Wednesday, May 13, 2020

"Happy" by Surface

Song#:  3132
Date:  05/23/1987
Debut:  82
Peak:  20
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B, Quiet Storm

Pop Bits:  This New Jersey trio first formed in 1983. They signed with Salsoul Records and that same year issued out their first single "Falling in Love." It reached #84 on the R&B chart. A second single, "When Your X Wants You Back," got some attention but was unable to chart. After changes within the group (see below), they ended up getting the attention of Columbia Records. A deal was struck and their first single "Let's Try Again" was released in 1986. It performed well getting to #22 at R&B. A full album was then called for and the group quickly assembled a self-titled debut. This next single would then be issued out and it became a major hit at R&B getting to #2. The song then crossed over to the Pop chart where it just barely made the Top 20. It also made it to #24 at AC. Another single, "Lately," would hit #8 at R&B, but missed the other chart. The two hits helped sell the album, which got to #11 R&B and #55 Pop.

ReduxReview:  I don't remember this song at all, but that's not terribly surprising. My hometown didn't have an R&B radio station so unless a song made a big enough impression to get on pop radio, I tended to miss out on tracks like this one. This track is a slick, slinky jam that kind of bridges the gap between the teen sounds of New Edition and the more adult leaning grooves of Freddie Jackson. I could do without the little phone call section, but over all it is hard not to be seduced by the tune.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  In their early days, the group consisted of David Conley, David Townsend, and lead vocalist Karen Copeland. It was this lineup that recorded the Salsoul singles, which were more in the dance/post-Disco vein. Copeland was Conley's girlfriend at the time, but after a breakup, she took off leaving Conley and Townsend on their own and still under contract with Salsoul. Around this time they met singer/musician Bernard Jackson and the three began to write songs together. Their work led them to being staff writers at EMI, which in turn helped Conley and Townsend get out of their Salsoul contract. A few songs the trio wrote ended up being recorded by artists like New Edition, Sister Sledge, and Gwen Guthrie. They might have just continued to be writers, but then one of their demos made an impression at Columbia Records not only for the song, but for the group behind it. Columbia wanted to give the trio a shot at being artists and they signed on keeping their original name of Surface


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