Tuesday, August 9, 2016

"If Only You Knew" by Patti LaBelle

Song#:  1743
Date:  01/07/1983
Debut:  90
Peak:  46
Weeks:  13
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The vocal group LaBelle came to an end in 1976, two years after they topped the Pop and R&B charts with their classic "Lady Marmalade." Solo careers were sought and Patti LaBelle signed on with Epic Records. But after four albums with very little results, she made a move over to Philadelphia International. Her first LP for the label, The Spirit's in It, tanked, but her second effort, I'm in Love Again, finally got her a significant hit when this first single reached #1 on the R&B chart. It drove the album to #4 at R&B and eventually it became her first solo LP to go gold. The song came close to breaking into the Pop Top 40, but it fell just short.

ReduxReview:  Patti LaBelle is just phenomenal. I saw her in concert and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. She is an amazing performer and her voice is stunning. The only drawback I've found with her is choice of material. With her skills, she should have had a lot more hits than she did. Obviously she did well enough to become a superstar, but she deserved better songs and more chart action. This song is very pretty, but frankly, if it wasn't for her vocals, this tune would be flat as a pancake. Her voice is the attraction here and she sells this mediocre song to the best of her abilities. She took something bland and added a lot of flavor. This happened with a lot of her material and it's too bad. If she had songs that came up to her level, then she might have had a chart career that truly reflected her diva status.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Although LaBelle's solo album The Spirit's in It wasn't a hit, it did contain a recording of a song that has become a signature tune for her. Back in 1966 Patti LaBelle & the Bluebells issued their debut album titled Over the Rainbow. The title track, a remake of the Judy Garland classic, was issued as a single and reached #20 on the R&B chart. Patti LaBelle continued to sing the song in concert even after going solo and it was always a big moment in her show. She recorded a solo version for the Spirit's album and although it would appear as a b-side on one of her singles, the song has remained quite popular. Her rendition is always a highlight and folks who see her expect to hear it right alongside her biggest hits.


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