"Roll With It" - Steve Winwood
from the album Roll With It (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (four weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 14
Today's song of the day comes from British rock musician Steve Winwood, who had followed up his huge pop breakthrough album Back In The Highlife with a compilation, Chronicles, which sent a remixed version of his older minor pop hit "Valerie" into the top ten in the winter of 1987. The following year, Winwood issued his fifth solo album Roll With It. With a more organic and soulful feel in the production as opposed to the synth-dominated sheen of his last few records, the title track was issued as the first single. Sounding like a Disney-fied version of New Orleans rollin' soul like Dr. John and the Meters, the single would end up the biggest hit of 1988. Written by Winwood and Will Jennings, the Motown songwriting trio of Holland-Dozier-Holland were eventually given credit to avoid a lawsuit over the track's similarities to the Jr. Walker single "I'm A Roadrunner"...
"Roll With It" spent a month atop the American pop chart in July and August of 1988. The single also hit the summit of Billboard's Mainstream Rock list for four weeks, while topping the Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart for two weeks as well. The single even reached #30 on the R&B chart (his only hit there), while the extended version reached #21 on the Dance Club Play chart (his biggest hit on this countdown). Internationally, the song climbed to #1 in Canada, #8 in Australia, #11 in New Zealand, #26 in the Netherlands, and #13 in his native Britain. The following year, the song was nominated for the Record of the Year and Pop Male Vocal Performance Grammy Awards (losing both criminally to Bobby McFerrin's earworm "Don't Worry, Be Happy").
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Here's Steve performing the song live in 1988...
Up tomorrow: A hard rock band gets bruised up.