Monday, March 13, 2017

"99 1/2" by Carol Lynn Townes

Song#:  1968
Date:  07/07/1984
Debut:  91
Peak:  77
Weeks:  9
Genre:  R&B, Dance, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This singer from North Carolina first got a taste of the music business when she headed up the group Fifth Avenue. They got signed to Buddha Records and issued three singles and a 1976 debut album, but nothing caught fire and the group went their own ways. It would take nearly a decade before Townes found herself in a recording studio. This time, she was solo and recording this song that was to be used in the 1984 film Breakin'. The film was a hit and the soundtrack was doing very well thanks to it's first single, Ollie & Jerry's #9 Pop/#3 R&B/#1 Dance hit "Breakin'...There's No Stopping Us." This tune from Townes became the LPs second single and it was another success at Dance getting to #9.  However, it wasn't quite as successful at R&B (#22) and was relegated to the bottom quarter of the Pop chart. Townes would supply another song for the movie's sequel, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, that would be issued as a single, but it didn't catch fire and peaked fairly low at R&B and Dance while missing the Pop chart completely. However, the singles got Townes a record deal and her debut LP Satisfaction Guaranteed got issued in 1985. It featured her two previous singles, plus a third minor dance entry. She was afforded a follow-up album, but after it failed to do anything, Townes was dropped from the label.

ReduxReview:  Although this song has a great chorus, there just seems to be something missing elsewhere. The verse melody is a bit drawn out and it kind of zaps the energy from the tune. It also could have benefited from a tad more Shannon-esque production, but in general it's a solid jam. It should have done a bit better at R&B and Pop.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of a song originally recorded by the disco/soul trio Alton McClain & Destiny. The song appeared on their third album More of You, which was released in 1980. Although this particular song was not issued solely as a single, it was part of a trio of songs from the album that got airplay in clubs. The collective songs would get to #47 on the Dance chart. The trio recorded for Polydor Records, the same label that issued the Breakin' soundtrack and Townes' solo works. McClain & Destiny did have one previous hit under their belt. Their 1979 song "It Must Be Love" got to #10 at R&B while going to #25 Dance and #32 Pop. The group would split in 1981. McClain would later move into gospel music while the other two member would go on to form the vocal group Krystol. They would have a little success in the mid-80s getting five singles on the R&B chart. Their best effort was 1986's #18 "Passion from a Woman," which was co-written and produced by future American Idol judge Randy Jackson


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