Thursday, December 7, 2017

"Back in Stride" by Maze featuring Frankie Beverly

Song#:  2245
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  95
Peak:  88
Weeks:  6
Genre:  Soul, R&B

Pop Bits:  Maze had certainly been on a roll since their debut album in 1977. Each of their five studio albums had reached the R&B Top 10 and all five were certified gold sellers. The LP's were helped along by several chart singles, including five R&B Top 10's. However, they had yet to reach #1 on either chart. That changed when this first single from their album Can't Stop the Love made it to the top spot on the R&B chart. It's success helped the album also reach #1. It seemed that the single would help break them wider to the mainstream pop audience, yet once again like their previous charting entries at Pop, the song just circled the bottom of the chart for a few weeks. It would also be their last one to reach the chart. However, that didn't deter their continued popularity at R&B. Their next album would also get to #1 and they would grab a second #1 R&B single in 1989 with "Can't Get Over You." Their last studio album would arrive in 1993 and after that the band stopped recording and stuck to being a highly successful touring act.

ReduxReview:  For the 80s, Maze might have been a little too ol' school soul to attract a pop audience. They just needed one hot crossover tune to break them through, but it never happened. Yet despite that, they had a loyal following that turned each of their studio albums into gold, which was quite an accomplishment. I think since Frankie Beverly did all the songwriting and producing, it was his show and if wasn't broke, he wasn't gonna fix it. Everything worked out fine for them, but I think they missed out on expanding their audience by not collaborating with another producer and/or songwriter. This track was another solid effort from the band. I think Beverly tried to introduce some more modern production on it, which certainly helped the song, but it's still sound like 70s soul (which is not a bad thing).

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The second single from the album was "Too Many Games" and it got the band their seventh Top R&B top 10 when it reached #5. Over the previous few years, the band had been gaining a significant following in the UK. This song would be their best charting effort there when it got to #36. However, despite the lack of hit singles there, their music and reputation as a top live act allowed the band to sell out shows in the UK including a highly successful eight-night run at the famous London venue Hammersmith Odeon.


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