They didn’t look like your ordinary soul and R&B singers, but they definitely were. You could hear the R&B influence in their singles, from “I Can’t Go For That,” to “Freedom 90!” and “This Is the Right Time.” Their songs and talent were often so dope that the local black radio stations had to slip their tracks in from time to time (like they used to do Justin Timberlake). We know where our recent faves are (the Joss Stones, Amy Winehouses, Adeles, etc.), but where are our past faves (and a few somewhat recent ones who haven’t dropped new music)? We found a few. Per the usual, be ready to click, and let us know who you’d love to catch up with below!
This talented UK singer became a favorite of black folks everywhere when she dropped the song, “All Around the World,” from her solo debut, Affection. But don’t get it twisted, Stansfield had many more jams that people love and still play to this day: “This Is the Right Time,” “You Can’t Deny It,” “All Woman,” and her remake of the Barry White classic, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
Nowadays, Stansfield is still putting out music from time to time. She’s put out two new albums since the new Millennium began, including 2001’s Face Up, and 2004’s The Moment. She’s working on a new album that she hopes to drop in 2013 (currently untitled). She’s also done her share of acting, doing the “Vagina Monologues” in London, and showing up on the series “Goldplated,” as well as the movie, The Edge of Love with Keira Knightley.
“I Do (Whatcha Say Boo).” “They Don’t Know.” “Are U Still Down?” “Don’t Talk.” “Calling On You.” “Cool Relax.” Maaaaan, Jon B had jams for days, so much so that artists today sample him (see Drake’s “Cameras”). He even had sistas giving him the eye with his mean goatee, beard and smooth voice. But where is he now?
Well, Jon B is still making music if you were worried and wondering. In fact, after taking a four-year break after 1997’s Cool Relax, the crooner actually continuously dropped albums from 2001 to 2008. He even formed a group with two of his background singers called Jack Herrera, and they released an album together. You should keep an eye out because he’s dropping Comfortable Swagg sometime this year (LOL at the title…).
Ever since he popped up on people’s radar during his time with The Doobie Brothers, Michael McDonald and his music has acquired a strong following of fans of all different colors and creeds. “Taking It To The Streets,” “What A Fool Believes,” and “I Keep Forgettin'” have been certified classics, and when he teamed up with sista Patti LaBelle for “On My Own,” James Ingram for “Yah Mo Be There” and even started covering Marvin Gaye, he became many people’s favorite blue-eyed soul singer (“I love me some Michael McDonald!!”). Some time has passed, but McDonald has still been out there touring. He teamed up with Donald Fagen and Boz Scaggs to create the group, The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue, and the three men still tour together. The last album McDonald dropped was a Christmas project in 2009, but he’s still making his own music, and dropping backing vocals for different bands and artists.
Hall & Oates
Five words: “I Can’t Go For That.”
And if that’s not enough, you can always jam to “Sara Smile,” “You Make My Dreams,” “Private Eyes” and “Kiss On My List.” Daryl Hall and John Oates with their eccentric hair and jam-worthy songs, like McDonald, had fans of all colors and backgrounds. Maybe that’s why they were the most successful duo of the rock era. Even though what they were singing sure didn’t sound like no damn rock. They’ve continued to tour together, dropped a few live albums, but also do their share of performances separately. But they did just show up on “The Voice” together a few months back to perform.
For those not of the old-school, I’m sure you remember JoJo for her bubblegum pop hits that were R&B inspired thanks to her awesome vocal capabilities. “Baby It’s You” was a jam, “Leave (Get Out)” was a jam, and “Too Little Too Late” was a winner on the charts too. I became a fan after I heard her do a cover of SWV’s “Weak.” KILLED IT. But after dropping her second album, High Road, JoJo wound up having conflicts with her label, Blackground, and went to Interscope. She’s even done some acting, showing up on a few TV shows, in the movie RV with Robin Williams and doing a Lifetime movie with Valerie Bertinelli. Back to music–After dropping a mixtape and a slew of singles over the past few years, JoJo still hasn’t released a new album. She was working on a new CD called Jumping Trains for a while now, and had recorded about 100 tracks for it, but this week she revealed that she was dumping her third project. Hopefully a new album will come to fruition before too much time passes. Distance doesn’t make fans grow stronger these days…
With his mullet of long blonde hair and gravely voice, Michael Bolton was a standout star in the ’80s and early ’90s. Maybe it was because he looked like someone from the cover of those old-school romance novels. If that wasn’t the reason he blew up, it’s also probably because he could make any song sound good with his overly-emotional self (check out “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You”). But since his musical peak, what has Bolton been up to? A lot actually! Bolton still performs, and has released an album, whether a greatest hits, Christmas or cover album, only taking at max a break of three years since he came in the game back in the late ’70s. His most recent one was 2011’s Gems: The Duets Collection / Duette, and he’s even been focusing on acting, showing up in movies like Snow Dogs and The Onion Movie, as well as in SNL shorts, while also executive producing TV specials and movie shorts.
The Bee Gees (The Originals)
Who didn’t love The Bee Gees? The legendary group consisting of Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, have had their songs sampled by a slew of artists, and a majority of their hits are still being played on iPods and old vintage record players to this day. And not only were they powerhouses vocally, they were great songwriters, writing tracks for people like Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick and Barbara Streisand. In 2001, the group released their final album of material as a trio, entitled, This Is Where I Came In. Maurice Gibb passed away unexpectedly two years later. Robin and Barry tried to keep things going, performing on tours and appearing on countless television programs. But just earlier this year, Robin passed away from pneumonia after being diagnosed with liver cancer in 2011. Barry Gibbs is the last surviving member of the group.
Mr. Michael has been a favorite of mine since the days he had fluffy blonde hair and wore those short booty shorts when he was in the group Wham! (“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and their track “Last Christmas” are amazing, I don’t care what anyone says). But even when he went solo, he kept the classics coming. However, after 2004, he slowed up on putting out albums. Since then, Michael had kept up touring and even still releases new music every once in a while. This past June alone the singer said that he planned on releasing a single soon called “White Light.”
Darrin O’Brien, aka, Snow, was a notable cat because he was a white guy doing reggae, and was successful at it! Who would have thought?
Upon his release from prison for an assault charge, O’Brien was inspired enough to write the song “Informer,” which would go on to be, at the time, the highest charting and best-selling reggae single in U.S. history. The album that followed, 12 Inches of Snow, was also a big hit, selling 8 million copies. He released a second album, Murder Love, that did well internationally, but his work since then hasn’t really charted or had the same effect. His last CD dropped in 2002, but he still releases singles from time to time (including 2009’s “Adore You”). He also spends a lot of time doing charitable work and even does fundraising for cancer research after losing his wife to it.
Though he had some jams and some fans, in reality, Snow a Canadian artist, wasn’t really respected by reggae artists, as he was seen as giving people a watered down version of reggae/dancehall music. But don’t lie, you do a little jig when “Informer” comes on…
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