1981 Carl Carlton – She’s A Bad Mama Jama
Carl Carlton was born in Detroit, Michigan, and began recording as “Little Carl Carlton” in the mid-sixties. The attempt to cash in on the success of Little Stevie Wonder didn’t pan out. He signed with the Back Beat Records label in 1968. He moved to Houston to be closer to the record company. He released a series of singles from 1969 to 1973 that were mildly successful on the R&B chart and eventually dropped “Little” from his name.
Robert Knight was a member of several local groups before signing a solo contract with the Rising Sons Records label in 1967. The label owners, Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, wrote the song Everlasting Love and had Robert record the song. The single reached #13 on the Hot 100. It was Robert’s only US hit record, although he also reached the charts in the UK in the mid-seventies.
Carl recorded a cover version of Everlasting Love in 1974. His single was more successful than Robert’s and reached #6 on the Hot 100. Soul Train even invited Carl to perform the single on their show.
Rex Smith and Rachel Sweet recorded Everlasting Love as a duet in 1981 that reached #32 on the Hot 100. Gloria Estefan recorded the song without the Miami Sound Machine in 1995 and reached #27. This made the song the second song to reach the Hot 100 in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. A song that originated at Motown was the first (and there isn’t a third).
Carl had a few records reach the R&B chart in the next two years but could not record for a while because of a royalty dispute with ABC Records.
Leon Haywood was a singer/songwriter/producer who had a hit that reached #15 in 1975 when he wrote and recorded I Want’ A Do Something Freaky to You. Dr. Dre and other rap artists sampled portions of the record.
Leon helped Carl get a contract with 20th Century Records and wrote and produced a hit for him. In 1981, Carl’s recording of She’s A Bad Mama Jama peaked at #2 on the R&B chart and reached #19 on the Hot 100. He was invited to perform his second hit record on the Solid Gold television show. Carl even received a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for the recording.
Carl once again scored a few R&B chart records, but never reached the Hot 100 again. He continued singing on the oldie circuit and even recorded a gospel album in 2010.
Oh, I almost forgot: The Temptations (#11 in 1964), Rita Coolidge (#20 in 1978), Daryl Hall & John Oates (#20 in 1985), and UB 40 (#9 in 1990) all recorded The Way You Do The Things You Do, making it the first song to reach the top forty in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
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