Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Sleepwalk" by Larry Carlton

Song#:  0931
Date:  02/27/1982
Debut:  87
Peak:  74
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Smooth Jazz

Pop Bits:  Carlton was one of the most prolific session guitarists of the 70s and 80s performing on hundreds of tracks by major artists from Joni Mitchell to Michael Jackson. Along the way he got signed to Warner Bros. for a solo deal and released albums for them and other labels over the years. His solo peak began with his credited guest spot on Mike Post's "The Theme from Hill Street Blues," which hit #10 late the previous year. Carlton then issued his LP "Sleepwalk" and this title track single lead the way. It would be his only solo chart song and it helped make the album his highest peaking reaching #99. Carlton's work on the "Hill Street" single would garner him a Grammy award and over the years he would receive three more.

ReduxReview:  Carlton is a brilliant musician, but I don't think this is his finest moment. The production is so dated and it's lazy, sleepy approach almost did make me fall asleep. The original (see below) was a dreamy old tune with a different style of guitar work. It's a late-50s classic. Carlton's too-smooth take could have been used in an ad for Sominex...or actually in place of taking it. Yaaawwwnn....

ReduxRating:  3/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song is a remake of the original by Santo & Johnny. The Farina brothers, who co-wrote the song with sister Ann, took the song to #1 in 1959. It has been covered by many artists, but Carlton is the only other to reach the chart with the song. Brian Setzer's 1998 version did not chart, but it did win a Grammy award for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.  2) Carlton is sometimes known as Mr. 335, which was the name of his studio in California (Room 335). In 1988, he was a victim of a random crime and shot in the throat just outside of his studio. He recovered and returned to the studio to complete the album he had been recording prior to the shooting.


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