Tuesday, June 5, 2018

"Dancin' in the Key of Life" by Steve Arrington

Song#:  2425
Date:  08/17/1985
Debut:  77
Peak:  68
Weeks:  6
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  In the mid-70s, this drummer/percussionist from Ohio was in San Francisco honing his skills playing gigs with members of the famous Escovedo family (Coke, Pete, and Sheila E.). He went back to Ohio in 1978 and joined up with the funk/R&B band Slave, who had just had a #1 R&B hit with their single "Slide." He started out doing backing vocals and playing drums, but he quickly took over the lead vocal position. The band grabbed three R&B Top 10's before Arrington decided leave and form his own band called Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame. After two successful R&B albums, Arrington then decided to go solo. His first effort was titled Dancin' in the Key of Life and it's first single was "Feel So Real," which was a Dance hit (#5) and a Top 20 entry at R&B (#17). It didn't make the Pop chart, but this second title-track single did. While the song didn't get very far at Pop, it would prove to be his biggest solo hit at both Dance (#2) and R&B (#8). After two more albums that produced tepid results, Arrington decided to leave the music business behind in 1991 to get involved with his church. He would return to music in 2009 with the album Pure Thang.

ReduxReview:  This song has a steady, repetitive groove that keeps things moving along just fine, but in the end the tune doesn't go anywhere. No matter where you drop the needle on this track, it is pretty much gonna sound the same. Arrington offers up some vocal ad libs near the end that spruce things up, but by that time my interest in the song had already waned. It's not a bad song at all. There just wasn't anything here that made me wanna hit the repeat button.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  A track from Steve Arrington's Hall of Fame's 1983 debut album would be later used in a Grammy nominated track. Rap artist Jermaine Dupri used a sample from Arrington's "Weak at the Knees" to help form the beat of his 1998 track "Money Ain't a Thang." The song was a collaboration between Dupri and Jay-Z. It first appeared on Dupri's album Life in the 1472. It would be the second single released from the album and it would reach #10 at R&B and #28 Rap. The track would later grab a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group.



  1. 7/10 for me. While, yes it's repetitive, I still really like it. Also, a bit off topic, but ever heard of the San Francisco based Avant-garde foursome The Residents at all? If not, they're REALLY bizarre, and the band members have never revealed their true identities. They all wear giant eyeball masks.

    1. Yes. A couple of folks I work with like the band. They are just a tad too out-there for me.