On this day in music history: April 8, 1980 – “The Glow Of Love”, the debut album by Change is released. Produced by Jacques Fred Petrus, it is recorded at Fontoprint Studios in Bologna, Italy, The Power Station and Media Sound Studios in New York City from Late 1979 – Early 1980. In 1979, businessman Jacques Fred Petrus, and musicians Mauro Malavasi and Davide Romani create a band. Calling it Change, the name and concept for it is a studio creation, with a revolving line up. To give the project wider appeal, they hire songwriters Wayne Garfield, Paul Slade and Tanyayette Willoughby to pen lyrics and American singers. The tracks are recorded in Italy, then brought to the US to overdub the vocals. The singers hired to front Change include Jocelyn Brown (née Shaw) and Luther Vandross. Brown, a first call background singer with a resume that includes singing with Cerrone, Musique, Inner Life and Chic, contributes lead vocals on “Angel In My Pocket” and “It’s A Girl’s Affair”. Luther Vandross, another Chic Organization alumnus, also has an impressive background. As a backing vocalist, Vandross sings with major artists including David Bowie, Bette Midler, Diana Ross and Roberta Flack. He’s heavily sought after for his brilliant vocal arranging skills, and carves out a highly lucrative career as a commercial jingle singer. One of the industry’s “best kept secrets”, Luther tires of being in the background, and is looking for a chance to grab the spotlight. Initially hired for backing vocals, the producers also want him to sing lead vocals. Vandross agrees, but with certain caveats. If he doesn’t like his performances, he wants them erased, and he wants to be properly credited on the record. They readily agree to both demands. Singing lead on two tracks, everyone is more than satisfied with the results. Released on Ray Caviano’s RFC Records, Change’s debut is launched with “A Lover’s Holiday” (#5 R&B, #1 Club Play, #40 Pop, #14 UK). An instant classic, “Holiday” (along with two other tracks), tops the Billboard Club Play chart for nine weeks. The follow up is “Searching” (#23 R&B, #1 Club Play, #11 UK), then the title track (#49 R&B, #1 Club Play, #14 UK) both featuring Vandross’ spirited leads. The songs raise Vandross’ profile, to the point where many DJ’s introduce them as “Change Featuring Luther Vandross”. “Glow” later becomes the basis of Janet Jackson’s #1 single “All For You” in 2000. Considered one of the last gasps of the Disco Era, the debut album by Change provides the launch pad for Luther Vandross’ career as a solo artist, and is regarded as a dance floor classic. Originally released on CD in 1992, it’s most recently reissued by Warner Music Japan in 2014. “The Glow Of Love” peaks at number ten on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty nine on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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