Shalamar Biography

This act was created by Dick Griffey, booking agent for US television’s Soul Train show, and Simon Soussan, a veteran of UK’s northern soul scene. The latter produced ‘Uptown Festival’, a medley of popular Motown Records favourites, which was issued on Griffey’s Solar label. Although credited to ‘Shalamar’, the track featured session musicians, but its success inspired Griffey to create a performing group. Jody Watley (30 January 1959, Chicago, Illinois, USA), Jeffrey Daniels (b. 30 January 1959, Chicago, Illinois, USA) and Gerald Brown were recruited via Soul Train in 1977, although Brown was replaced the following year by Howard Hewett (b. 1 October 1955, Akron, Ohio, USA). ‘The Second Time Around’ gave the trio an R&B chart topper in 1979, but subsequent releases were better received in the UK, where lightweight soul/disco offerings, including ‘I Can Make You Feel Good’, ‘A Night To Remember’ and ‘There It Is’, provided three Top 10 entries in 1982.

Daniels and Watley left the group to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Delisa Davis and Micki Free, joined in 1984. The group won a Grammy award for ‘Don’t Get Stopped In Beverly Hills’, a track from Heartbreak used in the Eddie Murphy movie Beverly Hills Cop, but Hewett’s departure in 1986 eroded any new-found confidence. Sidney Justin restored the group to a trio, and they continued to have further, albeit minor, hit singles. By now, Shalamar’s golden, if brief, period had ended; nevertheless, the trio staggered on for a few more years into the early 90s when Justin, along with Free and Davis, recorded Circumstantial Evidence (produced by L.A. And Babyface) and Wake Up.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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