On this day in music history: June 13, 1987 – …

On this day in music history: June 13, 1987 – “Rock Steady” by The Whispers hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #7 on August 29, 1987. Written by L.A. Reid, Babyface, Dwayne Ladd and Bo Watson, it is the second chart topping single for the R&B vocal quintet from Los Angeles, CA. Future superstar songwriters and producers L.A. Reid and Kenny “Babyface” Edmunds come to the attention of Solar Records founder Dick Griffey in 1983 through members of the band Midnight Star who are also signed to the label. At the time Reid and Edmunds are members of The Deele, who are signed to Solar and score a hit with their debut single “Body Talk” later in the year. Fast forward a few years ahead, Solar’s biggest act The Whispers begin work on a new studio album after taking a three year hiatus. Big fans of The Whispers, Reid and Edmunds volunteer to write and produce something for the group and they will give them a shot. The original idea for what becomes “Rock Steady” comes from Babyface while working on music in his apartment. Friend and Midnight Star member Bo Watson drops in on Face, and the two start throwing song ideas back and forth. Watson lays down a rhythm pattern on a Linn 9000 drum machine, while Face begins playing a keyboard line from a song fragment he has called “Rok Steady”. The pair along with L.A. Reid and singer Dwayne Ladd finish writing the song and quickly record a demo. The Whispers like the song immediately, and cut their vocals on the track. Issued as the first single from their sixteenth album “Just Gets Better With Time”, “Rock Steady” quickly becomes The Whispers’ biggest hit in years. Not only is the song an R&B smash, it gives the veteran group their biggest pop hit ever, and their highest charting single since “And The Beat Goes On” over seven years before. The huge success of “Rock Steady” drives the accompanying album to number one on the R&B album chart, and to Platinum status in the US.