Tuesday, July 26, 2022

"If You Don't Know Me By Now" by Simply Red

#1 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  3886
Date:  05/06/1989
Debut:  81
Peak:  1 (1 week)
Weeks:  22
Genre:  Blue-Eyed Soul

Pop Bits:  The English group's third album A New Flame was not burning up the chart when initially released. Its first single, "It's Only Love," would be a bit of a dud only reaching #57 Pop. They needed something much stronger to prompt album sales and they gave it a go with this cover tune second single. It took a minute for the song to catch on, but it was able to scale the Pop chart and eventually become the band's second #1 hit. It would also top the AC chart while peaking at a minor #38 at R&B. Thanks to the success of the single, the album rebounded and was able to reach #22. It would then be certified gold. Follow up singles would fail to chart at Pop, but the track "You've Got It" would get to #7 at AC. This single would earn the band a Grammy nod for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group. The song, despite being a remake of a previous hit, would win the Grammy for Best R&B Song.

ReduxReview:  I wasn't a fan of Simply Red. While I appreciated their other #1 "Holding Back the Years," little else from them grabbed my ear. When this single came out, I thought it might be a good fit for the band and in general it was with the tune becoming their second #1. However, their take on the classic didn't do much for me. While I liked the stripped back approach of the arrangement, I thought the tune just dragged. Frankly, it bored me. Mick Hucknall's restrained vocal was good and appropriate for the way the song was performed, but I feel he could have added some minor fireworks to keep the song interesting. Obviously no one is going to beat the original version with Teddy Pendergrass' incredible, yearning vocal, but I expected something a bit better than this sleepy take from Simply Red.

ReduxRating:  4/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This is a remake of a song originally recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. Their 1972 version would reach #1 R&B/#3 Pop and go gold. Taken from the group's debut album I Miss You, it would be their breakthrough single. Over the next few years, the group would earn three more R&B #1s and one more Pop Top 10. The lead singer for the track was Teddy Pendergrass, who would later go on to have a successful solo career. Written by the famous team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the tune was originally written for the R&B vocal trio Labelle, but they did not record it. The song was then pushed over to Melvin and his group. To-date, Simply Red has been the only other artist to reach the Pop chart with a version of the song. In 2009, a cover by Seal would get to #8 AC.  2) Simply Red's next album, 1991's Stars, would prove to be the biggest selling of their career. It was a massive hit in many countries including the UK where it reached #1 and was certified 12x platinum. In the US, the album would featured the band's last Pop Top 40 single, the #23 "Something Got Me Started," and that was enough for the LP to go gold despite its low #76 peak. While Simply Red continued to have success at home in the UK and in Europe, their fortunes quickly dwindled in the US. However, they would earn three #1s at Dance and a pair of AC Top 10s over the years.


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