Saturday, November 19, 2016

"Sail Away" by The Temptations

Song#:  1855
Date:  04/07/1984
Debut:  85
Peak:  54
Weeks:  8
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  The Temptations had been having a rough time of it for a while. Since 1977, they had only been able to score one R&B Top 10, 1982's #6 "Standing on the Top, Pt. 1" that featured Rick James, and their last Pop Top 40 entry was in 1975. In addition, tensions in the group had people coming and going, which prevented a steady line-up. After a successful performance on the Motown 25 special and a popular concert captured on video, the time seemed right for a return. They set out to record the album Back to Basics, which was mostly co-written and produced by Norman Whitfield, the man who ushered the Temps through their biggest hits in the late 60s/early 70s. Whitfield hadn't worked with the group since 1973, so the prospect of teaming up once again seemed like a great idea. The LP's first single, "Miss Busy Body (Get Your Body Busy)" was pretty much a non-starter stalling at #67 R&B. However, this second single gave them a little glimmer of hope by getting to #13 at R&B, #17 AC, and almost over the halfway point at Pop. It wasn't a smash hit, but it was their best showing since 1980.

ReduxReview:  It's just too dang easy to call this single breezy especially since the opening contains ocean sounds, yet that word does a good job describing the song. The relaxing tune has an older R&B vibe that is expertly guided by the Temps' background vocals. It was a good fit for AC, but it was probably a bit too laid back and subtle for Pop. It's a lovely song that I could easily hear in the background while sipping margaritas by the beach.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This single featured lead vocals by Ron Tyson. Tyson had recently joined the group after member Glenn Leonard, who had joined them in 1975, was fired. Dennis Edwards, who sang the lead on many of the Temptations hits, had rejoined the group in 1980 after being gone for three years. He sang lead on the "Miss Busy Body" single along with other songs on the album, but he would be dropped from the band for a second time following the album's release and replaced by Ali-Ollie Woodson. Woodson would assume many of the lead vocal duties, but like a lot of Temptation members, he also got fired from the band. He would only be gone for two years before rejoining them.


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