom Bell was also producing the great Jazz diva Dee Dee Bridgewater with her self-titled solo album “Dee Dee Bridgewater” on Elektra Records (1980). The most  memorable track from the album is “Lonely Disco Dancer”, a dynamic mid-tempo dance recording with lush string arrangements conducted by the late Don Renaldo. It was a very popular track at both parties and discos in the UK during the early 1980s. The album was similar in style to Deniece William’s album “My Melody” .
"Easy Money" performed
Dee Dee Sharp Gamble

Another female artist who had success on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Number One Singles Chart was Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, with her last Philadelphia International Records album “Dee Dee” (1980) released both domestically in North America and internationally via CBS Records. The number one dance single was “Break and Entering/Easy Money” week-ending 28th March 1981 (4 weeks). 

Both Dee Dee Bridgewater and Deniece Williams used the same studio musicians who worked with Thom Bell on many Philly classic hit recordings during the 1970s. 

                                   Researched and compiled by               
                                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   
                                   ©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline2013-2015 

The Philadelphia Signature Sound during the 1980s Pt 4

                                                 Featuring female solo artist

The album featuring the hit single
"Baby,Be Mine"
Another female artist who achieved success with the “Philadephia Soul sound” of the 1980s was  Miki Howard, who was once signed to Atlantic Records. Her first top five hit single on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&;B Singles Chart was “Baby, Be Mine”, which reached number five , was also produced by Nick Martinelli. It features on her second studio album “Love Confessions”. She also recorded “That’s What Love Is” as a duet with the late Gerald Levert, which peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&;B Singles Chart. It was produced by the then up-and-coming production team of Gerald Levert and Marc Gordon who used Sigma Sound Studios as their key recording base and also used both new and old musicians who were instrumental  to development of “The Sound of Philadephia” during its golden era during the 1970s.

"Love Under New Management"
according to Miss Howard
The next monster track was a brilliant Philly classic entitled “Love Under New Management”. The song reached its peak at number two on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Singles Chart week-ending 24th March 1990 (2 weeks). The track was taken from her self-titled second studio album released in the month of November in1989.
During the same period when both Stephanie Mills and Miki Howard were at top of their game and ruling the top of the chart. Two other female artists, neither originally from Philadelphia, enjoyed tremendous sucesses with both albums and singles partially recorded at Sigma Sound Studios with the help of producers,sound engineers and studio musicians  who resided in Philadelphia during the 1980s.

                                           Researched and compiled by               
                                          Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   

Saturday, 30 May 2015

The Philadelphia Signature Soul Sound during the 1980s Pt 3


                                       Featuring female solo artist

All  the tracks and albums featured in these series of articles were recorded at the world famous recording studio; Sigma Sound Studios and the short lived recording studio Alpha International Recording Studios both based in the city of Philadelphia during the 1980s with some singles reaching Top five and number one in the 1990 due to the time of it release by respective recording labels.
Mills' platinum certified album.

Before Stephanie had successful run of hits at the Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia during the 1980s. She  had three brilliant gold certified albums recorded during the late 1970s into the early 1980s that were recorded at the Sigma Sound Studios in New York City. All the albums were  produced by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas. The three albums were “What Cha’ Gonna Do with My Lovin’” (1979), “Sweet Sensation” (1980), and “Stephanie” (1981).

Her final gold certified album.
Stephanie Mills is the only black female artist to have actually achieved gold certified albums successes between the two studios She was one of a number of established female artists not originally from Philadelphia to record several brilliant tracks at Sigma Sound Studios. The number one track was produced by the late Ron Kersey (studio musician and member MFSB Band) on Stephanie Mills’ self -titled album released on MCA Records in 1986.  The track "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love" which charted at number-one week-ending 3rd May 1986 (2 weeks) on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Singles Chart. It was Mills’ to first number one single. 

The following year she reached number-one with a beautiful Soul ballad; “Feeling Good All Over” This track was produced by other producer originally from Philadelphia by the name of Nick Martinelli The song peaked at the top of the summit of the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Singles Chart week-ending 4th July 1987(3 weeks). The single was taken from her first platinum certified album “If I Were Your Woman”. The album was well-received by critics and became a commercial success, peaking at number thirty on the Billboard Hot 200 Albums Chart and also reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Albums Chart week-ending 5th September 1987 (1 week). Staphanie Mills had her finally number one single from her gold certified album “Home” which features Philadelphia record producer Nick Martinelli as the main producer on the project.The single was simpily titled “Home”. It peaked at number one week-ending 25th November 1989 (1 week).

