Monday, September 30, 2019

"Crazay" by Jesse Johnson with Sly Stone

Song#:  2907
Date:  10/25/1986
Debut:  78
Peak:  53
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  The former Time member's first solo album, Jesse Johnson's Revue (which was credited to that "group"), did quite well getting to #8 R&B and #43 Pop. It included three R&B Top 10's including the #4 "Be Your Man" (#61 Pop). It sold well enough to call for a follow-up album and Johnson came up with the solo billed Shockadelica. This first single, a duet with the legendary Sly Stone, was pushed out and it was a winner at R&B reaching #2. It would be his biggest hit on that chart and also the Pop chart where it nearly cracked the Top 50. It also got to #12 at Dance. It was a solid hit, but further singles couldn't keep pace and would only reach the R&B Top 30 while missing the Pop chart. The lack of further hits took a bit of a toll on album sales and it would top out at #15 R&B and #70 Pop, which was a slight dip from his debut effort.

ReduxReview:  The Prince influence is still on full display here with this track's Minneapolis sound. What's good is that it doesn't sound like a ripoff. Johnson just took what he learned from his Prince/The Time days and applied it to his own songs. It worked well and this song ranks among Johnson's best efforts. It's a cool, hooky jam that could have been a solid entry in either Prince's or The Time's catalog. The tune should have done better on the Pop chart. I think the only thing I quibble with is the addition of Sly Stone. It was probably great to work with him and have his name to promote, but I don't think he really adds anything here. It's fine to have him aboard, but I think Johnson could have handled this on his own.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The Shockadelica title gained an usual history. The word was something that Johnson had been using as a descriptor for a few years and he thought it would be a good album title. Johnson's former boss Prince got to hear the album prior to its release and Prince's only quibble was that the LP had a fantastic title but there wasn't a track on the album with the same name. He thought there should be. Johnson disagreed and it seemed that would be the end of it. However, Prince couldn't seem to get the title out of his head and it apparently bothered him to the point where he went to his studio and wrote one. He then sent it over to Johnson for him to use, but Johnson said no thanks. He wanted to do his work independently without the help or influence of Prince. According to Johnson, that is when Prince told him that if he didn't record and put it out, he would and when people hear the word "shockadelica", they would think of him, not Johnson. Johnson still declined. Prince then did record a version of the song and prior to Johnson's album being released, Prince got the song played on a Minneapolis radio station. Some folks say that this was a joke that Prince pulled on Johnson, but we all know that Prince could get...well...Prince-ly at times and chances are he was a little miffed that his song was rebuffed by Johnson. I mean...who would dare turn down Prince? Around the same time, Prince then was assembling a new album titled Camille and he decided to include the song on the project. Camille was a feminine alter-ego that Prince came up with and he wanted to release the album under the name and not associate his own. That project ended up being shelved, but then the song was going to part of his new triple-disc LP Crystal Ball. It was also slated to be the first single. But then his label balked at a triple album and it was pared down to his 1987 classic Sign o' the Times. "Shockadelica" did not make the album, but it did get released as the b-side to the set's second single "If I Was Your Girlfriend" (#12 R&B/#68 Pop). Note that Prince did release a triple-CD set in 1998 titled Crystal Ball, but only the title track was used from the original 1986 version.


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