Monday, March 27, 2017

"Loverboy" by Karen Kamon

Song#:  1990
Date:  07/28/1984
Debut:  88
Peak:  88
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Karen Ichiuji, aka Karen Kamon, got her start in music when the singer attracted the attention of star producer Phil Ramone (Billy Joel, Paul Simon). Their meeting got her started as a backup singer for a few top acts and the pair also became involved (and eventually married in 1984). In 1983, the pair worked together for the first time on a song called "Manhunt." That tune ended up on the hit soundtrack to the film Flashdance. That song plus another one the pair did for the soundtrack to D.C. Cab ("Squeeze Play") got Kamon signed to CBS Records. With Ramone producing, work began on her debut solo album titled Heart of You. This first single was released to promote the LP, but it couldn't get any traction and ended up a blip on the Pop chart for a couple of weeks. The lack of a substantial hit killed her deal with CBS. She was picked up by Atlantic in 1987 and recorded a second album for their subsidiary label ATCO. It too failed to get attention and it brought to an end her solo days. She continued to work as a vocalist supporting several artists including an appearance on the soundtrack to Elton John's 1999 Broadway musical Aida.

ReduxReview:  I loved "Manhunt" from the Flashdance soundtrack. It was a killer rock/dance track and Kamon sounded great. So when this song came up in the queue I was rather excited to hear it. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to the expectations set up by "Manhunt." The piano part sounded like something lifted from Ramone's main client Billy Joel and the rest of the tune was a bit lackluster with a lot of doo-doo-doo's giving it a retro rock feel. It's not a bad tune, but considering the standard Kamon set with "Manhunt," it's a disappointment. Even worse was her follow-up single - a remake of "Da Doo Ron Ron" that did nothing for her or the classic tune.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Back in 1979, the superstar duo The Carpenters were on a bit of a break. Richard went into rehab for spell and that left Karen by herself. She decided to do a solo album while awaiting Richard's recovery. It was suggested that Phil Ramone would be a great producer for her and everything was set in motion. Karen flew to New York and began work with Ramone along with his girlfriend Karen Kamon (soon to be Karen Ichiuji-Ramone). The two Karens struck up a friendship thanks to the project and the fact that Carpenter stayed with the couple during the New York sessions. The album would be finished in January of 1980. The songs selected for the album were a bit different than the normal Carpenters fare in both style and content, which is want Ramone and Carpenter set out to do. Thrilled with the results, Karen excitedly presented her album to A&M (and her brother). Unfortunately, it was met with a thud and in the end it got shelved. Carpenter remained friends with Ichiuji and Ramone and had even talked with them two days prior to her death in 1983. In the conversation, they had talked about the solo album and how good they felt it was. The album remained unreleased until 1996.


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