"Word Up" - Cameo
from the album Word Up (1986)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14
Today's Song of the Day comes from the funk band Cameo, who started out in the 70s as the New York City Players, before changing their name and releasing their debut album in 1977. Their first hit from the set, "Rigor Mortis", reached the top-40 on the R&B chart, sounding like a late entry in the jam-funk streak set from the Ohio Players and B.T. Express. A year later, their third top-40 soul single "It's Serious" crossed over to the clubs and hit #29 on the dance chart. In 1979, the band hit their stride as they scored their first big R&B single with "I Just Want To Be", one of two top-10 hits from their Secret Omen album. Having consistent success on those charts, they got their first taste of success on the pop side of things as their first #1 R&B hit "She's Strange" crossed over to the Hot 100, nearly missing the top-40.
After two years and seeing their lineup pared down to a core of three led by singer/multi-instrumentalist Larry Blackmon, the act released their twelfth studio album Word Up! in 1986. With a tight seven songs in the set, it was louder, brasher, and more "thumpier" (is that a word?) than they've ever been. The title track, written by Blackmon with backup singer/member Tomi Jenkins, brought the (synth?) brass to the front, and a slinking bass that would not let your mind go...
"Word Up!" climbed all the way into the top-10 on the American pop chart in November of 1986. The record also ended up topping the R&B (three weeks) and Dance (one week) charts in Billboard magazine as well. Internationally, the record was a huge success, one of the biggest American funk records in Europe, reaching the top-10 in the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, even down in Australia.
(Click below to see the rest of the post)