Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cameo - Word Up

One of the more interesting (and eccentric) bands of the 1980's was the funk group known as Cameo.  The band was formed in the mid-1970's, with front man Larry Blackmon ( a Julliard grad) serving as the focal point.  While they had some success in the 70's and early 80's, it was their 1986 release, Word Up (and the single of the same name) that really launched them into mainstream stardom -- the single peaked at #6 on the Billboard charts, while the album hit #8.

The "Word Up" video does a great job of highlighting the band's strengths -- it's a great funk song accentuated by their flair for the dramatic -- including Blackmon's red codpiece, and a young LeVar Burton (as a police detective trying to arrest the band).

"Word Up" represented the peak for Cameo, and while they released a few subsequent albums, they were not able to recapture the magic.  Larry Blackmon went on to become an A&R executive at Warner Bros.

Cool trivia fact:  "Word Up" samples from ... the theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" by Ennio Morricone (yes, really).

"Candy," the underrated second single from the Word Up album was posted on ERV in March, 2015.