On this day in music history: July 7, 1989 – &…

On this day in music history: July 7, 1989 – “Tender Lover”, the second solo album by Babyface is released. Produced by Babyface and L.A. Reid, it is recorded at Elumba Studios, Galaxy Sound in Los Angeles, CA and M’Bila Studios in Hollywood, CA from Late 1988 – Mid 1989. Having made a major name for himself as a songwriter and producer with Deele band mate L.A. Reid during 1987 and 1988 producing huge hits for Bobby Brown, The Whispers, and Pebbles to name a few, Babyface returns to the studio in late 1988 looking to put his own prodigious talents as a singer and songwriter front and center. Having released the modestly successful solo album titled “Lovers” in 1986, it does not get the full promotional support of Solar Records then distributor Capitol Records resulting in light sales. With Solar signing a distribution deal with Sony Music through Epic Records, the label has the companies full support and marketing muscle behind him this time out. A solid balance of uptempo tracks mixed with Face’s signature ballads, the resulting album is a grand tour de force, and regarded as one of the best R&B albums of the era. “Tender Lover” also experiences major pop crossover success as well as cementing Babyface’s reputation with his core African American fan base, also making him a huge crossover solo star in the process. It spin off four singles including “It’s No Crime” (#1 R&B, #7 Pop), “Whip Appeal” (#2 R&B, #6 Pop), and the title track (#1 R&B, #14 Pop). Several other songs like “Soon As I Get Home”, “Sunshine”, and “Given A Chance”, though not released as singles, become huge fan favorites and airplay staples on Quiet Storm format stations. It receives three Grammy nominations including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and Producer Of The Year in 1990.  The album is remastered in 2001 with the 12" mixes of “Whip Appeal”, “My Kinda Girl” and the dub mix of the title track added as bonus tracks. “Tender Lover” spends eleven weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number fourteen on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.