Saturday, July 28, 2018

"The Oak Tree" by Morris Day

Song#:  2478
Date:  09/28/1985
Debut:  84
Peak:  65
Weeks:  12
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Although Morris Day was the face and voice of The Time, Prince was still in control behind the scenes in production and writing. Following the band's third successful album, 1984's Ice Cream Castle, Day had a bit of a falling out with Prince and decided to strike out on his own. The band's guitarist Jesse Johnson also decided to depart and soon The Time were no more. Day was now able to do his own thing and he signed on with Warner Bros. for his debut solo album Color of Success. This first single was issued out and it took off at R&B getting to #3. It also did well at Dance reaching #14, but the song stalled on the Pop chart before it could even get halfway up. Still, the album sold well and it got to #7 R&B and #37 Pop.

ReduxReview:  Even though he broke up with Prince, Day wasn't going to abandon the Minneapolis sound that made him famous. He channeled his co-write with Prince, "The Bird," and came up with this new dance-oriented song. Day was always a bit of a character and he played it to good effect in the Purple Rain movie and with "The Bird," but he kind of stepped over the kooky line with this one. I'm not sure why he would do another dance track on the heels of "The Bird," which had been a hit a few months prior. I would have thought he'd want to break away a bit from Prince/Time sound and establish his own identity, but instead he basically just exaggerated what he had been doing and it didn't really work. The whole thing was a bit too goofy and bordered on novelty. If that was what he was going for, then he succeeded. I just wasn't buying into it.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) Although this song would be the only single from the album to reach the Pop chart, two other tracks did make it on the R&B chart. "The Color of Success" would do well getting to #15 while the tune "The Character" would make it to #34.  2) So how did Prince feel about Day's solo outing? It might be summed up with a musical comment from Prince that happened when he joined Sheila E. for a performance of "A Love Bizarre" at a San Fransisco stop that was being filmed for home video release. At one point during the 10+ minute performance, Prince asked a backing vocalist about the name of a new dance going around. The guy responded "Oak Tree." Prince asked him, "how does it go?" and then the vocalists all kind of do a goofy version of the dance. Then Prince said "Oak Tree? We gonna chop down this Oak Tree and make a wooden leg out of it." He and the band then "chopped" it down with some musical blasts. So it seems Prince wasn't a big fan. However, they made up somewhere along the way as Day and the reformed Time starred in Prince's 1990 film Graffiti Bridge.  3) How did a song and dance get named after a tree? Apparently, Day got the inspiration from watching himself dance in a performance video. At one point in the show he starts doing some odd moves. Day then commented that he looked like an oak tree. Soon after, a new dance was born.


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