Friday, September 30, 2011

Narada Michael Walden - "I Shoulda Loved Ya"

I Shoulda Loved Ya - The Dance of Life

(Debuted February 9, 1980, Peaked #66, 6 Weeks on the Chart)

You may not recognize Narada Michael Walden's name, but if you're a fan of 1980s music you've been exposed to his work. He wrote songs like "Freeway of Love," "How Will I Know" and "I Don't Want to Cry." As a producer, he was at the console for a long list of #1 hits for Whitney Houston, as well as "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" for Starship and "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" for George Michael and Aretha Franklin.

Before that, he was a musician, both as a session performer and as a featured act. In the 1970s, he replaced the legendary Billy Cobham as drummer in Mahavishnu Orchestra and sat in with Jeff Beck and Tommy Bolin. He began recording during the disco era and used his jazz background to make interesting (and danceable) music. Despite a handful of hits on the R&B and dance charts, he only managed two pop hits: 1979's "I Don't Want Nobody Else (To Dance With You)" and "I Shoulda Loved You." Neither of those reached into the Top 40. However, nobody minded that once the material he wrote and produced caught fire later in the decade.

A deep bass line grabs the listener's attention right at the beginning of the song. Those notes were provided by T.M. Stevens, who also co-wrote the song with Walden. The instrumental bridge provides a terrific bass solo, along with turns for an electric piano and saxophone. This may have been called "disco" at the time, but it was a unfair tag.

No comments:

Post a Comment