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Midnight Star
Origin Frankfort, Kentucky, United States
Genres Pop, Dance, Soul, Electrofunk, Disco, Quiet storm
Years active 1976-1990, 2000-present
Labels Solar, RCA
Members
Belinda Lipscomb
Melvin Gentry
Kenneth Gant
Bobby Lovelace
Bo Watson
Bill Simmons
Former members
Reginald Calloway
Vincent Calloway
Jeff Cooper

Midnight Star is a synth-funk group that had a string of R&B hits in the 1980s.

Contents

Band history

The group was formed in 1976 at Kentucky State University by trumpeter Reggie Calloway, vocalist Belinda Lipscomb, guitarist/vocalist Melvin Gentry, bassist Kenneth Gant, multi-instrumentalist Bill Simmons, keyboard player/vocalist Bo Watson and guitarist/keyboardist Jeff Cooper, as a self-contained group. They would later add non-KSU student trombonist Vincent Calloway (Reginald's younger brother). Signing to RCA Records, they released their debut album The Beginning (1980) with some guest studio musicians. In 1981 their second album, released on Solar Records, Standing Together, reached position #54 on the U.S. R&B chart. In 1982 they released a third album, Victory.

Utiliizing elected band leader Reggie Calloway's production skills, it did not take long for Midnight Star to hit the U.S. R&B chart with early singles like "Hot Spot" and "I've Been Watching You." Drummer Bobby Lovelace joined the group in late 1982, freeing Gentry to sing and play guitar exclusively. Their fourth album, No Parking on the Dance Floor, was released in 1983, and it took them to the top of the charts with the first single, "Freak-A-Zoid," which went to number two. Other singles from the album included "Wet My Whistle," and the title track. These singles, along with the hit album tracks "Slow Jam" (co-written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds)and "Electricity" propelled the album to double platinum status. Their next album, Planetary Invasion, was almost as big, selling platinum again and making the pop Top 20 and the number one spot on the R&B chart with its first single, "Operator." This song remains the band's only Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hit to date.

In 1986 they released their fifth album, Headlines, which was their third album to sell at least gold. It was to be their last with the Calloway brothers. Due to irreconcilable differences with the other members, Reggie was out of the group. Shortly thereafter Vincent left. They achieved their biggest success in the UK with "Midas Touch", which made #8, and "Headlines", a #16 hit earlier the same year.[1 ] Without the Calloways (who would go on to form the group Calloway and release an album that spawned the hit single "I Wanna Be Rich" in 1989), Midnight Star recorded two more albums, the self-titled Midnight Star and Work It Out. These two albums proved not as successful as their previous three release, but did bear fruit with Top Ten R&B singles such as: "Don't Rock The Boat" and "Snake In The Grass". The group went on a long hiatus, though they never officially broke up.

The group reunited in 2000 with many of the original members (including all of the singers) and released the album 15th Avenue two years later. Since then, the group has toured sporadically, most recently with a lineup that includes Belinda Lipscomb, Kenneth Gant, Melvin Gentry, Bo Watson, and Bobby Lovelace, with Bill Simmons sometimes joining as well.

Discography

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Albums

Year Title Billboard 200 position Top R&B Albums chart position Other information
1980 The Beginning Midnight Star's first album
1981 Standing Together 54 Midnight Star's first album on Solar. "Can't Give You Up" is released as a single
1982 Victory 58
1983 No Parking on the Dance Floor 27 2 Midnight Star's biggest album; contains one of their biggest hits, "Freak-A-Zoid"
1984 Planetary Invasion 32 7 Contains their biggest hit, "Operator"
1986 Headlines 56 7 Midnight Star's last album with the Calloways, contains the minor hit "Midas Touch"
1988 Midnight Star 96 14 Midnight Star's first without the Calloways; not as successful as previous albums
1990 Work It Out 41 Midnight Star's last album before they went on hiatus
2002 15th Avenue Midnight Star's first album in twelve years

Charting singles

Year Song U.S. Pop Top R&B Singles Club Play singles Album
1980 "Make It Last" - 85 - The Beginning
1981 "I've Been Watching You" - 36 - Standing Together
"Tuff" - 60 -
1982 "Hot Spot" - 35 - Victory
"Victory" - 83 -
1983 "Freak-A-Zoid" 66 2 44 No Parking on the Dance Floor
"Wet My Whistle" 61 8 15
"No Parking (On the Dance Floor)" 81 43 -
1985 "Operator" 18 1 15 Planetary Invasion
"Body Snatchers" - 31 -
"Scientific Love" 80 16 19
1986 "Engine No. 9" - 11 - Headlines
"Headlines" 69 3 11
"Midas Touch" 42 7 20
1988 "Don't Rock the Boat" - 3 1 Midnight Star
"Snake In the Grass" - 10 50
1989 "Love Song" - 55 -
1990 "Do It (One More Time)" - 12 - Work It Out
"Luv-U-Up" - 58 -

Trivia

  • Bill Simmons (a charter member of the group), recently toured Japan with the group. When he is unable to go on tour Simmons is an instructor with the Cincinnati branch of Brown Mackie College as an instructor of audio technology for the school's Audio/Video Production program.
  • The track "Midas Touch" was remixed and released by Zip Music in Australia in 2005. Using original vocals, UK producers Starskee turned the song into a club smash that entered the ARIA charts at #11 in March 2005 and remained in the chart for 10 weeks. "Midas Touch" on Zip Music Dirty South and Andy Van also did mixes that featured on the release. The track has also been remixed by Boards of Canada under the Hell Interface moniker.
  • The group's biggest hit, "Operator" has been sampled in the house track "Primary School" by Axel Le Baron.
  • "Don't Rock the Boat" has been sampled too in the house track "Music is the Danger" by Axel Le Baron.

References

  1. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 363. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  

External links


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