Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Somebody Else's Guy" by Jocelyn Brown

Song#:  1941
Date:  06/16/1984
Debut:  89
Peak:  75
Weeks:  10
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  By all rights, Jocelyn Brown should have been a major star. Her voice took six song to #1 on the Dance chart, she sang on several other disco classics, and she supported some of the greatest stars in music. Yet, despite her impressive résumé, Brown was never fully able to transition to a solo star. Her career began to take off when she supplied the vocals on two #1 Dance hits for the studio project Musique, most famously on the salacious song "In the Bush" (#1 Dance, #58 Pop, #29 R&B). After that, she circled through a series of studio assembled groups like Inner Life, Change (with Luther Vandross), and Chic. There were hits along the way, but she remained just the lead voice for these studio sessions and not a lot of credit was given to her. However, her reputation and experience finally led to a single of her own. The song "Somebody Else's Guy," co-written by Brown and her sister, was recorded and released as her first solo single on the Vinyl Dreams label. The tune caught on and it soon reached #2 at R&B and #13 Dance. She got some crossover action and the single spent a nice chunk of time floating around the bottom quarter of the Pop chart. The hit prompted Vinyl Dreams to quickly assemble an album. It mainly consisted of this song, the minor R&B/Dance entry "I Wish You Would," and a few other recordings that she had previously fronted for other projects. The hit helped her get a contract with Warner Bros. and her first single for them, "Love's Gonna Get You," became a #1 Dance smash (#38 R&B). Unfortunately, the associated album got delayed by a couple of years and once released it failed to deliver any significant mainstream hits. Warner dropped her and that pretty much halted her solo career. She would return to studio work heading up more #1 Dance hits for other artists in addition to sing background for many major music acts.

ReduxReview:  Brown has a fantastic voice and when she is matched with the right material, it's pretty awesome. But even with a voice like hers, it's hard to overcome average material and I think ultimately that is what doomed her solo career. This song, of course, is an exception. With it's jazzy chords, horn punches, and groovy feel, it was a good vehicle for her. Plus, it showed that she was a capable songwriter. It really should have done better at Pop, but at least folks at R&B had enough sense to make it a hit. Sadly, delays and lack of good material killed the momentum built up by this song and her solo career never fully took flight. However, she's had a prolific career and that amazing voice kept her gainfully employed for decades.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Although her name may not be familiar to a lot of folks, a large swath of the population has most likely heard her sing. In fact, it was just four words. Brown's 1985 #1 Dance hit "Love's Gonna Get You" featured her singing the line "I've got the power." In 1990, the German group Snap! lifted a sample of Brown's vocal from that single and used it to great effect on their song "The Power." That tune would be a worldwide hit and in the US would reach #1 Dance, #1 R&B, and #2 Pop.


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