Saturday, April 23, 2022

"Birthday Suit" by Johnny Kemp

Song#:  3814
Date:  02/25/1989
Debut:  85
Peak:  36
Weeks:  14
Genre:  R&B, Dance-Pop, Soundtrack

Pop Bits:  In 1988, Kemp would earn a mainstream hit with the new jack swing classic "Just Got Paid." The single, which was from his second album Secrets of Flying, would hit #1 R&B, #1 Dance, and #10 Pop. It would also go gold and earn Kemp a Grammy nomination. Two follow up singles would fail to reach the Pop chart, but "Dancin' with Myself" would get to #5 R&B/#12 Dance. The album would get to #4 R&B/#68 Pop. While things were wrapping up with the album, Kemp got the opportunity to record a song for a film soundtrack. "Birthday Suit" would be used in the drama Sing. Prior to the movie's opening, the song would be issued out as a single. It did fairly well reaching #21 R&B and #25 Dance while making it into the Pop Top 40. With that result and with the film a box office dud, the soundtrack album barely charted at #196. It seemed logical that after the success of his second album, Kemp would have started work on a follow up. For whatever reason, that did not happen. Kemp's solo career suddenly came to a halt. While he would continue on with other projects (see below), Kemp would never record another solo album. Sadly, Kemp died in 2015. He had been on a music-themed cruise and was scheduled to perform, but while off the ship in Montego Bay, it seems he was walking along the shoreline when he lost his footing on some slippery rocks. He apparently hit his head, fell in the water, and drowned. Kemp was 55 years old.

ReduxReview:  I have to say this tune made me smile. It was one that I completely forgot about. I remember thinking back in the day that this was a goofy song. It's still a bit silly, but the Minneapolis groove and solid production makes it a a fun listen.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In 1993, Sherry Goffin Kondor, daughter of singer/songwriter Carole King, began to record children's albums that featured updated arrangements of songs from the 60s and 70s. The albums were credited to Sugar Beats and Kondor would be one of the lead singers. Another one of the lead singers was Johnny Kemp. On a series of award-winning recordings throughout the 90s and into the 2000s, Kemp would be one of the lead singers on the albums and also on the live tours.  2) The movie Sing was the second screenplay effort by songwriter Dean Pitchford. His first attempt ended up becoming the 1984 hit Footloose. In addition to writing the script, Pitchford also co-wrote all the songs used in the film and on the associated #1 soundtrack. For Sing, Pitchford based his screenplay on New York City's annual SING! theater production/competition show. Theater groups/clubs from various schools and grades would compete against each other in the program. Just as he did for Footloose, Pitchford would co-write all the songs for the film including "Birthday Suit" and tracks by Michael Bolton, Patti LaBelle, Kevin Cronin, and Mickey Thomas. The soundtrack's second single was "Romance (Love Theme from Sing)" performed as a duet between Paul Carrack and Berlin's Terri Nunn. It failed to chart. The songs might have possibly done better if the film had been a success. Unfortunately, reviews were not favorable and box office receipts were poor. After that result, Pitchford would mainly stick to music save for writing one TV movie and a TV special. 


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