On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – …

On this day in music history: July 13, 1985 – “Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)” by Loose Ends hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #43 on the Hot 100 on August 24, 1985. Written by Carl McIntosh, Jane Eugene and Steve Nichol, it is the first US chart topper for the London based R&B trio. The band record the track in the US at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia. The single is produced by American R&B producer and remixer Nick Martinelli who had previously worked with Bootsy Collins, Yarbrough & Peoples, and Stephanie Mills. Carl “Macca” McIntosh plays the songs distinctive guitar hook, a mixture of lead and rhythm that proves very influential, as well as the tracks innovative use of the Roland TR-808 drum machine. Originally released in the UK on Virgin’s 10 Records imprint in February of 1985, it is picked up for US release by MCA Records. First released in the UK on their second album “So Where Are You?”, “Hangin’ On A String” is added to the US edition of their debut album “A Little Spice” in April of 1985, quickly becoming a hit on R&B radio and on the dance floor. The American success of “Hanging On A String” opens the door to a number of other British based R&B artists including Soul II Soul, 52nd Street (“Tell Me (How It Feels”) ) and Princess (“Say I’m Your Number 1”), in the 80’s and beyond. “Hangin’ On A String” is also sampled by rap group Digital Underground on their single “Oregano Flow” in 1996. It is also sampled by Wiz Khalifa on the track “The Kid Frankie” in 2010.