Tuesday, February 7, 2023

"Back to Life" by Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)

Top 10 Alert!
Platinum Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  4047
Date:  09/23/1989
Debut:  70
Peak:  4
Weeks:  28
Genre:  R&B, Soul

Pop Bits:  This British collective hit it big with their single "Keep on Movin'," which became a #1 R&B/#1 Dance/#11 Pop platinum seller. It had previously been a hit in the UK getting to #5 and it was quickly followed by the group's debut album Club Classics Vol. One. Wanting another hit along the same lines, the group's label wanted another hit that featured the same vocalist, Caron Wheeler. However, the problem was that the only other track on the album to have Wheeler singing was an a cappella track title "Back to Life." Needing to meet the demand, members Jazzie B. and Nellee Hooper took the vocals and fashioned a new backing track along the same lines as "Keep on Movin'." The new mix would be issued out as a single and it flew to #1 in the UK. Success in the US would follow with the song getting to #1 R&B and #1 Dance while making the Pop Top 10. It would also become their second single in a row to go platinum. The hit would help album sales, but some of those buyers weren't so happy when they discovered that the "Back to Life" on the LP was the original a cappella version. Still, it would go on to sell over two million copies. This song would go on to win the Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The collective would earn a second Grammy that same year when the track "African Dance" won for Best R&B Instrumental Performance.

ReduxReview:  While I'm sure many folks remember "Keep on Movin'," I think the group is mainly remember for this jam. I'm still surprised it didn't get to #1. It was all over the place. In addition to a lot of radio airplay, there wasn't a club or event or party where this wasn't played - a lot. I liked the track and was going to buy the single, but got tired of the tune before that happened. I'd heard it enough times. It's still a great tune and interesting that they took their own a cappella album track and transitioned it into a major hit.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Soul II Soul would quickly follow up their debut with their 1990 album Vol. II: 1990 - A New Decade. It wouldn't do as quite well as their debut in the US stopping at #21 Pop/#14 R&B and only going gold. Its first single, "Get a Life" would get to #5 R&B/#9 Dance, but stall at #54 at Pop. A second single, "A Dream's Dream," would get to #3 Dance/#19 R&B/#85 Pop. That song would be the group's last to reach the Pop chart. Their next three albums continued the downward trend and by 1998 Soul II Soul had disbanded.  2) Following Soul II Soul's debut album, vocalist Caron Wheeler would leave and set out on a solo career. In 1990, she would release her debut album UK Blak. Its first single, "Livin' in the Light," would reach #1 Dance/#3 R&B/#53 Pop. In turn, the album topped out at #30 R&B/#133 Pop. A second album would follow in '93 that spawned an R&B Top 20 entry. The following year, Wheeler would attempt to join back up with Soul II Soul and supply vocals for a couple of songs, but directional differences had her taking off again. She continued to work as a vocalist over the years until finally reuniting and touring with Soul II Soul again in 2007.


No comments:

Post a Comment