Monday, July 25, 2022

"I Like" by Guy

Song#:  3885
Date:  05/06/1989
Debut:  82
Peak:  70
Weeks:  7
Genre:  R&B, New Jack Swing

Pop Bits:  This trio consisted of Teddy Riley, Aaron Hall, and Timmy Gatling. They got together when Gatling noticed the vocal talent of Hall when they both worked together at a Brooklyn department store. Gatling then introduced Hall to Riley, Gatling and Riley were friends and had worked together previously in a group. The three then decided to form a group and dubbed themselves Guy. Thanks to a management connection Riley and Hall had due to their previous group, the newly formed trio got signed to the MCA distributed label Uptown Records. Work began on a self-titled debut album with all songs written by members of the group. Riley and their manager Gene Griffin would handle production duties on the new jack swing flavored tracks. A first single, "Groove Me," would be issued out in May of '88. It would get to #4 R&B/#33 Dance. A second single made the R&B Top 30, but then the third single "Teddy's Jam" would put them back in the R&B Top 10 at #5 (#25 Dance). It would then be this fourth single that would finally get them on the Pop chart. Although it would only spend a few weeks near the bottom, it became their biggest hit at R&B getting to #2 (#36 Dance). The three R&B Top 10s helped the album reach #1 at R&B. It also got enough crossover attention to reach #27 Pop. Eventually it would be a double-platinum seller.

ReduxReview:  The trio's debut album came out in the summer of '88 just as new jack swing was beginning to catch on with Teddy Riley one of the pioneers of the genre. Even before forming Guy, Riley already had a new jack hit to is credit with Keith Sweat's #5 Pop/#1 R&B "I Want Her." Riley also scored with Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative" (#1 Pop/#1 R&B). So it was only natural that he'd want to try for his own career in the spotlight and he did that via Guy. Their debut album became a watershed moment in the new jack swing era and has since been hailed as a classic of the genre. Weirdly, this was the only single from the album to reach the Pop chart. Not sure the reason, but I'm guessing that it may have been that pop radio might have been a bit resistant in playing and promoting new jack swing and that the R&B hits from the album may not have been quite as immediately hooky and catchy as something like "My Prerogative." Still, songs like "Teddy's Jam" and "Groove Me" were expertly crafted and should have had a wider audience. This single was another solid jam from the trio and was a bit more pop radio friendly, but it still couldn't make much headway on the chart. Despite the lack of mainstream support, the album deservedly went double-platinum. Had at least one single gotten near the upper reaches of the Pop chart, the LP would have easily gotten to the triple-platinum mark.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After the album was completed, group member Timmy Gatling found himself at odds with management over contracts. That along with some inner turmoil within the trio led to Gatling leaving the group. He would be replaced by Aaron Hall's brother Damion. The trio's next album, 1990's The Future would be a #1 R&B/#16 platinum seller thanks to four R&B Top 10 hits. Guy would split after the LP's supporting tour was over.  2) Earlier in the 80s, Teddy Riley and Timmy Gatling along with Clurel Henderson were members of a short-lived trio called Kids At Work. Assembled by producer Gene Griffin, the trio were sort of modeled after other R&B boy groups like New Edition. They recorded and released a 1984 self-titled debut album on Griffin's Sound of New York label. Two singles from the album would be mid-charters at R&B. A 1986 single for Rooftop Records would fail to chart and the group would disband. A couple years later, Gatling would hook back up with Riley to form Guy.


No comments:

Post a Comment