Classics: Imagination – Body Talk (R&B Records)
Leee John, Ashley Ingram and Errol Kennedy went on to form one of the most successful British bands in the first half of the 80’s. Its name: Imagination! A group synonymous with 4 platinum discs and 9 gold discs. And more than a dozen silver ones around the world between 1981 and 1983.
From their 1981 ‘Body Talk’ album, the threesome opened their account with its title cut. A lascivious groove which established their own typîcal approach, as opposed to an attempt to reproduce some American style. But also opened a long term collaboration with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, meanwhile receiving the mixing treatment courtesy of Morgan Khan.
The after ‘Body Talk’ was soon after to become history. ‘So Good, So Right’, ‘Burnin’ Up’, ‘Flashback’ and ‘In And Out Of Love’ affirming up their signature and position. As many gems from the same package which the band gave a strong following to. This, via extra classics such as ‘Just An Illusion ‘Music And Lights’ and ‘Changes’. Not to mention ‘Looking At Midnight’…
Singer/keyboardist Leee John came to meet guitarist/bassist Ashley Ingram when he was working as a backing singer for The Delfonics. They formed a songwriting partnership, briefly evolving under the banner of Fizz. They met drummer Jamaica-born Errol Kennedy while auditioning for another transient band named Midnight Express. The latter being a member of TFB (later known as Central Line) before co-founding Midnight Express.
The threesome formed Imagination in early 1981. They teamed up with producers Steve Jolley and Tony Swain, creating a unique sound which won them a huge following during the early 80’s.
‘Body Talk’, their debut-single, opened a consistant string of classics. From ‘Flashback’ to ‘Just An Illusion’. But also ‘Music & Lights’ or ‘Burning Out’ among others. As many hits which established them among the most successful acts in the UK back then.
Like many British acts at the time, they tried to reach the US market with a more Americanized approach. Taken from their 1987 released ‘Closer’ album which marked their debut on RCA, they teamed up with NYC-based producer Arthur Baker. ‘Instinctual’ eventually receiving the Housey remix treatment by the likes of Def Mix famous David Morales with Josh Milan on keyboards.
By the end of that year, Kennedy left the band. John Kept forward with new members, Nat Augustin and Peter Royer, and recorded a last album, ‘The Fascination Of The Physical’, in 1990. The band split 2 years after.
John went to acting, and eventually re-surfaced as a singer in the reality television show, ‘Reborn In The USA’. Meanwhile Ingram enjoyed success as a songwriter for Des’ree.