Saturday, December 1, 2018

"Tender Love" by Force M.D.'s

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2605
Date:  02/01/1986
Debut:  84
Peak:  10
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B, Quiet Storm, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This Staten Island vocal group got their start singing on street corners in NYC. Their doo-wop style mixed with a bit of hip-hop was something new and different that ended up catching the attention of Tommy Boy Records. They signed with the label and the same year issued out a debut album titled Love Letters. The LP's second single, "Tears," found its way to #5 on the R&B chart. The hit set them up well for their next album Chillin'. The first single from the album would be this ballad that was also featured on the soundtrack to the film Krush Groove. As the song was on its way to a #4 peak at R&B, it began to crossover to Pop where it became the group's only major hit reaching the Top 10. It did even better at AC making it to #2.

ReduxReview:  Right off the bat, this song had a unique sound that stood out. It would end up being a signature style that served as the basis for further Jam and Lewis hits to come such as Human League's "Human." It was so distinct that whenever I heard anything remotely similar, I figured it was a Jam/Lewis tune. This song is just beautiful and perfectly produced with that simple, yet lovely piano riff. The vocal work is excellent as well. This was unlike anything the group had recorded and it made a huge impression. I think because of that they had a difficult time maintaining their crossover success. They should have done more with Jam and Lewis, but by the time they were ready to do their third album, the pair were already deep in demand with other artists. Still, this is certainly a classic of the era and it was fortunate that this song came their way.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song was written and produced by the team of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. The pair already had some success on the R&B chart but they had yet to secure a big crossover hit. This track would be their first to reach the Pop Top 10. It would start a remarkable run of hits for the team that would continue in '86 via their work with Janet Jackson. Over the years, the pair would amass 41 Pop Top 10 hits. Sixteen of them would reach #1 making them the most successful songwriting and production team in chart history.


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