Friday, May 29, 2020

"Rock Steady" by The Whispers

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  3148
Date:  06/06/1987
Debut:  84
Peak:  7
Weeks:  23
Genre:  R&B

Pop Bits:  Although The Whispers hadn't been in the Pop Top 40 since 1981's "It's a Love Thing" (#28 Pop/#2 R&B), it didn't mean their success had waned. Over the course of three albums (one of them going gold) the group scored four R&B Top 10s between 1982-84. They took a bit of a break after that run of hits and finally returned with their fourteenth album Just Gets Better with Time. For the recording, they were paired with the new songwriting/production team of L.A. Reid and Babyface, who were members of the band The Deele. The Whispers recorded two songs with the pair including this first single. It would be an immediate hit at R&B easily reaching #1 on that chart. A week before it would hit that peak, the single debuted on the Pop chart. After a leisurely climb, the tune would become the first Pop Top 10 for the group. In turn, the album would become their second platinum seller hitting #3 R&B/#22 Pop. The song would be the group's last to reach the Pop chart in the 80s.

ReduxReview:  When an artist has been around for a long time and have remained popular like The Whispers (since 1970), sometime a boost of new blood is needed in order to keep them viable on the charts. The Whispers had been doing consistently well on the R&B chart in the 80s, but they still hadn't managed to breakthrough to Pop in a big way; and with their albums in '83 and '84 not going gold, it was time for a change. Luckily, they got hooked up with L.A. Reid and Babyface and that breath of fresh creativity gave them this hit, which became the biggest of their career. It was a terrific, hooky track with a nice 80s-oriented production. The song took its time breaking through to Pop even though I thought it was an instantly likable tune. The group was never able to replicate its success, but at least they were able to cap off their career with this memorable hit.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After another break and a label change to Capitol Records, the group returned with 1990's More of the Night. It would do well going gold and reaching #3 R&B/#83 Pop thanks mainly to the #8 R&B/#55 Pop single "Innocent." Two more R&B Top 10s would follow, but after that the group's fortunes began to dwindle and their hit-making days came to an end.  2) This was the first major hit co-written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface. Two big crossover hits with R&B singer Pebbles would quickly follow. Then their career as ace writers/producers blew up big time when they worked on former New Edition member Bobby Brown's massively successful second album, 1988's Don't Be Cruel. They then became one of the most successful writing/production teams of the 90s. The duo would end up winning the Grammy for Producer(s) of the Year in 1993.


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