Thursday, April 30, 2015

"Put It in a Magazine" by Sonny Charles

Song#:  1243
Date:  11/13/1982
Debut:  90
Peak:  40
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Charles was the lead singer of the Ft. Wayne R&B band Checkmates, Ltd. The group, discovered by jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson, ended up having only one major hit with "Black Pearl" in 1969. The song, produced by Phil Spector, reached #13 on the pop chart and #8 at R&B. Soon after, Charles left the band for an unsuccessful solo career. He would rejoin Checkmates for a few more years before moving back to solo work. He finally succeeded in getting a significant solo hit with this song from his album "The Sun Still Shines."  The song would be a hit at R&B reaching #2 and its popularity lead to a Top 40 showing at pop. A second single, a remake of "Always on My Mind," would reach #53 at R&B, but miss the pop chart. He would be unable to reach either chart again.

ReduxReview:  It's strange what you choose to retain in your memory. I don't remember this song at all but I somehow remember the title and the fact that it peaked at #40. I think that the title was kind of unusual and that stuck with me. However, I guess I wasn't a fan of the song when I first heard it, which is too bad because it's pretty terrific. Charles sounds great singing over a well-produced, smooth groove that reminds me of something George Benson might have done. I need to add this to my 80s playlist pronto.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  In later years, Charles reunited with one of his bandmates, "Sweet Louis" Smith, and toured as Checkmates, Ltd. again. After Smith died in 2007, Charles got a call from Steve Miller. Miller asked Charles to provide vocals on his album "Bingo!" and to go out on tour. Charles did and then continued to tour with Miller until early 2015.


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