Friday, June 17, 2016

"Magnetic" by Earth, Wind & Fire

Song#:  1691
Date:  11/12/1983
Debut:  85
Peak:  57
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  EWF's previous album Powerlight was another gold album for them, thanks to the #17 Pop/#4 R&B hit "Fall in Love with Me." Despite that success, it signaled a dip in popularity and they hoped their next album, Electric Universe, would turn things around. This first single was issued and it was able to just make the R&B Top 10 at #10, but it failed at Pop not even getting into the top half of the chart. The bad news continued when the follow-up single "Touch" could only get to #23 at R&B while missing the Pop chart completely. With the lack of a solid crossover hit, the album stalled at #40 Pop (#8 R&B) becoming their worst showing on the chart since 1972. It also became their first since then to miss going gold.

ReduxReview:  Written by Martin Page, who had another song on the chart at the time with "Invisible Hands" by Kim Carnes, this tune definitely leans more towards synthpop/rock than EWF's usual R&B/funk sound. It's an interesting recording, but I don't think it fits the band very well. I like robotic nature of the song with its chilly staccato feel, but then the band tries to inject some soul into it with the vocals (especially near the end) and it just doesn't work. It's an interesting experiment, but ultimately one that really wasn't gonna go anywhere.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  EWF's founder, producer, and main songwriter Maurice White was a session drummer for the famed Chess label in the 60s. His work led to a spot in the Ramsey Lewis Trio, a jazz/funk/pop outfit headed up by pianist Ramsey Lewis. Just prior to White joining the group, the trio had their biggest hit in 1965 with "The 'In' Crowd," an instrumental remake of an earlier hit by Dobie Grey (#13 Pop/#11 R&B, 1964). The song would reach #5 at Pop and make Lewis and his trio stars. The recording would also net them a Grammy. But after the hit, there was a change in personnel and White was hired to take over on drums in 1966. He remained with the trio until 1969 when he went off to form his own group that would eventually evolve into EWF.


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