Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Oh Sheila" by Ready for the World

#1 Alert!
Song#:  2412
Date:  08/03/1985
Debut:  85
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  Hailing from Flint, Michigan, this band gathered up some solid local attention via a song they recorded called "Tonight." The success of the single around the Detroit area got the attention of MCA Records who promptly signed the band. As the band was readying their self-titled debut album, a couple of singles were issued out. Both "Tonight" and "Deep Inside Your Love" would hit #6 at R&B, but neither would get on the Pop chart. That would change when this third single was released. The song took hold of the airwaves and soon it reached #1 at R&B, Pop, and Dance. The hit would help send the album to #3 R&B and #17 Pop. Eventually it would become a platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  Now c'mon. Prince couldn't get this close to imitating a Prince song! I remember hearing this on the radio for the first time and was confused. It sounded so close to a Prince song and it threw me off because I knew this was not on his then current Around the World in a Day album. Was it some one-off single? But then again, there was something a little off about the tune that made me thing it wasn't Prince. Indeed it was not. It was a band from Flint and the song was a total knock off of Prince's sound.We all should have been incensed at the near-rip off imitation, yet the song was so hooky and irresistible that any ire towards the band quickly subsided. I certainly gave in. I loved this track. The arrangement and production were terrific and it was perfectly mixed. It sounded so damn good on my home stereo and even in the car. I still get a kick out of this song when I hear it.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After the band first recorded a demo tape that included the song "Tonight," they took it directly to a popular DJ in Detroit to get his feedback. The Electrifying Mojo (aka Charles Johnson) was a progressive DJ for Detroit's urban station WJLB. He loved what the band did and began spinning their tracks. He also hooked them up with some folks and that eventually led to a contract with RCA.  2) In sections of "Oh Sheila," lead singer Melvin Riley speaks in some sort of accent. The reason for his unusual vocal choice has never really been clear. While some folks consider it a bad faux-British accent, others think it is supposed to be Australian. This is due to the use of "Sheila" in the song, which in Australia is a slang term for a woman. Hence, the use of an Australian accent. Whatever the reason, Riley once said in an interview that some people thought the band was British because of the accent - that is until they saw the video for the song.


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