Classics: Change – You Are My Melody (WEA)
No matter what… Reviewing a piece of music has always been like a tricky exercise. Not in itself though as long as you have a certain knowledge as to who/what you’re talkin’ about. And, by that, a background that will allow you to put things in perspective. But more in regards to the reactions of the readership you’re addressing yourself to…
Say “you are my melody” about a piece of music. And, by that, sort of get yourself in the shoes of the readers has something of quite pretentious. Even though it’s nothing else but the role of the prescriber at the end.
A quick look as to how things managed to happen, and I would pretty much tend to think not everybody at RFC/Atlantic was convinced about the potential of Change back then. Mind you changes had occured since the early days of the band. With Luther Vandross goin’ solo after the release of their first album. And, more importantly executive producer Jacques Fred Petrus recruiting up and coming pair Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to produce Change‘s 5th album. And, by that, replacin’ Mauro Malavasi…
I guess it would be quite unfair stating this important change marked a key change in the sound of the group. No folks, the transition happened to be soft. With the warm and aerial ‘You Are My Melody’ comin’ up as a step forward. With thanks to its brilliant vocal performance and stellar arragements over a blowing bassline.
Obviously not enough though to have RFC/Atlantic releasing it as a single Stateside. Nor in certain other countries with local indy labels putting it out such as Carrère via Clever in France for instance.
One of the highlights from the 1984 ‘Change Of Heart’ album along with its title track.
– The end of the 70’s saw the establishment of a new team en route for worldwide recognition in the Disco/Funk circuit. On one hand, Jacques Fred Petrus, a French West Indies native who would act as an executive producer. And on the other, Mauro Malavasi, an Italian musician, songwriter, arranger and producer who crafted their sound in his Bologna-based studio. A song which he elaborated with bass player Davide Romani and guitarist Paolo Gianolio.
They started their collaboration back in 19878. Delivering no less than two albums. Respectively for Macho and Peter Jacques Band. With both of them in a typical Italian Disco vein.
1980 marked a big change for them artistically speaking. This with the arrival of Change‘s ‘The Glow Of Love’ album. An album which saw them defining a new standard and, in the meantime, a signature sound in the Disco/Funk circuit. With thanks to cuts such as ‘A Lover’s Holiday’ or ‘Angel In My Pocket’ featuring Jocelyn Brown. It also brought Luther Vandross to the first league with gems such as its title track and ‘Searching’. But also The B.B.& Q. Band (‘On The Beat’, ‘All Night Long’, ‘Starlette’). Then High Fashion (‘Feelin’ Lucky Lately’) or Zinc (‘Street Level’, ‘Punkulation’) to a lesser extend. And, last but not least, Ritchie Family (‘I’ll Do My Best (For You Baby)’)
Change released 6 albums between 1980 and 1985 and an impressive series of classics in the meantime. From ‘The Glow Of Love’ and ‘Searching’. To ‘Hold Tight’, ‘Heaven Of My Life’ and ‘The Very Best In You’. Not to mention ‘Change Of Heart’ and ‘You Are My Melody’ with production work courtesy of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. And, last but not least, the Nick Martinelli produced ‘Mutual Attraction’ back in 1985.
An accusation of tax evasion by the US Internal Revenue Service hit Petrus back in 1986. As a result, he put his activities on hold and fled to his native Guadeloupe. He got shot a few months after, in the late Spring of 1987, reportedly by a Swiss man whom he’d had a dispute with a few hours before at his owned club L’Elysée Matignon in Le Gosier…
Change eventually came to release and extra album – their seventh – back in 2010. But it was more of a collection that should have seen the light twenty years before.
2018 sees them back to the forefront along with Mauro Malavasi and Davide Romani, a new line-up of singers and musicians and a new album by the likes of ‘Love 4 Love’. An effort comin’ up with all the ingredients that made Change sounding like no other back in the ealy 80’s. In other words, a stellar Disco/Funk approach. Itself enlightened by the presence of First League singers along with lush arrangements. This resulting in an impressive amount of goodies from ‘Hit Or Miss’ to ‘All My Life’. But also ‘Make Me Go Crazy’ in a vein somehow reminding of Bruno Mars‘ ’24K Magic’. These in addition to ‘Living In Your Love’ and ‘How Will We’. Not to mention a couple of remixes of classics such as ‘Searching’ and ‘Oh What A Feeling’ featuring respectively Luther Vandross and Deborah Cooper.