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Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Nite Retro

Welcome to Friday Nite Retro - where everything old is new again! Tonight I'm featuring the American-Latin freestylings of 80's diva Lisa Velez. But you can call her Lisa Lisa; everybody else does! Lisa and her band Cult Force were assembled and produced by Full Force. They ran the dance charts from 1985-1991.

The group released their debut album Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force in 1985. The Personal Records label had leased their single "I Wonder If I Take You Home" to the European division of CBS Records for the compilation album Breakdancing. Stateside club DJs began playing the single from the import LP, and thus the U.S. division of CBS, Columbia Records, released the record. It quickly became a chart-topper on Billboard's Hot Dance/Disco chart. It then crossed over to the R&B chart where it peaked at #6, and then to the pop chart, peaking at #34 in summer 1985. The single eventually went gold.

I Wonder if I Take You Home

I Wonder If I Take You Home" was followed by another club hit, "Can You Feel the Beat," which also went to #40 on the R&B chart in late 1985.

Can You Feel the Beat

Their third single, the ballad "All Cried Out," also went gold, going to number #3 R&B and #8 pop in summer 1986. "All Cried Out" was later covered by Allure in 1997 and was a hit in 1998. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam with Full Force went platinum.

All Cried Out

Their second album, Spanish Fly, was a huge success in 1987. It spawned two #1 pop hits, "Head to Toe" and "Lost In Emotion," both of which went gold and both of which sported a retro Motown flavor mixed with the Freestyle sound they were known for. "Head to Toe" also parked at #1 R&B for two weeks, and with its strong Mary Wells influence, "Lost in Emotion" did as well.

Head to Toe

Lost in Emotion

1989's Straight to the Sky was a moderate hit that included the Top 20 pop/#3 R&B single, "Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star," as well as the club hits "Just Git It Together" and "Go For Yours." "Go For Yours" was featured in the movie Caddyshack II and is found on its soundtrack exclusively.

Little Jackie Wants to be a Star

Their fourth and final album, Straight Outta Hell's Kitchen, was less of a commercial success, though it did include a hit with "Let the Beat Hit 'Em," which reached the pop Top 40 and was a #1 hit on both the R&B and club charts.

Let the Beat Hit 'em

The group disbanded in 1991. Velez pursued both solo and acting careers, and Moseley and Hughes went on to do other projects. Lisa Lisa released a solo album called
LL 77 in 1994, which included the moderate club hit "When I Fell In Love" and the notable single "Skip To My Lu," which hit #38 on the R&B chart.

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