Wednesday, July 4, 2012

George Benson - "Give Me the Night"

Give Me the Night - Give Me the Night

(Debuted July 5, 1980, Peaked #4, 23 Weeks on the Chart)

(The next paragraph is for the benefit of this blog's foreign readers. According to my stats, there's more of them than you'd realize.)

For my readers here in the U.S., it's July 4th -- Independence Day -- and a custom of the holiday is a celebratory nighttime fireworks show. With that in mind, here's a song about the night...and an upbeat, joyous tune as well. While it's missing the bombastic and patriotic qualities of John Phillip Sousa's best work, it is a great modern song to play while fireworks are going off. 

George Benson made his name as a jazz guitarist and an interpreter of songs. At the time, he also worked as a session artist and built up a rapport with many of the finest artists in the business. Though he was an instrumentalist, he eventually performed on his records as a singer as well. By 1980, he was being produced by Quincy Jones and having ex-Heatwave keyboardist Rod Temperton write songs for him. The two had just worked with Michael Jackson for Off the Wall (and would do the same for Thriller), so Benson was getting top-notch assistance. He also had help from noted studio musician Lee Ritenour and Patti Austin, who provides a great deal of the backing vocals on "Give Me the Night."

With that kind of talent behind him (not to mention that Benson was incredibly talented on his own), it's hard to imagine that the result would have been bad. And "Give Me the Night" certainly didn't disappoint.

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