For a generation already bored of the first black president, it seems remarkable that it wasn’t until the 1982 that Prince’s “1999” became the first video aired by a black artist on MTV, with Billie Jean to follow a few months later. These two artists were so ubiquitous to the decade that their acceptance paints over the plurality of those who might have blown up if the eighties were as enlightened as we’d like to remember.
To be fair, the underperformance of eighties soul had a lot to do with it being slightly ahead of its time, going against the rock-tinged sound of the era with a slick production style that would mark a transition from traditional American rhythm & blues, to the contemporary R&B sound that has since seamlessly integrated with the whole of popular music.
Empire – Big City (Extended Version)
Fatback Band – Is This the Future?
Midnight Star – Headlines
Gwen McCrae – Funky Sensation
The System – You’re In My System
Oran Juice Jones – The Rain (12” Mix)
Cherrelle feat. Alexander O’Neal – Saturday Love
Peech Boys – Don’t Make Me Wait
Toney Lee – Reach Up
David Joseph – You Can’t Hide Your Love From Me
Dazz Band – Let It All Blow
Herb Alpert – Keep Your Eyes On Me
Con Funk Shun – Burnin’ Love
Colonel Abrams – Trapped
Jermaine Stewart – We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off
Jets – Crush On You
SOS Band – No One’s Gonna Love You
Keni Burke – Risin’ To The Top
Mtume – Juicy Fruit (12” Single Version)
Loose Ends – Hanging On a String (Contemplating)
The Controllers – Stay (Extended Remix)
Midnight Star – Curious
The Mary Jane Girls – Shadow Lover (Interlude)
Womack & Womack – Love T.K.O.
The Art of Noise – Moments In Love
Prince – Adore
The Commodores – Nightshift