Wednesday, December 12, 2018

"I Like You" by Phyllis Nelson

Song#:  2616
Date:  02/08/1986
Debut:  84
Peak:  61
Weeks:  11
Genre:  Dance, R&B, Synthpop, Hi-NRG

Pop Bits:  This Florida native originally started off as a member of a family group. She then branched out and began to provide background vocals for various R&B artists. In the mid-70s, Nelson moved into the disco/dance market with the vocal trio Brown Sugar. Signed to Capitol Records, they issued a couple of singles in 1976 that went nowhere. Nelson then later pursued a solo career and signed with the French label Carrere in 1980. Her first single, "Don't Stop the Train," made it to #20 on the US Dance chart, but follow-up singles failed to do anything. Then after hitting it big in the UK with "Move Closer" (see below), Nelson attempted to get established in the US and pushed out this new single. It became a big success on the US Dance chart getting to #1. However, it just didn't cross over to the other charts as well. Its peaks at Pop (#61) and Dance (#65) were nearly the same. Again, further follow-ups failed to chart. This song remains her only one to reach the Pop and R&B charts in the US. Nelson died of breast cancer in 1998.

ReduxReview:  My one takeaway from this song is that...she likes me. A lot. And she likes everyone else too. A lot. I can hear how this song might have played well in the clubs, but the hi-nrg track just wasn't quite right for the other charts. I think it's just an average song dressed up in charging synths and effects. It's great that it found an audience, but it's nothing that really hooks me. It's actually a shame that "Move Closer" didn't catch on in the US. It's a much better and more interesting song.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Although she was known for being a dance music diva, Nelson was also a songwriter. In 1984 she wrote a ballad titled "Move Closer." Although it was nothing like her previous songs, it ended up getting selected for single release. The song failed to make an impression and it disappeared quickly. Yet in early '85, nearly a year after its initial release, the song started to get airplay in the UK. It picked up speed and a couple of months later the single sat atop the UK chart. In doing so, Nelson became the first black female artist to reach #1 with her own composition. Despite the success in the UK and a few other countries, the song still couldn't break through in the US. She then quickly wrote "I Like You," which did get her on the US charts. The song would only reach #81 in the UK. Later in 1994, the song was featured in a British commercial for a deodorant. The ad generated interested in the song and it was reissued. It got to #34 on the UK chart.  2) Nelson's son Marc would go on to have some success in music, but he could have had an even bigger one. Marc Nelson was an original member and co-founder of Boyz II Men. The vocal group was on their way to being signed to a major label, but after delays and other conflicts within the group, Nelson decided to leave and shoot for a solo career. He signed with Capitol and was able to get a couple of minor singles on the R&B chart. With not much happening with his solo work, Nelson then became part of the vocal group Az Yet. The group would issue out a platinum-selling debut album in 1996 that featured the hits "Last Night" (#1 R&B, #9 Pop) and "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" (#20 R&B, #8 Pop). He would leave the group and head back out on his own. In 1999, he had his only major chart success as a solo artist with the #4 R&B hit "15 Minutes" (#27 Pop). He continued to work in music and also got into acting.


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