Sunday, November 13, 2016

Songoftheday 11/13/16 - Show me how decide what you want from me, tell me may be I could be there for you...

"Back To Life" - Soul II Soul
from the album Club Classics Vol. One (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #4 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 18

Today's song of the day comes from the British R&B collective Soul II Soul, who paved a new way of experiencing dance music with a distinctive and more laid-back tempo, and forged a different path for clubs that continues to this day. Their breakthrough single "Keep On Movin'" peaked right under the pop top ten in the U.S. in the fall of 1989. For the follow-up, they reworked a track on their debut album that originally appeared as an acappella selection. "Back To Life", featuring Caron Wheeler (who also sang lead on "Keep On Movin'"), with the subtitle of "However Do You Want Me", was an even more lush extension on their sound, with strings in the background flowing around the skipping bassline to touch it up with a bit of class. The song, written by leader Jazzie B along with Nellee Hooper, Simon Law, and Wheeler took the minor keys of house music and slowed the beat to a more rockin' side to side measure...


"Back To Life" became the band's first and only top ten hit in America in December of 1989. The song also topped Billboard's R&B chart for a week (their second and last). The 12" remix went to #1 on their Dance Club Play list as well for three weeks. Internationally, the single was their sole chart-topper in their native Britain, as it did in the Netherlands, and made the top ten in Switzerland (#2), Sweden (#3), Germany (#4), Belgium (#4), New Zealand (#4), and Ireland. It just missed that mark in Canada (#11), while in Australia it surprisingly stalled down at #45. In 1990, the group won the Grammy Award for best R&B group/duo performance with the song.

The third single from the set in America, "Jazzie's Groove", missed the pop chart, but did a respectable top-10 placing on the R&B (#6) and Dance (#3) charts. With Wheeler leaving for a solo career, they closed out the decade with a single which would be the lead track from their second album Volume Two: A New Decade. "Get A Life", which featured Marcia Lewis on vocals, did well in the UK, peaking at #3, but stalled down at #54 on the pop chart in America (it made the top ten on the R&B and dance lists again, though). The next, "A Dreams a Dream", beared a resemblance to "Back To Life", but again stopped short at #85 on the US Hot 100, while going to #3 on the dance chart (and #6 in the UK). A third single, "People", also hit #3 on the dance chart.

1992 saw the band reuniting with Wheeler for a couple of the tracks on their third album, but it was Jamaican singer Richie Stephens that took lead vocals on the single "Joy", which was their most recent top ten British hit at #4, and got to #14 on the American R&B list. They would have a string of moderate hits throughout the decade in the UK, with their fifth album giving them their most recent U.S. club hit with "Love Enuff" (featuring Snap!'s Penny Ford) (#35) in 1995. Two years later, their Time To Change album spawned their two latest British hits with "Represent" (#39) and "Pleasure Dome" (#51). Meanwhile, Wheeler went to #1 on the American dance chart in 1990 with "Livin' In The Light". Soul II Soul split by the end of the 90s as a recording unit, but they did reunite in 2007 and have been touring off and on since.

(Click below to see the rest of the post)


Here's the 12" remix that topped the Dance chart in America in August/September of 1989...


George Michael interpolated the song for the "Back To Reality" remix to his hit single "Freedom '90", which went to #16 on the U.S. dance chart...


and back to Soul II Soul live in 2014...


Finally, a stint from this year on BBC's Live Lounge...


Up tomorrow: Vegas pop/dance singer gets some rays.




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