from the album Dreamland (1990)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #8 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12
Today's song of the day comes from the Italian dance act Black Box, which came about in the late 1980's. Daniele Davoli, Mirko Limoni, and Valerio Simplici had recorded music together under various monikers, including Starlight, which reached the top ten in the UK in the summer of 1989 with the house music of "Numero Uno", and then again in the fall of that year as Mixmasters with "Grand Piano", which climbed to the same peak of #9. Both of the records were infectious fugues of scattered samples, with the latter incorporating Loleatta Holloway's "Love Sensation" in it (before Marky Mark would get a hold of it). At the same time of "Starlight", the trio released another track that borrowed (well, stole) from "Love Sensation". "Ride On Time", named for the misheard lyrics in the Holloway club classic, strung the sample from her voice like an instrument throughout the piano-house jam, and while becoming a huge worldwide hit, spending six weeks at #1 on the British singles chart and reaching the top ten in over 11 countries, it barely got noticed in America, where it only snuck up to #39 on our Dance Club Play list. And just like German producer Frank Farian with Milli Vanilli (and many Eurodance acts that didn't get enough exposure to care), they hired on model Katrin Quinol to visually "front" the "band" and lipsynch for her life for the music video. Holloway and songwriter Dan Hartman ended up suing, and while a settlement came out of it, there wasn't a big outcry, most likely since it was at the time deemed a one-off novelty act. (Also, another version was recorded belatedly using future M People singer Heather Small on vocals.)
Capitalizing on the massive international success of "Ride On Time", the trio, under the Black Box moniker, set out to record a proper album which included mostly original music and lyrics, instead of the soup of samples on their previous records. They recruited big-voiced singer Martha Wash of the Weather Girls (of "It's Raining Men" fame) to provide the vocals on the entire set, with the understanding that it was meant for club consumption. But just like her stint with Clivilles and Cole's Seduction and C&C Music Factory, the Italians again used Quinol to lipsynch in the music videos as well as TV appearances. Their next single, "Everybody Everybody", was a classic slice of Italo-house driven by synth-bass and keys (alone with Arsenio Hall's "Owww") that not only set the clubs on fire, but with promotion from big-league label RCA got mainstream radio jamming as well. Although how anybody believed a voice so strong like Wash's could come out of Quinol is beyond me...
"Everybody Everybody" climbed all the way to the top ten on the American pop chart in October of 1990. The single also spent a week at #2 on Billboard's R&B chart, while the remixes on the 12" single sent it to #1 for three weeks on their Dance Club Play list. Internationally, the song surprisingly was their first and only Italian top ten hit at #7, and also reached the top ten in Ireland (#6), and the top-40 in France (#11), New Zealand (#11), the UK (#16), Switzerland (#21), Canada (#28), the Netherlands (#29), Australia (#35), and Belgium (#39), and just missed the mark in Germany (#41).
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