Classics: Calloway – I Wanna Be Rich (SOLAR)
For you regular of these shores, the Calloway‘s name shouldn’t sound that unfamiliar. As for the others, Cincinatti, OH hailing trumpeter Reggie Calloway and his brother Vincent made theselves quite a reputation in the 80’s R&B circuit.
This while contributing to the establishment of Dick Griffey‘s SOLAR label as a major force starting from the end of the 70’s.
Along with his brother and fellow students, Reggie put together Midnight Star. Then he delivered a string of top notched productions for various luminaries. From ‘Joy’ and ‘Love Overboard’, respectively for Teddy Pendergrass and Gladys Knight. To The Whispers‘ ‘Contagious’ and Levert‘s ‘Casanova’ to name a few. And how to not think of Calloway whom he gave birth to with Vincent? The brothers delivering their biggest classic by the likes of the uplifting ‘I Wanna Be Rich’. A cut from their 1990 ‘All The Way’ debut-album with remixing work courtesy of Timmy Regisford.
All in all one of those feel good gems you would imagine as the soundtrack to High School comedy films like ‘The Breakfast Club’ for instance…
Midnight Star saw the light back in 1976 at the Kentucky State University. From the reunion between fellow students Reggie Calloway, Belinda Lipscomb and Melvin Gentry. But also Kenneth Gant, Bill Simmons, Bo Watson and Jeff Cooper. Themselves soon after joined by Vincent Calloway then Bobby Lovelace in 1982. After their University days, they eventually relocated to Cincinatti, OH. This before landing a record deal with SOLAR.
Midnight Star dropped their debut-album – ‘The Beginning’ – back in 1980. With Harvey Mason responsible for most of its production. To the exception of ‘Make It Last’, left c/o Leon F Sylvers III. The latter producing its follow-up – ‘Standing Together’ – the year after, including the memorable ‘I’ve Been Watching You’. Meanwhile Reggie Calloway started handling the production duties on the 1982 ‘Victory’ album. Itself mostly remembered for the bumpin’ ‘Hot Spot’.
Bigger success though would come the year after along with the release of their ‘No Parking On The Dance Floor ‘ album. An effort which featured the firing ‘Wet My Whistle’ and the Electro/Funk fueled Freak-A-Zoid’. The group scoring another hit in the same vein – ‘Operator’ – from their 1984 ‘Planetary Invasion’ album. Meanwhile, ‘Headlines’, its follow-up back in 1986, would be their very last with the Calloway brothers. Itself featuring the memorable ‘Midas Touch’.
Two extra albums would come up on SOLAR, by the likes of ‘Midnight Star’ and ‘Work It Out’ respectively in 1988 and 1990. But none of them managed to have a comparable following. Midnight Star nevertheless makin’ a bit of extra noise in the charts with a couple of singles though. Beginning with ‘Don’t Rock The Boat’ and ‘Snake In The Grass’.
Goin’ for a long hiatus from then, although they never disbanded, Midnight Star would resurface some twelve years later. This with a new album by the likes of ’15th Avenue’.
As for Reggie and Vincent Calloway, they went on to release two albums under the Calloway guise. With their first effort – ‘All The Way’ – spanning the memorable ‘I Wanna Be Rich’. This in addition ‘Sir Lancelot’ and its title cut to a lesser extend back in 1989. Not to mention ‘Let’s Get Smooth’, from its follow-up of the likes in 1992. Meanwhile one can find the Calloway signature on the production of a bunch of significant gems. From The Deele‘s ‘Just My Luck’ in 1983 to The Whispers‘ ‘Contagious’ the year after. But also Gladys Knight And The Pips ‘Love Overboard’ and LeVert‘s ‘Casanova’ in 1987. Not to mention Teddy Pendergrass‘ ‘Joy’ and ‘Believe In Love’, respectively in 1988 and 1993 among others.