On this day in music history: October 6, 1990 - “Close To You” by Maxi Priest hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on October 20, 1990. Written by Gary Benson, Winston Sela and Max Elliott, it is the biggest hit for the reggae/pop vocalist from London, UK. Born Max Alfred Elliott, the son of Jamaican Pentacostal missionaries in South London in 1961, Elliott is raised singing in the church. Influenced by reggae and R&B music during his childhood, he sets his sights on pursuing a career in music. Also a founding member of the reggae soundsystem Saxon Studio International also featuring future reggae stars Tippa Irie and Smiley Culture, Elliott begins performing at clubs and parties around London. Adopting the stage name Maxi Priest, he begins his recording career in 1984, releasing singles on the Jamaican label Level Vibes! Records under the name Maxi Priest & Caution. By 1985, the records create enough of a buzz for him to be signed to Virgin subsidiary 10 Records in the UK, releasing his debut album “You’re Safe”. Releasing two more albums and several more singles in 1986 and 1987, Maxi Priest scores his first big worldwide hit in 1988 with a cover of the Cat Stevens classic “Wild World” (#5 UK, #25 US Pop). Produced by legendary reggae musicians Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, it gives Maxi his first Top 40 hit in the US. Prior to recording his fifth studio album, Maxi Priest is moved from Virgin to the newly revived Charisma Records imprint in the US. Originally established in the UK in 1969 by Genesis manager Tony Stratton-Smith, the American branch of the label is run by Phil Quartararo. Regarded as a major priority for the label, Maxi releases the album “Bonafide” in June of 1990. The singer works with a varied group of producers which include Jazzie B. and Nellee Hooper of Soul II Soul, Sly Dunbar, Phil Bodger (Cathy Dennis), Handel Tucker and Geoffrey Chung. Among songs written for the album is down tempo rhythmically syncopated track “Close To You”. Reminiscent of the shuffling rhythm popularized by Soul Il Soul, the song is an immediate stand out. Released as the first single in the UK in May of 1990 and in the US in June, it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #87 on June 30, 1990, it climbs to the top of the chart fourteen weeks later. “Close To You” is a multi-format hit, also cracking the top five on the R&B chart and the top 20 on the dance (#12 Club Play) and AC charts (#12 AC). In spite of having a chart topping smash under his belt, Maxi Priest does not score another major hit on his own. Though he has major hits in duets with dancehall star Shabba Ranks (“Housecall”), R&B and pop legend Roberta Flack (“Set The Night To Music”) and Shaggy (“That Girl”). “Close To You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.