Friday, April 29, 2022

"Heaven Help Me" by Deon Estus

Top 10 Alert!
One-Hit Wonder Alert!
Song#:  3819
Date:  02/25/1989
Debut:  67
Peak:  5
Weeks:  16
Genre:  R&B, Pop, Adult Contemporary

Pop Bits:  This singer/bassist from Detroit, Michigan, got his first real taste of the music business when he became the bass player for Brainstorm, a local disco/funk outfit. After the group broke up he took off for Europe and started to get gigs in recording sessions and on tour with artists like Marvin Gaye. His career took an upward swing when he met a couple of guys in England who were recording their first album - Andrew Ridgeley and George Michael of Wham! Estus would be hired on to play bass on their first album and also accompany them on tour. He stayed on with the duo through to their breakup in '86 and then continued on working with George Michael as his solo career took off. Following the huge success of Michael's Faith album, Estus was given the opportunity to record his own solo album. Working with a variety of producers, Estus wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on his debut LP Spell. In late '88, the first single from the album, "Me or the Rumours," was issued out. It was able to reach #15 on the US Dance chart. Next up for release was this track that was co-written and produced by George Michael and featured him on backing vocals. It would do far better reaching #3 R&B, #3 AC, and #5 Pop. That result helped the album get to #89. The LP's title track would be the third single, but it could only reach #11 AC/#74 R&B while failing to make the Pop chart. It was a pretty good start to a solo career, but then a second album never came. Because of this lone Top 10 hit on the Pop chart, Estus was tagged as a one-hit wonder. Estus returned to being a musician for hire and got to work with artists like Tina Turner, Annie Lennox, and Elton John. He also remained working with George Michael until Michael's death in 2016. Estus himself would pass away in 2021.

ReduxReview:  This was certainly a flashback. I haven't heard this track since its original chart run and had completely forgotten about it. The tune got a boost from George Michael via writing, production, and vocals. With him being so hot at the time, that promo angle helped to shine a brighter light on the single. It was a quietly groovy tune that set a nice mood. Both the chorus and production were excellent. Estus didn't have a distinctive voice, but his delivery was perfect for the song. Unfortunately, there wasn't another track on the album as enticing and single-worthy as this one and it left Estus as one-hit wonder.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Estus would spend a couple of years with Brainstorm, a Detroit-based disco/funk outfit that had gotten signed to Tabu Records. Their first album, 1977's Stormin', would feature their biggest hit, the #14R&B/#14 Dance track "Lovin' Is Really My Game." The album would get to #31 R&B/#145 Pop. It was after that success that Estus joined the band. They would record two more albums in '78 and '79 with their best single effort during that time being the #21 Dance/#65 R&B entry "Hot for You." It seems that when disco went bust, so did Brainstorm. Various members of the group continued their music careers joining up with other artists like Cameo, The Sounds of Blackness, the Funk Brothers, and others. Estus would be the only former member to earn a solo Pop Top 10 hit.


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