Classics: Five Star – Let Me Be the One (12″ Extended Version) (RCA)
A family band managed by their dad (just like The Jacksons) Five Star formed in 1983. They eventually came to give a face to the British R&B along with Billy Ocean. Both of them, incidentally, living in the same area (Surrey), back in the mid 80’s.
Arranged by Loose Ends and produced by Nick Martinelli, ‘Let Me Be The One’, enlightened by the presence of the late Grover Washington, Jr. on sax, stands as one of their key cuts along with ‘All Fall Down’, ‘System Addict’ and ‘The Slightest Touch’…
Born in Philadelphia, PA, Nick Martinelli made his classes as a teenager in 1969. He then got a job at the Chips warehouse, an independent record distributor for Motown. Developping an understanding of distribution and retail sales, he soon became manager of the company. His aside activities leading him to DJ in the local club scene along with partner David Todd before movin’ into production.
Not surprisingly, Martinelli quotes Philly Sound architect Dexter Wansel as a major influence in terms of studio technique. Stateside, he made himself quite a name on WMOT Records, producing artists such as Fat Larry’s Band, Funk Essentials and Brandi Wells.
Nick first came to prominence in the UK though through his work with Loose Ends. He there would establish an 808 drum machine-driven sound. A sound which he immortalized with the classic ‘Hangin’ On A String (Contemplating)’ soon after followed by ‘Slow Down’. In the same vein, he eventually produced ‘Children Of The Night’ for Mancunian band 52nd Street in 1985. He then would contribute to Five Star‘s recognition with the memorable ‘All Fall Down’ and ‘Let Me Be The One’.
The list of artists he’s been collaborating with fully illustrates his talent and versatility. Standing on his client list, one can find artists such as Sybil Thomas, Phyllis Hyman and Stephanie Mills. But also Diana Ross and Stephanie Mills among many others.
(*) In 1988, Martinelli received the Philadelphia Music Foundation Award for notching the most Top 10 singles in one year. Two years later, they honored him again by naming him Best Urban Producer. In the UK, Blues & Soul never ceased including him in their Soul Top 10 producer list. (* Wikipedia)