Saturday, December 9, 2017

"Be Your Man" by Jesse Johnson's Revue

Song#:  2247
Date:  03/16/1985
Debut:  89
Peak:  61
Weeks:  11
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  Johnson began playing guitar in his teens and started playing in bands in the mid-to-late 70s around the northern Illinois area where he was born. With his skills increasing, he was encouraged by a friend to move north to Minneapolis to get involved in the music scene there. He did just that in 1981 and soon after the move he met up with Morris Day and joined Day's band at the time, Enterprise. The pair would then go on to be part of the Prince protege band The Time. That band would have four R&B Top 10 hits and appear in Prince's Purple Rain film before splitting up. Johnson opted for a solo career and signed up with A&M Records. Although credited to Jesse Johnson's Revue, his self-titled debut album was basically a solo effort with Johnson writing and producing all the tracks. This lead-off single was issued ahead of the album and it caught on at R&B getting to #4 while going to #20 at Dance. The tune couldn't catch on as well at Pop, but it did spend nearly three months on the chart.

ReduxReview:  Well, Johnson certainly didn't stray far from the Prince/Time sound he had been working with for the past few years. That's not really surprising, however it just makes the song sound like an imitation instead of something new and original from Johnson. It grooves along just fine, but I just get a been-there-heard-that feeling from it.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Around the same time that Johnson was prepping his solo debut, he also cut a song that would be used in the upcoming film The Breakfast Club. Co-written by Johnson, the track "Heart Too Hot to Hold" would make it into the film and on its associated soundtrack. The song was a duet with singer Stephanie Spruill. Spruill was an in-demand background vocalist who has worked with some of the biggest names in music including Tina Tuner, Luther Vandross, Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, and many other. Clive Davis signed her to Arista Records in the late 70s as part of the duo Saint & Stephanie (the Saint was singer Roger St. Kenerly). They recorded one album that was released in 1979. Unfortunately, the album didn't make an impression and it quickly disappeared. Although it seems that Johnson and Spruill's duet was issued as a single, it didn't get anywhere. Of course it was most likely overshadowed by the big #1 hit from the soundtrack, Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)."


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