k ci hailey

youtube

On this day in music history: July 13, 1996 - “How Do U Want It” by 2 Pac hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, with the B-side “California Love” peaking at #6 on June 22. 1996, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on July 6, 1996. Written by Johnny J. and Tupac Shakur, it is the biggest hit for the prolific rap artist. Featuring K-Ci & JoJo Hailey of Jodeci on background vocals, it is the second single from Tupac’s fourth album “All Eyez On Me”. Co-written and produced by Johnny J (aka Johnny Lee Jackson), the track is based around samples of Quincy Jones’ classic “Body Heat” and Brian McKnight’s “Up Around My Way”. The single release of “How Do U Want It” also includes the original hit version of “California Love” featuring Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman (of Zapp). When the album is released in February of 1996, it features a remixed version of the track. Entering the Hot 100 at #4 on June 29, 1996, it leaps to the top of the chart two weeks later. The single earns Tupac a posthumous Grammy nomination for Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group in 1997. “How Do U Want It” also appears in the rapper and actor’s last film (though not the soundtrack album) “Gang Related”, released thirteen months after his death in October of 1997. “How Do U Want It” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

youtube

On this day in music history: October 19, 1981 - “The Poet”, the thirteenth album by Bobby Womack is released. Produced by Bobby Womack, it is recorded at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA, Hit City West in Los Angeles, CA from Early - Mid 1981. After experiencing great critical and commercial success during the first half of the 70’s, R&B star Bobby Womack begins to experience a major downturn in his recording career in the second half of the decade. Leaving United Artists Records in 1976, brief stints at Columbia and Arista between 1976 and 1979 do not produce any hits. Womack also is beset by personal tragedy with the losses of his brother Harry (aka “Harry Hippie”) in 1974, his infant son Truth Bobby in 1978, and a battle with drug addiction. Womack remains resilient, staying in the public eye with various musical collaborations, most notably on Wilton Felder’s (The Crusaders) “Inherit The Wind” album in 1980. In 1981, Bobby signs with L.A. based Beverly Glen Records and begins writing new material for his first release for the label. In the studio, he is backed by a solid rhythm section of top studio players including James Gadson (drums), Nathan East, David Shields (bass), David T. Walker (guitar), Dorothy Ashby (harp), Eddie “Bongo” Brown, Paulinho Da Costa (percussion), Patrick Moten, Dale Ramsey (keyboards) and The Waters (Julia, Maxine, Luther and Oren) (backing vocals). Members of Womack’s family including then wife Regina, son Vincent (handclaps) and brothers Cecil, Friendly, Jr. and Curtis (backing vocals) also participate in the sessions. An R&B tour de force, “The Poet” returns Bobby Womack back to his hit making glory, becoming one of the best selling albums of his career. The first single “Secrets” (#55 R&B) is overtaken by the B-side “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” (#3 R&B) after its release in August of 1981. An instant classic, “Lonely” is the R&B veteran’s first major hit in over five years. It is later covered by K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci (#11 R&B, #17 Pop) for the soundtrack of the film “Jason’s Lyric” in 1994. Pop superstar Mariah Carey also interpolates part of the chorus from “If You Think You’re Lonely Now” into her smash hit “We Belong Together” (#1 Pop and R&B) in 2005. The album spins off another single “Where Do We Go From Here” (#26 R&B). The success of “The Poet” spins off a sequel, “The Poet II” in 1984 which lands another major hit with “Love Has Finally Come At Last” (#3 R&B, #88 Pop) with Patti LaBelle. With the demise of Beverly Glen Records in 1985, “The Poet” goes out of print for nearly a decade, when it is reissued on CD by Razor & Tie Records in the US in 1993 and in 1994 by Music Collection International in the UK. It is reissued again by The Right Stuff/Capitol/EMI Records in 1999. “The Poet” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number twenty nine on the Top 200.