A great R&B song digs deep into your soul and makes you FEEL the emotions of the lyrics. Rhythm and Blues still exists in name but it’s not like the “old days”. You don’t get that timeless feel nowadays with hip hop beats, overused love song lyrics, and melodies that don’t resonate like they used to do. Here’s four songs that you know you loved back in the day and they’ll still pull on your heartstrings. All four songs I chose are by artists that had so much potential but brief musical careers.
“NOBODY KNOWS” TONY RICH PROJECT
I’ll never understand how Tony Rich didn’t become a superstar? This is one of the greatest songs of all-time!! These lyrics will break your heart, Tony’s smooth R&B voice connected with everyone that year. His song was nominated for multiple Grammy Awards but ran into Eric Clapton’s “Change The World” written by Babyface. Ironically Tony Rich was signed to Babyface’s label who was churning out hit after hit for Boyz II Men, TLC, and Toni Braxton. I’m so shocked they didn’t promote Tony more. His career has since switched from singing to songwriting.
“SHAKE YOU DOWN” GREGORY ABBOTT
This was THE smooth R&B jam of 1986. Gregory was soon asked to sign a duet with another new artist, Whitney Houston. These were the two Arista acts ready to take over the music industry. Gregory’s second single, “I Got The Feeling (it’s over)” couldn’t have been more prophetic. He went from a #1 single to a song that didn’t crack the Top 40. Arista went in a different direction and Jermaine Jackson got the Whitney duet. He’s gone on to release eight unremarkable CD’s since 1986 but nothing memorable since his amazing #1 smash.
“TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO” TEVIN CAMPBELL
Quincy Jones’ 12 year old protege, Tevin Campbell, was highlighted on Quincy’s Back On The Block CD. Then Prince produced Tevin’s smash, “Round & Round”. Tevin followed it up by starring as “Little T” on Will Smith’s show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. So here’s Tevin with the backing of Quincy Jones, Prince, and Will Smith, three of the most dominant acts in music at the time and he’s ready for his debut CD! You’d expect big things to follow. But the material on each CD was a little weaker than the previous and his career crashed after three CD’s. The music industry is so fickle.
“A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS” TAVARES
In 1974, Tavares released a cover of Hall & Oates, “She’s Gone” that R&B stations jumped on. Then came disco and Tavares hit it big with two iconic #1 hits, “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel” and “It Only Takes A Minute, Girl”. The band was chosen to sing on the biggest disco event of all-time, John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever where their version of “More Than A Woman” kept up the momentum. But Tavares was an R&B group not a disco act. They got typecast and linked in with the other fad bands who’s career were so linked to disco. Their next record flopped and their moment in the spotlight faded as quickly as it exploded. Here’s a song from 1982 when they were a “whatever happened to” band.