Thursday, February 9, 2012

Soul II Soul - "Back To Life"

Back to Life - Keep On Movin'

(Debuted September 23, 1989, Peaked #4, 27 Weeks on the chart)

As the 1980s came to a close, R&B acts from England were often able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the home-grown acts from the United States. Many fans might not think of British artists as big R&B acts, but it should be pointed out that much of the excitement that marked the British Invasion of the 1960s was the fact that the music was heavily influenced by R&B music. Even after that, the Northern Soul movement was big during the 1960s and '70s and remained ingrained in the minds of fans for years afterward. By the late 1980s, there were British R&B fans who were much more knowledgeable about the style than many American fans.

Soul II Soul was a London-based combo that consisted of the DJ Jazzie B and a revolving roster of musicians (notably Caron Wheeler, whose vocals grace "Back To Life" as well as the earlier hit "Keep On Movin'"). Their biggest American pop hit was "Back To Life," which went to #4 on the pop chart and topped the R&B chart. It was also #1 for four weeks in their native U.K. It was a new twist on the R&B style, as well as a tip of the hat to the past.

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