Monday, September 24, 2018

"Sidewalk Talk" by Jellybean

Song#:  2537
Date:  11/16/1985
Debut:  80
Peak:  18
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Dance-Pop

Pop Bits:  John "Jellybean" Benitez was an up-n-coming DJ/remixer in New York whose career got a significant boost after meeting a singer at a club. Her name was Madonna and it wasn't long before she and Jellybean were in a relationship. It happened at a time when Madonna was starting to get her solo career going. Jellybean would remix songs from Madonna's debut album and would produce her first Pop chart hit, the #16 "Holiday." With his name and work getting attention via Madonna's successful debut album, Jellybean decided to do a project of his own. As Madonna was beginning to prep her second LP, Jellybean asked her to write a song for his project. She dug up an idea she had initially though of for her first album, finished it off and gave it to Jellybean. The song was "Sidewalk Talk" and he got it recorded for an EP titled Wotupski!?! In addition to writing the song, Madonna provided some of the vocals. The tune was issued out as a single and it got to #1 on the Dance chart. It also did fairly well at Pop getting into the Top 20 while going to #51 at R&B. Unfortunately, Jellybean and Madonna only stayed together a couple of years. She would become a worldwide superstar while he would be an in-demand remixer/producer that would grab nine of his own Dance Top 10's including three #1's.

ReduxReview:  There was no mistake that this was a Madonna track. It definitely sounded like an outtake from her debut album, especially with her voice prominent in the chorus. It's a good track, but when it comes down to it, this became popular after folks figured out the Madonna connection. If she didn't write and sing on this track, it probably would have been tagged as a Madonna rip-off and ignored. Even today it is associated with Madonna. I mentioned the song a bit ago with friends and one person spoke up and said "oh, that's an old Madonna song, right?" I supposed that's not bad, but it does make me feel that Jellybean wasn't shy about using his Madonna connection to boost his own career. I can't blame him though. I probably would have too. Yet in the end, this tune became a forgotten relic in Madonna's history and no one speaks of Jellybean anymore. Apparently he works for SiriusXM and produces a Studio 54 show/channel.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song was not Jellybean's first charting song. Just prior to this hit, another song of his, "The Mexican," became a popular club track and it ended up becoming his first #1 at Dance. The song was actually a remake of one originally recorded by the UK rock band Babe Ruth. Written by band member Alan Shacklock, it was recorded for the band's 1972 debut album First Base. The song also used portions of Ennio Morricone's score from the film For a Few Dollars More, so Morricone received a songwriting credit. While it wasn't issue as a single, it did evade obscurity to become an influential track in hip-hop music. It was sung by Jenny Haan, who Jellybean tapped to do the vocals on his version.  2) The lead vocal credit on this song was given to Catharine Buchanan. Buchanan does the verse/rap section while Madonna takes over on the chorus. Despite being prominently featured on the hit, it seems that Buchanan couldn't parlay it into her own career. She moved to London a bit later and did get to do one single in Europe for Arista titled "Love Is," but nothing came from it. Apparently, she did continue to work in music for a while and was also a florist. Unfortunately, she passed away in 2002.


No comments:

Post a Comment