On this day in music history: May 26, 1990 – &…

On this day in music history: May 26, 1990 – “Hold On” by En Vogue hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on June 30, 1990, and also peaking at #2 on the Hot 100 on July 21, 1990. Written by En Vogue (Cindy Herron, Dawn Robinson, Terry Ellis and Maxine Jones), Thomas McElroy and Denzil Foster, it is first single from the Oakland, CA based R&B vocal quartets debut album “Born To Sing”. Based around a sample of James Brown’s R&B/Funk classic “The Payback”, it is the first of three R&B chart toppers from the album. The track also features the group singing an a cappella version of the song “Who’s Lovin’ You” (originally recorded by The Miracles, though uses The Jackson 5 vocal arrangement) on the intro. The record is initially serviced to club DJ’s on a 12" single through Atlantic Records dance music department in late January 1990. The buzz it creates at street level, successfully crosses the record over to radio. San Francisco based radio station KMEL in En Vogue’s home base of the SF Bay Area are instrumental in helping break the record nationally. Besides its major R&B and pop crossover success, the song becomes a Hip Hop staple when it is sampled on rapper LL Cool J’s hit “The Boomin’ System” later in 1990, and is also featured on DJ Terminator X’s single “Buck Whylin’” in 1991. “Hold On” is the first of three singles by the group to peak at #2 on the Hot 100, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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