Rick James + "Friend" (Smokey Robinson) - "Ebony Eyes"
from the album Cold Blooded (1983)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #43
This week's "Robbed Hit" is by the late funk master Rick James, who scored his fourth top-40 pop hit in 1983 with the title track to his seventh album Cold Blooded. After a second single "U Bring The Freak Out" that went top-20 on the R&B chart but missed the Hot 100, Rick released the most -Rick James song in his career. "Ebony Eyes", originally credited to James and "Friend" featured Motown monarch Smokey Robinson, and the ballad was accompanied by Rick's most over-the-top music video ever, an eight minute extravaganza that doesn't even start the music until almost three minutes in....
"Ebony Eyes", which reminds me more than a little like Heatwave's "Always And Forever", proved that Rick can carry a dramatic ballad, and reached the top-40 on the soul chart, while stalling just under the top-40 on the pop chart. It was also a minor hit in England, peaking at #96.
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In 2001, R&B vocal group Silk covered "Ebony Eyes"...