                                         Researched and compiled by               
                                          Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Key Significant Benchmarks in the African American Black Music industry Pt 10

              Johnnie Taylor and The Manhattans

The gold certified album containing
the platinum single "Disco Lady
Did you know that Johnnie Taylor and The Manhattans were the first recording acts in America to receive platinum certifications for their hit singles. Both singles were also number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart. Johnnie Taylor’s single “Disco Lady” became the certified-platinum single in history of the music industry, selling more than two million copies in America. It was number one week-ending 13th March 1976 (6 weeks) on the Billboard Hot Soul and R&B Singles Chart. This was the first recording for CBS Records Black music division to obtain this great benchmark achievement. 

The gold album featuring the  platinum single
 "Kiss and Say Goodbye"
This was later followed up by The Manhattans’ hit single “Kiss and Say Goodbye” which peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singled Chart week-ending 22nd May 1976 (1 week). The song also peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart week-ending 24th July 1976 (2 weeks). Before the single receive the acquired a platinum certification for sales in excess of two copies, it had already sold over one million copies in the black market across America. 

The group received the accolade in August 1976.The single was also the first platinum certification to be recorded at the Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia with the legendary Bobby Martin who was the main arranger at PIR (Philadelphia International Records) during its golden era, known as “The Sound of Philadelphia”. The album became a major success in the UK receiving  two silver certifications by BPI for the singles “Kiss and Say Goodbye” and “Hurt”, with each single selling in excess of quarter of million copies in 1976.

                                           Researched and compiled by                                                          
                                          Mr K  Tomlin Music Historian                  

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Philadelphia Signature Soul Sound during the 1980s Pt 2

Two Female artists who dominated the American Billboard R&B Singles Chart for the entire month of August 1986 with singles produced and recorded in the city of Philadelphia, at different recording studios were Shirley Jones and Jean Carne.
Both artists shared the number one position for two weeks, beginning with Jean Carne taking a run at the top of the Billboard Soul and R&B Singles Chart week-ending
  2nd August 1986 ( 2 weeks) with “Closer than Closer” Omni 99531. Which was produced by the late Grover Washington, Jr. Also Jean was once signed to Philadelphia International Records during the 1970s to the early 1980s.
Shirley Jones achieved the top position on 16th August 1986. Co-Produced by Kenny Gamble and Bunny Sigler. The single “Do You Get enough Love” Philadelphia International Records 50034, was the second single for Philadelphia International Records to have achieved one during the 1980s, with Patti LaBelle’s single been the first in 1984 for “If Only You Knew”, Philadelphia International Records 04248, 28th January 1984 (4 weeks). The single was extracted “I’m In Love Again” album, been the last gold certified album to be distributed CBS Records for label.

      Researched and compiled by 
                   Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   

Saturday, 28 February 2015

The Philadelphia Signature Soul Sound during the 1980s Pt 1

                                                Featuring female solo artist

By the 1980s, “The Sound of Philadelphia” was no longer the dominating musical force in the music industry, but it still managed to record outstanding tracks of high quality and impact. The sound was eventually overtaken by the “Minneapolis Signature Sound” according to Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis who were responsible for Janet Jackson major success and other artists.

Image result for Deniece Williams
The album containing the hit single.
During 1980s several Philadelphia based record producers managed to produce bona fide classic hits as early as 1982, starting with Deniece Williams hit single “It’s Gonna Take a Miracle” which peaked at number-one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart week-ending 15th May 1982 (2 weeks) .Both the single and the entire album "Niecy" was produced by the legendary Thom Bell ( one of the key music architect of Philadelphia Sound) and supported by many of the musicians who worked at the famous Sigma Sound Studios during the golden era of the “Philadelphia Soul Sound”. 

Image result for patti labelle albums
The gold certified album "I'm In Love Again"
The following single to make 
 it to the number-one position on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart was a song recorded by Patti LaBelle entitled “If Only You Knew”. The single was produced and co-written by Dexter Wansel with Cynthia Biggs and Kenny Gamble. The song was extracted from Patti LaBelle’s first gold album of her career. The album “I’m In Love Again” was the last Top 40 album on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart listing for Philadelphia International Records and the first for Patti LaBelle. The single “If Only You Knew” peaked at number-one week-ending 28th January 1984 (4 weeks). Also Patti LaBelle was the first female solo artist on the world famous record label to have a gold album and a number-one single on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart. 

                                          Researched and compiled by                                                         
                                          Mr K Tomlin Music Historian                   

About Me

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Old Harlow, Essex, United Kingdom
Kevin Tomlin has over 34 years of teaching experience in Jamaica, England and America, including 15 years teaching music history of black origin and visual art in South Florida, U.S.A., through Arts in Education. Tomlin created special training programmes and workshops for music teachers in South Florida schools, using music history as the foundation, to build exciting programmes of study and support materials for education professionals. Since 2000, he’s taught music history, geography, religious education, history, visual arts and performing arts at schools in Hertfordshire and Essex, at both primary and secondary levels. He conducts research and provides consultancy services for multi-media organisations, schools, recording artists, cultural and faith-based groups and entertainment professionals.

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Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis


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