Friday, December 7, 2018

"I Need You" by Maurice White

Song#:  2611
Date:  02/08/1986
Debut:  95
Peak:  95
Weeks:  1
Genre:  R&B, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  The Earth, Wind & Fire founder grabbed a #6 R&B (#11 AC, #50 Pop) hit with "Stand By Me," the first single from his debut solo album. For a follow-up, this next track was selected. Although it was not as big of a hit, it did fairly well getting to #20 AC and #30 R&B. The action on those charts let the song crossover to Pop, but only for one very short week. A third single, "Lady Is Love," was pretty much a non-starter only making it to #89 at R&B. The album would be White's only solo effort. After a three-year hiatus, White would revive Earth, Wind & Fire and continue with them up until his death in 2016 from Parkinson's disease.

ReduxReview:  Many artists who found fame as part of a group have recorded solo projects. More often than not, the solo efforts don't necessarily work out. Not everyone can be a Lionel Richie or Sting. Even Mick Jagger's solo work has been less than stellar. Although Earth, Wind & Fire were a superstar outfit, White didn't have the same name recognition as those folks, so it was going to take something pretty great to make people pay attention. His solo debut album had tons of big names involved and he worked with top-notch, of-the-moment writers like Diane Warren and Martin Page. However, it all didn't gel into something that was going to make him a solo star. Perhaps that wasn't his goal, but for me I expected something better than what ended up on his album, which includes this tune. It's just a mediocre song that could have made its way to any AC/R&B crossover artists' album. In other words, there is nothing special about it. White does excellent vocal work and tries to sell the song, but I just find it all a bit bland an unmemorable. White did far better work with other artists and with his own EWF.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  When White began in music, he started out as a drummer playing with various artists on the Chicago club scene. In the 60s, he began doing session work at the famous Chess Records studios. He ended up playing on records by such famous artists as Etta James and Chuck Berry. His drumming can also be heard on several hits including "Rescue Me" by Fontella Bass (1965, #1 R&B/#4 Pop) and "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" by Jackie Wilson (1967, #1 R&B/#6 Pop). Of course White would put his drumming to good use after he founded Earth, Wind & Fire, but he later became more known for vocal, songwriting, and production work.


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