this is not gladys


On this day in music history: March 24, 1990 - “All Around The World” by Lisa Stansfield hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on March 17, 1990, and peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on April 7, 1990. Written by Lisa Stansfield, Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, it is the first chart topping single for the singer and songwriter from Manchester, UK. Raised on R&B icons like Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Diana Ross, and steady musical diet of Motown and other soul music since childhood, Lisa Stansfield grows up aspiring to be like her musical mentors. In 1981, Stansfield lands a job as a presenter on the UK children’s television show “Razzmatazz”. During this time, she releases four singles Devil/Polydor Records, none of which are successful. While performing in a high school musical, Lisa meets musicians Ian Devaney and Andy Morris. The trio form the group Blue Zone, with Stansfield and Devaney also becoming romantically involved. In 1988, they release their self titled debut album on Arista Records that fails to attract any attention after placing two singles on the lower rungs of the UK charts. Things turn around for Lisa when the duo Coldcut ask her to sing on their song “People Hold On”. Released on Big Life Records in the UK and picked by Tommy Boy in the US, the single cracks the UK top 20 and top ten on the US Club Play chart. Arista signs Lisa to a solo deal, and gives the green light for her to a do full album. The idea for “All Around The World” comes while Lisa, Ian and Andy are sitting around the piano, with the chord changes and lyrics coming together quickly. The track including Stansfield’s lead vocals are recorded in a makeshift studio built behind her parents house. She actually performs her vocal in the bathroom, recording it on an old eight track multi-track tape machine. When they find that the original bathroom demo can’t be improved upon, it is transferred to a twenty-four track tape with strings and other overdubs added. Released in the UK on October 16, 1989, it is an immediate smash, racing to number one for a two week stay on November 11, 1989. Arista in the US releases “All Around The World” on January 15, 1990, and it repeats its overseas success, topping the R&B and Club Play charts as well as hitting the top five on the pop charts. The single receives a pair of Grammy nominations for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best New Artist in 1991. With the song being inspired in part by one of her idols, R&B legend Barry White, Lisa re-records the song with White, with that version appearing on White’s career retrospective box set “Just For You” in 1992. The accompanying album “Affection” is a major success also with the follow up singles “You Can’t Deny It” (#1 R&B, #14 Pop) and “This Is The Right Time” (#13 R&B, #21 Pop) also performing well. “All Around The World” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.