80's pop


On this day in music history: February 8, 1992 - “I’m Too Sexy” by R*S*F(Right Said Fred) hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Fred Fairbrass, Richard Fairbrass and Rob Manzoli, it is the debut single and biggest hit for the British pop/dance trio. Formed by brothers Fred and Richard Fairbrass in London in 1989, the group is filled out by guitarist Rob Manzoli in 1990. They name themselves after the 60’s English novelty hit “Right Said Fred” (#10 UK), sung by actor Bernard Cribbins. The group begin recording demos in order to land a record deal. While working together in a friends’ home studio, they come up with a bass line. As it plays around in a loop, Richard sudden recites the line “I’m too sexy for my shirt”. Falling about laughing, the trio realize right away that they might be on to something. Richard’s brother Fred at first isn’t quite as optimistic about it. After a few days Richard convinces his brother they should finish writing it. Fred ends up writing most of the lyrics, and all three come up with the chorus over the next couple of weeks. Originally titled “Heaven”, the tongue in cheek song is re-titled “I’m Too Sexy”, about a self absorbed fashion model. The distinctive guitar solo on “Sexy” is cribbed from the Jimi Hendrix classic “Third Stone From The Sun”. Released on UK indie label Tug Records in July of 1991, it is a huge hit in their home country and across Europe, peaking at number two for six weeks on the UK singles chart, behind Bryan Adams’ “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” which holds the top spot for sixteen weeks. In the US, the song is licensed by Virgin Music subsidiary Charisma Records, becoming the second chart topping single for the label (after Maxi Priest’s “Close To You” in October 1990). Released in the US in December of 1991, it quickly becomes a smash on radio and in dance clubs. Entering the Hot 100 at #67 on December 21, 1991, it will climb to the top of the chart seven weeks later. “I’m Too Sexy” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


“My favorite toys might have actually been my troll dolls. One was dressed like a football player and the other was straight naked with a red jewel bellybutton that I made wishes on. The football player had a normal bellybutton so I would just brush its teeth instead.” - Jillian Fisher, Brooklyn NY

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On this day in music history: February 8, 1980 - “Light Up The Night”, the fourth album by The Brothers Johnson is released. Produced by Quincy Jones, it is recorded at A&M Studios in Hollywood, CA, Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA and Allen Zentz Recording in Los Angeles, CA from November 1978 - January 1980. Continuing their string of successful albums, The Brothers Johnson dive right back into work on the follow up to their third consecutive Platinum selling release “Blam!”. Once again working with Quincy Jones, the producer assembles a top flight team of musicians to support the brothers in the studio including John Robinson (drums), Greg Phillinganes, Steve Porcaro, Rod Temperton (keyboards) and The Seawind Horns (Jerry Hey, Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Williams, Bill Reichenbach, Jr.).  Nearly all of the aforementioned musicians are also working concurrently with Jones (including George and Louis) on other projects during this period including Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall”, Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Masterjam” and George Benson’s “Give Me The Night”. Like on their previous albums, George and Louis write the majority of the songs on the album, often working in tandem with other songwriters including Temperton, Phillinganes and Michael Jackson who co-writes and sings background vocals on the track “This Had To Be”. The album is another major success, spinning off three singles including the classic “Stomp!” (#1 R&B, #7 Pop), “Treasure” (sung by vocalist Richard Heath) (#36 R&B, #73 Pop) and the title track (#16 R&B). It is the final Brothers Johnson album produced by Quincy Jones, with the brothers taking what they’ve learned from their mentor, and producing their future work on their own. “Night” is remastered and reissued on CD in 1996, and is issued as an SHM-CD by Universal Japan in 2012. “Light Up The Night” will spend two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number five on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.