Tuesday, August 13, 2019

"Word Up" by Cameo

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2859
Date:  09/13/1986
Debut:  81
Peak:  6
Weeks:  21
Genre:  R&B, Electro-Funk, Dance

Pop Bits:  Between 1979 and 1985, this New York funk outfit delivered seven Top 10 R&B albums that generated nine R&B Top 10 singles. The albums were all gold sellers and the band accomplished this without any support from Pop. In fact, during that time only one of their singles, 1984's "She's Strange," made the Pop chart (#47). The band continued its evolving, winning formula with their twelfth album, 1986's Word Up! The title track would be the first single and it would be a major hit at R&B becoming their third chart topper. It was also a winner at Dance getting to #1. This time around, pop radio paid attention and the tune eased its way up the chart finally cracking the Top 10. The hit would send the album to #1 at R&B and #8 Pop. It would end up being the band's best selling album going platinum. Nearly ten years after their first album, the band finally had a legit mainstream hit.

ReduxReview:  I think it only takes about two beats of this song to recognize it. The band hit the exact right sound with their production, but it also helped that they created an unforgettable party anthem. The singing/rapping lead vocal was spot on and the hook was undeniable. The spelled-out title along with the little whistle (see below) just added to the listening experience. This was easily the band's top moment and it paid off big time for them. It still sounds great today.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) If the little whistle part heard during the song sounds familiar, it may be due to a famous movie theme. It is basically the opening of the theme from the 1966 Clint Eastwood Spaghetti Western The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. The theme was written by Ennio Morricone and it was turned into a hit single in 1968 by orchestra leader Hugo Montenegro. His pop-style version reached #2.  2) This song has been remade several times. The Scottish hard rock band Gun did a version in 1994 that got to #8 in the UK. Former Spice Girl Mel B recorded the song in 1998 for the soundtrack to the film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. The single got to #13 in the UK. British girl group Little Mix made it to #6 in the UK with their 2014 version. While no cover of the song has made the Pop chart in the US, American nu metal band Korn did record the song in 2004 and it got to #16 on the Rock chart.


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