Thursday, May 9, 2019

"Rumors" by Timex Social Club

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  2763
Date:  06/14/1986
Debut:  81
Peak:  8
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  This four-man Berkeley, California, group was initially formed by Marcus Thompson in 1985 as the Timex Crew. After a couple of personnel changes, the name was changed to the Timex Social Club and the quartet began to work on songs with lead singer Michael Marshall writing or co-writing the bulk of the tunes. They got hooked up with producer Jay King and began recording tracks. This debut single was pushed out and it was able to reach #1 at both R&B and Dance. The attention on those charts led to the song crossing over to the Pop chart. It steadily climbed until it reached the Top 10. The unexpected hit brought along some complications for the group and they wouldn't be able to issue out further singles or their debut album, Vicious Rumors, until later in '86. The delay didn't allow the band to fully capitalize on the momentum they built up with "Rumors." Their two other singles from the album both got to #15 at R&B, but failed at Pop. The album would be a modest seller reaching #35 R&B while also missing at Pop. More music business issues would dog the group and it wasn't long before they dissolved leaving them a one-hit wonder on the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This one was bound to be a hit. It's got a great groove, fun lyrics with a message, and a hooky chorus. Plus the cartoon-enhanced video was cool with the adorable Michael Marshall lip syncing his lead vocal. It's still a solid blast from the past that I enjoy hearing. It's a shame they got caught in the whirlwind of the music business as they had potential. Their second single, "Mixed-Up World," was a worthy (if lesser) follow-up that might have done better if it came on the heels of this tune, but the delay after such a strong hit and behind-the-scenes problems really kind of wrecked things for them. Luckily we can still groove to this juicy tidbit from the era.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  There are varying stories as to what happened with Timex Social Club and how they went from #1 to breaking up. When they got involved with Jay King, King was forming his own label and the group was to be signed. "Rumors" was issued out under the Jay Records name, but after it became an unexpected hit, things went awry. King had apparently never formally signed TSC and that left them dangling as "Rumors" was hitting. So they took their business elsewhere and signed on with the Fantasy Records sub-label Danya. This didn't sit well with King, so he then decided to start his own group initially titled Jet Set. After finding out that TSC broke up, King then change the group's name to the snide Club Nouveau (more or less French for "new club"). King then took some material and sounds he had been working on with TSC and used them for Club Nouveau. Not only did the new group sound like TSC, but King even commissioned artwork for the album cover that had the same look as the artwork done for TSC's "Rumors" 12-inch. Club Nouveau would end up winning a Grammy and scoring four R&B Top 10's, but like TSC they would only have one major Pop hit, the 1987 #1 remake of "Lean on Me." Despite all the bad blood and music business issues, at least TSC's Michael Marshall gained a couple of things from Club Nouveau. He is credited as songwriter on the groups #8 R&B debut single "Jealousy," an answer song to "Rumors," and he along with Club Nouveau's former lead singer Samuelle now perform together under the Timex Social Club name.


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