On this day in music history: October 26, 1985 - “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on September 7, 1985, and topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on October 5, 1985. Written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin, it is the first pop and second R&B chart topper for the pop and R&B vocal icon from Newark, NJ. After Whitney Houston is signed to Arista Records in 1983, the nearly two year long task of recording her debut album begins in earnest. Among the producers selected to work on the project is songwriter Michael Masser, best known for penning classics including “The Greatest Love Of All” (also recorded by Houston for her debut), “Touch Me In The Morning” and “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” (both for Diana Ross). One of the songs chosen for Whitney is “Saving All My Love For You” co-written with lyricist Gerry Goffin (“The Locomotion”, “One Fine Day”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”), a song about a woman having an affair with a married man. The song is originally recorded in 1978 by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (also produced by Masser), whose version is only a minor hit. Masser retools the song for Houston and records it with her in 1984, with the then twenty one year old singer delivering an emotional and flawless performance. The track is given a torchy, understated arrangement by veteran arranger Gene Page (Barry White, The Jackson 5), and features a sax solo by jazz musician Tom Scott. Issued as the second single from Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut in July of 1985, it becomes an across the board smash like its predecessor “You Give Good Love”. Entering the Hot 100 at #53 on August 17, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The single will win Whitney her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1986 (also performing the song live on the telecast), an honor made even sweeter when it is presented excitedly and emotionally by Houston’s cousin, vocal legend Dionne Warwick. Houston’s Grammy performance of the song also wins her an Emmy Award for  Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program also in 1986. “Saving All My Love For You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Mark Elliott woos our hearts with snappy sweet electropop and honeyed gliding soul on China Doll, an ode to new relationships and the terrifying uncertainties they involve. The English singer songwriter proves himself a smooth Casanova yet again with the posh luxuriant nu-soul ballad. “Open up and let me in” coos Mark Elliott in his creamy voice. There’s no shutting the door on this dashing sonic suitor, it’s simply impossible. 

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On this day in music history: October 26, 1974 - “Then Came You” by The Spinners and Dionne Warwick hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on October 19, 1974. Written by Sherman Marshall and Phil Pugh, it is the lone pop chart topper for the Detroit based vocal group and the first for the Pop/R&B vocalist. Producer Thom Bell will suggest the duet after The Spinners and Warwick appear on the same live concert bill in Las Vegas. After they record “Then Came You”, Warwick believing the song won’t be a hit, makes a bet with Bell. They take a dollar bill and tear it in half, each taking half. The loser of the bet has to send their half of the dollar to the winner. Released as a stand alone single on July 13, 1974 (later included on The Spinners’ album “New And Improved” and Warwick’s “Then Came You”), it quickly becomes a smash. Entering the Hot 100 #51 on July 27, 1974, it climbs to the top of the chart thirteen weeks later. The single quickly sells over a million copies and earn them a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group. Warwick sends Bell her half of the dollar back along with an apology for being wrong about the songs’ hit potential. The song also makes Billboard chart history when it takes the biggest fall from top spot, dropping to #15 the week of November 2, 1974, tieing with Billy Preston’s “Nothing From Nothing” which it had replaced at number one and took the same downward trajectory. “Then Came You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

I’ve been waiting to hear this gem since it was first teased on twitter by these dreamy bands. Both Los Angeles projects involved, RKCB and Opia, have given us some of the best in R&B soul this past year (or two years, in the case of RKCB). I couldn’t imagine how sensual swooning and torrid melting it would be for the two to collaborate. Sure enough, Always is a heart tenderizing display of creamy simmering, smoky slithering electro R&B. Its crimson drapes wrap around us tightly, leaving us blushing from its passionate caress. Always features Opia’s Cole Citrenbaum on silky, buttery vocals. The track was produced by members of both groups. Always is the sweet fruition of the most velvety divine pairing ever. 

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Solange drops 21-track epic A Seat at the Table — listen now

When it’s all said and done, 2016 may go down as the year the Knowles sisters transcended pop and became legend. Thursday, just before midnight, Solange Knowles released her third studio LP, A Seat At the Table, her first full-length in eight years — and it’s an instant masterpiece. But we’ll let you listen and be the judge.

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