A Night To Remember

Album: Friends (1982)
Charted: 5 44
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Jody Watley and Howard Hewett of Shalamar go on a hot date to celebrate their love. It's going to be a night to remember, as they toast to those who made it possible: their exes who turned their backs on love.
  • "A Night To Remember" is one of the biggest hits for Shalamar, which had a string of them from 1977-1984. At first, there was no actual group, just a bunch of studio musicians who recorded their songs. They were signed to Soul Train Records, the label associated with the famous TV show, so when they needed an actual group to perform the songs, Soul Train founder Don Cornelius teamed two of his top dancers, Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley, with Gary Mumford, who sang lead on their recordings. Mumford was replaced by Gerald Brown, then by Howard Hewett.

    Jeffrey Daniel was happy to pursue dancing, but Watley wanted to sing and write songs. "A Night To Remember" is one of the few where she gets a lead vocal, and she was rarely allowed to write. She took control by leaving the group in 1983 and starting a very successful solo career, earning the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1988.
  • Jody Watley and Howard Hewett play lovers in this song, but in real life, Watley was paired with the group's producer, Leon Sylvers. They had a child together in 1980 but split up not long after.
  • This song was written by Dana Meyers, Charmaine Sylvers and Nidra Beard. Meyers was part of Leon Sylvers' production team and also co-wrote "It's A Love Thing" for The Whispers; Charmaine is Leon's sister, part of their family band The Sylvers; Beard was in a group called Dynasty, which was on the same label as Shalamar.
  • After BET went on the air in 1980, Black artists started making music videos to air on the network. Shalamar made one for this song, with Watley and Hewett on their date and Daniel playing their bartender/butler.
  • "A Night To Remember" was a big hit in the UK, where it rose to #5. As it was climbing the charts, they got an offer to perform it on Top Of The Pops, a very popular show in Britain where many singers and bands showed up to promote their latest hits.

    Just one problem: the full group couldn't make the trip. Instead of begging off, Jeffrey Daniel pitched a novel idea: he would do a solo dance routine to the song. Performances on the show were always lip-synched anyway, so producers went for it.

    Daniel, who even in the Soul Train universe was a standout dancer, gave them something to remember, blowing minds with a routine where he did some popping and locking, punctuated by a moonwalk (known at the time as a "backslide") where he glided effortlessly across the stage and back again - it looked like a magic trick.

    This performance went down as one of the most memorable in Top Of The Pops history, and introduced these dance moves to the UK. Daniel was such a hit, a few weeks later he returned to the show and did another routine to the same song. A year later, Michael Jackson did the moonwalk on the Motown 25th anniversary TV special and became forever associated with the move, but he learned it from Daniel, who was in the audience that night.

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