Friday, July 24, 2020

"Jump Start" by Natalie Cole

Song#:  3204
Date:  07/25/1987
Debut:  87
Peak:  13
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Dance-Pop, R&B

Pop Bits:  Cole's career in the 70s was red hot. She accumulated five gold and two platinum albums, had five R&B #1 hits and three Pop Top 10s. She also had three Grammys to her credit. But then came the 80s. She recorded four albums for three different labels and none of them yielded anything close to a significant hit with the exception of "Someone That I Used to Know" (#21 Pop/#21 R&B/#3 AC) from her 1980 album Don't Look Back, which was her first LP to not go gold. To make matters worse, Cole had been struggling with drug addiction for years and it was taking a toll personally and professionally. She began to get cleaned up in 1983, but was still having a difficult time reestablishing her career. She signed on with Manhattan Records in '86 and they brought in some hit makers to help create an album that would put her back on the charts. This cast included brothers Reggie and Vincent Calloway who had been having solid success with their own group Midnight Star along with producing/writing hits for Klymaxx and The Whispers. They recorded a couple of tracks with Cole including this first single that they wrote. The song was well received at R&B where it became Cole's first Top 10 (#2) since 1979. That success then bled over to the Pop chart where it nearly made the Top 10. It also got to #28 at Dance. It was a significant comeback for Cole, but it would only be the start to a highly successful second act.

ReduxReview:  This was a good vehicle for the return of Cole. The Calloways had the right song for her and their production reflected the day's trends. It was a fun, catchy tune that was made all the better by Cole's voice. Of course, she was far better than this song, but the tune was what she needed to get back on the charts and on that level it succeeded. The track has lost its luster over the years and has nearly become a forgotten hit in her catalog. Still, it went a long way in reestablishing Cole's career.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  The album would secure Cole her first Grammy nomination in eight years. She would get a nod for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female. The winner that year would be Aretha Franklin for her Aretha album, which for Franklin could have been interpreted as a revenge win. Back in 1967 and 1968, the Grammy organization made changes to the R&B categories and created separate male, female, and duo/group awards. Franklin won the very first award for her hit "Respect." Then amazingly, she kept winning the award for the next seven years. Then in 1976 along came Natalie Cole. Cole's debut album, Inseparable, included songs written by the team of Chuck Jackson and Marvin Yancy that had originally been turned down by Franklin. Still needing a hit for LP, Jackson and Yancy came up with "This Will Be." It did the trick reaching #1 R&B/#6 Pop. The single put Cole on the map and also got her compared to Aretha, who was none to pleased with that. At the 1976 Grammys, Cole would be the singer to end Franklin's streak of wins. In that competition year Franklin wasn't nominated as she didn't secure a sizable hit. However, for the '77 Grammys, both Cole and Franklin were nominated. Cole won for her #1 R&B hit "Sophisticated Lady (She's a Different Lady)." Apparently that win along with the attention given to Cole and some possible miscommunication/gossip being tossed around about Cole was enough for Franklin to basically dismiss Cole and the pair were never friendly after that Grammy show. Cole wasn't the first and wouldn't be the last singer that Aretha would either feud or have issues with (lists can be found online...). So it was probably a sweet victory for Franklin to win over Cole following Cole's comeback. However, in 1992 Cole would win in a Grammy category that Franklin would never get a nomination in, Album of the Year. Cole's Unforgettable...With Love would snag that top award.


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