On this day in music history: March 20, 1986 - “Rapture”, the second album by Anita Baker is released. Produced by Michael J. Powell, Marti Sharron and Gary Skardina, it is recorded at Yamaha R&D Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Music Grinder Studios in Hollywood, CA and United Sound Studios in Detroit, MI from Mid 1985 - Early 1986. After making a solid impression with her debut album “The Songstress” in 1983, Anita Baker finds her career progress halted when she becomes mired in a lawsuit with Beverly Glen Records. Seeking to end her relationship with the label for non-payment of royalties, the label counter sues her for breach of contract. The case takes nearly two years to settle, but it is in Baker’s favor, allowing her to field offers from other record labels. Anita is signed to Elektra Records in 1985, giving her more autonomy and creative control. To produce her major label debut, Baker enlists Michael J. Powell, her former Chapter 8 band mate to work on the project. Initially, A&R at Elektra are not pleased, feeling that a “name” producer should work with her, but label president Bob Krasnow allows the singer to go with her original choice. Powell assembles a team of top studio musicians including bassists Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson), Jimmy Haslip (The Yellowjackets), Nathan East (Eric Clapton), “Ready” Freddie Washington (Patrice Rushen), Neil Stubenhaus, Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Don Myrick, guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr., drummers John Robinson (Rufus), Ricky Lawson (Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Steely Dan), and keyboardists Greg Phillinganes, Vernon Fails, Sir Dean Gant and percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. Spending six months in the studio, recording wraps in early 1986. When the first single “Watch Your Step” (#23 R&B) receives a muted response from radio, Elektra quickly follows it up with “Sweet Love” (#2 R&B, #3 AC, #8 Pop). The ballad is a multi-format smash, giving Anita Baker her long awaited breakthrough. The albums seamless blend of R&B, jazz and pop proves irresistible, standing out dramatically in an era dominated by sterile over-produced recordings. “Rapture” cements her status with her core R&B fan base, broadening her audience. It spins off a total of five singles including “Same Ole Love (365 Days A Year)” (#8 R&B, #6 AC, #44 Pop), “No One In The World” (#5 R&B, #9 AC, #44 Pop) and the title track “Caught Up In The Rapture” (#6 R&B, #9 AC, #37 Pop). Though not released as singles, “You Bring Me Joy” and “Mystery” also become R&B airplay favorites as well. The album wins Anita Baker her first two Grammy Awards including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance (for the full album) and Best R&B Song (“Sweet Love”) in 1987. “Rapture” spends three weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number eleven on the Top 200, and is certified 5x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.