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The Love I Lost by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: Written and produced by the legendary Philadelphia Soul songwriting/production team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the Soul/Disco song The Love I Lost peaked at No. 7 on the Pop Chart and hit No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart in 1973 (for two weeks), eventually selling more than a million copies. The single was released from the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes album Black & Blue, which reached No. 5 on the Soul/R&B Chart and No. 57 on the Pop Chart. The Love I Lost is also available on The Very Best Of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes.
Inside My Love by Minnie Riperton: In 1975, Soul/R&B songstress Minnie Riperton released her third studio album, Adventures In Paradise, which peaked at No. 18 on the Pop Chart and reached No. 5 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The songs on the LP were mainly written by Minnie Riperton, The Crusaders' Joe Sample and Larry Carlton, and singer-songwriter/producer Leon Ware (see next entry). The classic single Inside My Love undeservedly stalled at No. 76 on the Pop Chart, but fortunately made it to No. 26 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Inside My Love was sampled by in-demand producer Timbaland for R&B singer Aaliyah's Heartbroken (off 1996's One In A Million). Also available on Les Fleurs: The Minnie Riperton Anthology.
I Want You by Marvin Gaye: Legendary Motown Soul/R&B/Funk singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye released his 13th studio album, I Want You, in 1976. Co-written by Soul artist/singer-songwriter Leon Ware, the LP reached no. 4 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The first single released from the album, the title track I Want You, peaked at No. 15 on the Pop Chart and hit No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart, selling over a million copies. Also available on The Very Best Of Marvin Gaye.
Across 110th Street by Bobby Womack: The soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Across 110th Street was written, composed, arranged, and produced by Soul legend Bobby Womack (and J. J. Johnson). Released in 1972, the album peaked at No. 50 on the Pop Chart and No. 6 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The single Across 110th Street reached Pop No. 56 and Soul/R&B No. 19. Across 110th Street is also available on Everything's Gonna Be Alright: The American Singles 1967-1976.
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Lost In Music and We Are Family by Sister Sledge: In 1979, Disco/Soul/R&B quartet Sister Sledge released their third LP, We Are Family. Written and produced by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards of legendary Disco band Chic, the album reached No. 3 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The single We Are Family peaked at No. 2 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also released as a single, Lost In Music failed to enter the Pop Chart, although it did make it to No. 35 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also available on We Are Family: The Essential.
Skin Tight by Ohio Players: In 1974, Funk/Disco/R&B outfit The Ohio Players released their fifth studio album Skin Tight, which reached No. 11 on the Pop Chart and climbed all the way to No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The LP was the band’s biggest commercial success up until then and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of one million units. The single Skin Tight became a huge success, too, reaching No. 13 on the Pop Chart and No. 2 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also available on Funk On Fire: The Mercury Anthology.
Footsteps In The Dark and Voyage To Atlantis by The Isley Brothers: Footsteps In The Dark was written, arranged, produced, and composed by legendary Soul/R&B/Funk band The Isley Brothers and Chris Jasper (ex-member of both The Isley Brothers and Isley-Jasper-Isley). The song was never released as a single (except as the B-side of Groove With You), but it soon became a fan favorite. Many years later, it was sampled by various artists, including Ice Cube (Today Was A Good Day). Released as a single, Voyage To Atlantis failed to enter the Pop Chart; it did, however, make it to No. 50 on the Soul /R&B Chart. Both songs were featured on The Isley Brothers’ fifteenth studio LP, 1977’s Go For Your Guns, which reached No. 6 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart, staying on the charts for 40 weeks and eventually selling over two million copies (Double Platinum). Also available on The Essential Isley Brothers.
Bad Girls and Hot Stuff by Donna Summer: In the spring of 1979, iconic American Disco/R&B/Pop singer Donna Summer released her seventh studio album entitled Bad Girls. This double LP reached No. 1 on both the Soul/R&B and Pop charts and was certified Triple Platinum by the RIIA. Selling over eight million copies worldwide, it became the best-selling album of Donna Summer's career. Bad Girls was released as a single (Pop No. 1, Soul/R&B No. 1, Disco No. 1), selling over two million copies in the U.S. alone. Also released as a single, Hot Stuff shot to No. 1 on the Pop Chart and peaked at No. 3 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Also available on The Journey: The Very Best Of Donna Summer.
Too Late and She’s Gone by Tavares: In 1974, American Soul/R&B, Funk and Disco group Tavares teamed up with songwriting- and production team Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter (Four Tops, Hall & Oates) for their second studio album, the sophisticated, albeit soulful, Hard Core Poetry (Soul/R&B No. 11, Pop No. 121). The LP yielded three hit singles, two of which were particularly memorable : the regretful Too Late, which peaked at No. 10 on the Soul/R&B Chart and No. 59 on the Pop Chart, and a cover of Hall & Oates’ She’s Gone, which reached No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart and No. 50 on the Pop Chart. Also available on The Best Of Tavares.
Slippery When Wet and This Is Your Life by The Commodores: In 1975, American Funk/R&B outfit The Commodores scored two Top 20 hit singles with the sweaty Slippery When Wet ( Soul/R&B No. 1, Pop No. 19), written by band member/guitarist Thomas McClary, and the introspective ballad This Is Your Life (Soul/R&B No. 13), respectively. Both songs were released as singles from The Commodores’ second studio album Caught In The Act (Soul/R&B No. 7, Pop No. 26) and are also available on The Commodores: Anthology.
Turn Off The Lights and Come Go With Me by Teddy Pendergrass: In the summer of 1979, ex-Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes singer Teddy Pendergrass released his third solo album, simply titled Teddy, which became a huge success on both the Pop Chart (No. 5) and the Soul/R&B Chart (No. 1) and was nominated for an American Music Award. The iconic Soul/R&B crooner also scored two moderate hit singles on the charts with Turn Off The Lights (Soul/R&B No. 2, Pop No. 48) and Come Go With Me (Soul/R&B No. 14), respectively. Also available on The Essential Teddy Pendergrass.
Your Mama Wants Ya Back and Don’t Call Her No Tramp by Betty Davis: To this day, the sexually expressive and provocative American Funk singer Betty Davis remains a cult figure, even more so than like-minded Soul songstress Millie Jackson. Produced by Betty Davis herself, her aptly titled second album, They Say I’m Different, was released in 1974, but it wasn’t a commercial success; neither were the sweaty Funk singles Your Mama Wants Ya Back and Don’t Call Her No Tramp. Also available on This Is It! Anthology.
For more classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, also read: