Category: al jarreau

On this day in music history: May 14, 1987…

On this day in music history: May 14, 1987 – “Moonlighting (Theme)” by Al Jarreau is released. Written by Al Jarreau and Lee Holdridge, it is the twenty seventh single release for the jazz and pop vocalist from Milwaukee, WI. By the mid 80’s, singer Al Jarreau is the at the pinnacle of his career, successfully bridging the worlds of jazz, and expanding his reach to include R&B and pop music. In 1984, the singer is asked to co-write and sing the theme song for a new series, set to debut on ABC in early 1985. The series is the ground breaking comedy-drama “Moonlighting”, starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis as private detectives. Jarreau accepts the offer, writing the lyrics and melody for the theme song with veteran film score composer and arranger Lee Holdridge (Neil Diamond). When “Moonlighting” quickly becomes a hit, fans also become enamored of its theme song. Though at the time, no effort is made to release a longer version of Al Jarreau’s song, which is originally only one minute long. With “Miami Vice” reviving the long dormant genre of television soundtrack albums in late 1985, others begin to follow suit. With music being an integral part of its appeal, the producers of “Moonlighting” decide to also create a spin off soundtrack album. Needing to re-record the theme, Al Jarreau calls on one of the top producers in the business to assist him. Having produced Jarreau’s 1986 album “L Is For Lover”, former Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers produces the expanded version of the theme. The “Moonlighting (Theme)” peaks at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 18, 1987, at #32 on the R&B singles chart on August 1, 1986, and spending one week at #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart on July 25, 1987. It’s an even bigger hit overseas, peaking at #8 on the UK singles chart, becoming Jarreau’s third highest charting single in that country. The UK release is accompanied by an extended 12" single. The original version which includes a sax solo during the break, is later replaced on compilations by a mix that features a harmonica solo in its place. The singer receives a pair of Grammy nominations in 1988, for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion Picture or Television Program. However, the chart success of “Moonlighting” can’t prevent the show from going into a major decline. The downward slope is caused in part by squabbles between Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, and by the sexual and romantic tension between the pairs on screen characters, being broken when they finally consummate their relationship. “Moonlighting (Theme)” marks the beginning of the end of Al Jarreau’s pop chart success, though he continues to enjoy a successful string of Grammy winning jazz vocal albums, until his passing in February of 2017.

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On this day in music history: March 28, 1983 -…

On this day in music history: March 28, 1983 – “Jarreau”, the sixth album by Al Jarreau is released. Produced by Jay Graydon, it is recorded at Garden Rake Studios in Studio City, CA from Mid – Late 1982. Following the critical and commercial success of his double Grammy winning, Double Platinum selling album “Breaking Away”, the veteran jazz/pop vocalist once again collaborates with session guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (Manhattan Transfer, George Benson). “Jarreau” features musical support from top notch studio players including Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass) and The Seawind Horns. The album’s seamless blend of jazz, R&B and pop is another winner for the virtuoso vocalist. It spins off three singles including “Mornin’” (#6 R&B, #21 Pop) and “Boogie Down” (#9 R&B, #77 Pop), receiving four Grammy nominations including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical) in 1984. “Boogie Down” is also prominently featured in the film “Breakin’” (aka “Breakdance” outside the US) in 1984, though is not included on the soundtrack album. An extended version of the track is also issued on a promotional 12" single, at the time of the commercial singles’ original release in 1983. The album is remastered in 2009, and contains one bonus track not included on the original release. “Jarreau” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: July 31, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: July 31, 1981 – “Breakin’ Away”, the fifth studio album by Al Jarreau is released. Produced by Jay Graydon, it is recorded at Dawnbreaker Studios in San Fernando, CA, Garden Rake Studios in Studio City, CA, Sunset Sound and Pasha Music in Hollywood, CA in Early 1981. After recording several acclaimed albums which brings him a solid and loyal following, jazz vocal virtuoso Al Jarreau sets his sights on reaching a wider audience. Exploring the genres of R&B and pop, while maintaining his jazz and vocalese roots. Having worked with ace session guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (The Manhattan Transfer) on his previous album “This Time”, the pair work together again. The album features instrumental support from top notch studio musicians such as Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro of Toto, George Duke, Steve Gadd, Dean Parks, and Jerry Hey. “Breakin’ Away” brings Jarreau his first taste of mainstream pop success, spinning off three singles including “We’re In This Love Together” (#6 R&B, #15 Pop, #6 AC) and the title track (#25 R&B, #43 Pop, #30 AC). It wins two Grammy Awards including Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Male Jazz Vocal Performance in 1982. Originally released on CD in the early 80’s, it is remastered and reissued in Japan by Warner Music Group in 2012, and by Big Break Records (BBR) in the UK in 2015. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP by Music On Vinyl in 2015, making the album available in that format for the first time in over twenty five years. “Breakin’ Away” spends two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, also topping the Jazz album chart, peaking at number nine on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: March 28, 1983 -…

On this day in music history: March 28, 1983 – “Jarreau”, the sixth album by Al Jarreau is released. Produced by Jay Graydon, it is recorded at Garden Rake Studios in Studio City, CA from Mid – Late 1982. Following the critical and commercial success of his double Grammy winning, Double Platinum selling album “Breaking Away”, the veteran jazz/pop vocalist once again collaborates with session guitarist and producer Jay Graydon (Manhattan Transfer, George Benson). “Jarreau” features musical support from top notch studio players including Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro (drums), Abraham Laboriel (bass) and The Seawind Horns. The album’s seamless blend of jazz, R&B and pop is another winner for the virtuoso vocalist. It spins off three singles including “Mornin’” (#6 R&B, #21 Pop) and “Boogie Down” (#9 R&B, #77 Pop), receiving four Grammy nominations including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male and Producer Of The Year (Non-Classical) in 1984. “Boogie Down” is also prominently featured in the film “Breakin’” (aka “Breakdance” outside the US) in 1984, though is not included on the soundtrack album. An extended version of the track is also issued on a promotional 12" single, at the time of the commercial singles’ original release in 1983. The album is remastered in 2009, and contains one bonus track not included on the original release. “Jarreau” peaks at number four on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.