Sunday, June 5, 2016

"Joanna" by Kool & the Gang

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  1679
Date:  11/05/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  2
Weeks:  24
Genre:  R&B, Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  After four successful albums co-produced by Eumir Deodato, which spawned several hit singles like their 1980 #1 smash "Celebration," the Gang basically chose to keep it in the family and moved back to producing themselves on their next effort In the Heart. Having become mostly known for their funky dance tunes, it was a bit of a surprise when this romantic ballad was issued as the LP's first single. It slowly caught on and became a major crossover hit reaching #1 at R&B and #2 at both Pop and AC. It was a nice change of pace and listeners rewarded the band with another gold record.

ReduxReview:  This song couldn't have come at a better time for the band. The dance tracks with Deodato were becoming a bit stale and they needed something different to break away from that rut. This single was just perfect for accomplishing that task. I was hooked once that churning groove started. With a beautiful verse, memorable chorus, nice accent horns, and a trombone solo, there was no way this song could miss.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Although the members of the band certainly liked the song, none of them expected it to be the lead single. That changed after a performance at NYC's famed Radio City Music Hall prior to the album's release. When they played this song, the crowd response was highly positive with major reactions coming during the chorus and the horn fills. The band didn't expect getting such feedback from a brand new song and thought it was just a fluke. But performances of the song on following nights proved it wasn't and the band really had no choice but to choose "Joanna" as the first single.


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