Monday, August 22, 2016

Songoftheday 8/22/16 - Oh don't get so excited when I come home a little late at night, 'cause we only act like children when we argue fuss and fight...


"If You Don't Know Me By Now" - Simply Red
from the album A New Flame (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's song of the day comes from the British pop/soul band Simply Red, who had big success in America with their debut album and #1 hit "Holding Back The Years", but had a little less with their sophomore effort, though it still got them a top-40 pop hit with "The Right Thing" in the spring of 1987. (Another track from the album, "Maybe Someday", hit #28 on the American Adult Contemporary radio chart). Nevertheless, the set did respectably internationally, with three top-40 hits in their native UK. Their sound was evolving into more of a soulful direction away from new wave, and that continued with their third release A New Flame in 1989. The first single was the seductively-paced "It's Only Love", which bridged both sophisti-pop and quiet storm in its production, and while it reached the top-40 on the R&B (#21) and adult-contemporary (#19) charts, it stalled in the lower half of the American pop Hot 100 at #57. However that all changed with the follow-up, which was a remake of one of the biggest soul ballads of the 70s.

"If You Don't Know Me By Now", written by label heads and R&B legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, was originally meant for the group LaBelle, but instead it was recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes for their first full-length album in the summer of 1972. The resulting single was that act's first top-40 pop hit, going to #3 and topping the R&B chart as well...


The Simply Red cover doesn't stray far from the feel of the original, though Mick Hucknall goes more for vocal acrobatics than emotional heft...


Simply Red's take on "If You Don't Know Me By Now" became the band's second and final #1 pop hit in America in July of 1989. The single also topped the Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks. Internationally, the song was their second to hit #2 in their home country, while reaching #1 in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and scoring a top ten hit in Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Norway, and Sweden.

Gamble and Huff also won a Grammy for R&B song in 1990 courtesy of the remake. A third single from the set in the U.S., "You've Got It", managed to place at #7 on the Adult Contemporary radio chart, though it missed the pop Hot 100.


Here's the band performing the song live in 1990...


Many other artists have covered the classic ballad, and some have also had success. In 1975, James Brown protege' Lyn Collins had a minor R&B hit at #82...


Jean Carn also hit the soul chart with a version, which peaked at #49 in 1982...


After passing up the song back in 1972, Patti Labelle included it on her live album in 1986 and went to #86 on the R&B chart with it...


Country singer Joe Stampley released his cover the same year as Simply Red, and made it to #59 on that genre's chart...


In 2009, Ciara interpolated the chorus for her single "Never Ever", which landed at #9 R&B/#66 pop in the US...


The following year, when the first The Voice show premiered in Holland, rough and tough tattooist  turned singer Ben Saunders won the first season, and his cover of this song went to #1 in the Netherlands in 2010...


Lastly, we return to Mick and Simply Red live in 2009...


Up tomorrow: A rather dangerous soft-rock song returns to the chart for another evening.


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