Wednesday, July 22, 2020

"Montego Bay" by Amazulu

Song#:  3202
Date:  07/25/1987
Debut:  94
Peak:  90
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Calypso

Pop Bits:  This British band was initially an all-female outfit, but after personnel changes the lineup consisted of five women and one man. They recorded a couple of singles for the indie label Towerbell in 1983 with their first effort, "Cairo," making a brief appearance on the UK chart at #86. That result attracted the attention of Island Records who decided to give the band a shot. More singles would follow including a pair of Top 20s. Then their remake of The Chi-Lites' 1974 song "Too Good to Be Forgotten" (a #10 hit in the UK) put them in the UK Top 10 at #5. A self-titled debut album was finally assembled, but by the time it was released in '86, the band had been reduced to a trio. Their next single was "Montego Bay" and it got to #16 in the UK. It took a long while, but Island then tried to break the band in the US on their affiliated Mango label. "Montego Bay" was released and it got just a minor bit of attention spending a month near the bottom of the Pop chart. However, it did far better in Canada where it got to #6. The band then fizzled out soon after. Their 1987 follow-up album Spellbound failed to gain an audience anywhere and by 1988 the band was done.

ReduxReview:  The band could have really spun this in a very 80s way, but for the most part they stayed grounded in the original (see below). The horn lines are a nice add and the layered background vocals contribute depth. All in all, it wasn't a bad remake. I just think it wasn't the right style of song at the time for US pop radio. Had it been promoted better at AC where the nostalgia factor of the older hit might have kicked in, the song might have done well there. It was a good attempt to revive a 70s hit, but it didn't stand out enough to get noticed.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  This is a remake of song originally co-written (with Jeff Barry) and recorded by US singer/songwriter Bobby Bloom. His version would reach #8 in 1970. Bloom would not be able to follow-up that Top 10 success and would end up getting tagged as a one-hit wonder. Prior to his solo career, Bloom scored a hit as a songwriter when he co-wrote "Mony, Mony" for Tommy James & the Shondells (#3, 1968). The tune would also be a #1 hit for Billy Idol in 1987. He remained a successful songwriter penning tunes for The Archies and The Monkees. Sadly, Bloom died in 1974 from an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.


No comments:

Post a Comment