Monday, March 7, 2011

Lee Ritenour - "Is it You"

Is It You? - Rit, Vol. 1

(Debuted April 25, 1981, Peaked #15, 16 Weeks on the Chart)

Although "Is it You" shows as his only Top 40 hit, Lee Ritenour was no stranger to popular music. He had been adding his guitar to many projects over the years. Adept at several different styles, he was known as "Captain Fingers" for his nimble fretwork. By the time he was 16, he was doing sessions for The Mamas & the Papas. By the mid 1970s, he had become one of L.A.'s highly sought-after session musicians and his work appeared on hundreds of albums that came out of the city. Among the better known acts who used his services: Barbra Streisand, Pink Floyd (he recorded extra guitars for The Wall's "Run Like Hell"), Diana Ross, Steely Dan and George Benson. His guitar was featured on Melissa Manchester's 1979 hit "Don't Cry Out Loud" and in the original instrumental scores for the films Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

When he released "Is it You" as a single from his Rit LP, he stayed behind his guitar. Eric Tagg, his bass player, took care of the vocals for the song. A promotional video for the song (as well as another for the non-Hot 100 song "Mr. Briefcase") were among the videos played on the first day of programming for MTV on August 1, 1981, even though the song was no longer on the Hot 100 at the time.

Although Ritenour only had one more low-charting hit under his name, he has continued to be busy on the road and in the studio. He has also continued providing his licks to movie scores, composing the love theme to An Officer and a Gentleman, among others.

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