Saturday, July 31, 2021

"Coming to America" by The System

Song#:  3568
Date:  07/09/1988
Debut:  96
Peak:  91
Weeks:  5
Genre:  R&B, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  This duo of Mic Murphy and David Frank reached a high point when their 1987 single "Don't Disturb This Groove" got to #1 R&B and #5 Pop. It was from their album of the same name which reached #13 R&B/#62 Pop. After the success of the album, the pair's label, Atlantic, got them signed up to record a track for an upcoming film. They would collaborate with Nile Rodgers on the theme song to the Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America. The tune was written by Rodgers and Nancy Huang while Rodgers and The System co-produced. It would be released as a single just prior to the movie's debut. The song would do okay at R&B reaching #23, but it just couldn't get anywhere at Pop where it fizzled near the bottom. There would be other singles released from the soundtrack, but none of them made the Pop or R&B charts. With those results, the soundtrack stalled at #177. This song would be The System's last single to reach the Pop chart.

ReduxReview:  This duo typically wrote their own material so it was a bit unusual that they chose to record something that wasn't theirs. Two factors may have played a role; their label perhaps pushing them, but more importantly, the chance to work with Nile Rodgers. The completed track turned out okay. There was a bit of a Minneapolis/Prince sound going on, especially with the chorus. It was almost like a more commercial version of Prince's "America" done by Jam & Lewis. It was fine, but it wasn't something that was going to set the charts on fire. The System were known mainly for their smooth, soul grooves, so this loud, choppy track was quite different for them and I'm not sure it was the best fit. I guess one way to put it is they disturbed their own groove.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  A year after this single was released, The System issued out their fifth album Rhythm & Romance. The lead single, "Midnight Special," got to #5 at R&B, but failed to make the Pop chart. No other singles would chart and the LP could only get to #85 at R&B. After those results, Murphy and Frank went their own ways. Murphy would release a solo album in '92 titled Touch. It didn't get very far with the single "Fit to Be Tied" only reaching #81 R&B. Frank would write and produce songs for other artists including "Genie in a Bottle" for Christina Aguilera. They would reunite in 2000 and issue out an indie album along with another one in 2013.  2) Coming to America was another hit for Eddy Murphy. While critics were mixed about it, the public turned out and it became the third highest grossing film of '88. Twenty-three years later, a sequel would appear. Coming 2 America starring Eddie Murphy got released in 2021. It was meant to be a theatrical release, but due to the pandemic it came out via Amazon Prime for home streaming. Again, critics were mixed, but a sizable audience stuck at home signed on to watch. A soundtrack was created for the film that included John Legend remaking the original theme song.


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