Monday, November 07, 2016

Robbed hit of the week 11/7/16 - Vesta's "Congratulations"...

"Congratulations" - Vesta (Williams)
from the album Vesta 4 U (1988)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #55

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the late R&B singer Vesta Williams, who had sang with various acts (including her sisters) and as a back-up vocalist before landing her own solo recording deal in the mid-80s. Her debut album Vesta was a success on R&B radio, sending four singles to the chart, including the uptempo smooth post-disco of "Once Bitten Twice Shy" (not the Great White song, natch), which not only hit #9 on that list in 1986, but was a decent hit overseas, peaking at #14, in the UK. Also, three of the album's tracks made it to Billboard's Dance Club Play chart, with "Don't Blow A Good Thing" her biggest at #5. Two years later, losing her surname from her billing, Vesta released her sophomore effort, Vesta 4 U. The first three singles reached the top-ten on the R&B chart, with the first, "Sweet, Sweet Love" peaking at #4, and new jack swing-style follow-up "4 U" stopping at #9. But it was the third release from the album that would end up being her crossover to pop radio. "Congratulations", written by Williams with producer Tena Clark and Gary Prim, was a heartbreak ballad in the vein of "As We Lay" and "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", with Vesta mourning her love yet bringing herself to confront her old lover who's getting hitched...


"Congratulations" went to #5 on Billboard's R&B chart and was on that list for 26 weeks, and while it was her biggest success on pop radio, the single stopped at #55 on the Hot 100 in October of 1989. A fourth single from the 4 U album, "How You Feel", was a minor R&B hit at #70. She started the 90's with a collaboration with jazz-soul sax man Najee on "I'll Be Good To You", which hit #9 R&B. In 1991, Vesta's third album, Special, was released, and the title track became her highest-charting soul hit at #2. Her last appearance on the R&B singles chart came in 1993 with "Always", which climbed to #44. She continued to record sporadically, and DJ'd radio, but on 2011 she tragically passed away from a heart attack at 53 years old.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's Vesta performing the song live on TV in 1989...


...and lastly, from a show five days before her death in 2011...


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