[Strange Funk] -- 40 years ago this week, Cameo released their 10th album, She's Strange. This one topped the Billboard R&B Albums chart (#1), and it peaked at #27 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart, on its way to a Gold certification for netting over 500,000 sales. How did this veteran funk band generate so much success with this record? By retaining their core funk ethos while not being afraid to experiment. Per AllMusic critic Alex Henderson, young audiences in particular were ignoring horn-powered funk in favor of hip-hop and music that employed modern technology. That is, they wanted electro-, but not necessarily eclectic, funk.
Now, Cameo did not completely abandon those funky horns, but they did embrace new tech and rap, using the changing marketplace to fuel their creativity. The end result is a funk record that is laced with rock, slings raps, and even delivers cooldown segues over some lite jazz. Cameo leader Larry Blackmon's fearlessness in the face of change certainly contributed to his band's durability.
Top moments for me: "Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck," "Tribute to Bob Marley," and "Leve Toi." But don't sleep on the title track and first single. There's a reason it peaked within the top 50 of the UK Singles and US Billboard Hot 100 charts, as well as reaching the #1 slot at the top of Billboard's US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, where it dominated for four weeks.
Flashback: She's Strange (January 16, 1984)
And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!