Monday, August 29, 2011

George Benson - Give Me the Night

And now for something completely different.

George Benson got his musical start playing ukulele at age 7, and later became an successful jazz guitarist.  By the late 1970's, he was an established star, and his music had evolved into something new -- not jazz, not quite disco, but something that fit in well with the emerging R&B movement.

In 1980, Benson had the smarts or good fortune (or both) to collaborate with Rod Temperton and Quincy Jones.  Quincy Jones went on to become one of the biggest record producers in the world.  Tempeton co-wrote the Michael Jackson songs "Off the Wall," "Rock with You" and "Thriller" (all produced by Jones), along with "Stomp" by The Brothers Johnson.

The resulting song, "Give Me the Night," became Benson's biggest hit, and rose to #4 on the charts.  It also hit #1 on the R&B charts.  The video received little airplay, partly due to the fact that it predated MTV by a good year or so, and partly because MTV was not very friendly to R&B acts in its early days.  It also may have something to do with the roller skates.  Just sayin'.

Cool trivia fact:  supposedly, Quincy Jones suggested the echo on Benson's guitar that drives the sound.

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