One thing missing from Black Music Month thus far is an announcement on what artists TVOne is going to spotlight in the next cycle of their award-winning music mini-documentary series “Unsung.” By this time in the month/spring/summer, information has leaked about who the next cycle will be featuring (last summer’s season started June 25), but there hasn’t been any legitimate information (that my four eyes have seen) about an upcoming season.
If TVOne needs some help finding artists to spotlight, consider what you’re reading now to be a suggestion list. There are a few different ways they could approach episodes about these artists I’m suggesting, but unless a program director or executive producer happens to stumble upon this blog, it’s all just for fun. Nevertheless, here we go.
1) The SOS Band: Short for “Sounds Of Success,” The SOS Band hit the charts in 1980 with a last-gasp disco-type record “Take your time (Do it right)” and then became the test group for a songwriting-producing duo named Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. Jimmy and Terry amped up the group’s sound, creating a string of hits starting with “Just be good to me” to “The Finest.”
2) Cameo: Another funk band who adjusted to the synth sound of the 80s, Cameo’s chart-high prime started with “I just want to be” in the summer of 1979 and kept on throughout most of the 80s, including memorable jams like “She’s strange,” “Single Life,” “Word Up” and “Candy.”
3) Charlie Wilson and The Gap Band: Uncle Charlie probably deserves an Unsung to himself, but we can’t forget the group he and his brothers started in Tulsa, Oklahoma, having great success in the 80s with great songs like “Burn Rubber,” “You Dropped A Bomb On Me,” “Early in the morning” and “Outstanding.”
4) The Emotions: Rumored to be shooting for the upcoming season, this sister group from Chicago had a nice run in the 70s, first with Stax Records, then working with Earth Wind & Fire leader Maurice White to create some of the mid 70‘s best R&B, including the classic ballad “Don’t ask my neighbors.”
5) Bobby Brown: I know you’re thinking the “King of R&B” as his late ex-wife Whitney Houston once described him couldn’t be Unsung, but when you think about his solo career, it flies under the radar. Don’t be cruel and Bobby were great albums, but it would be interesting to go behind the scenes of those albums to see just how he was able to work with Babyface/LA Reid and make these hits.
6) A producers edition/series: Why not? The artists spotlighted will always be there, but we don’t get enough of the music aspect. You could do an extended version of the show much like they did with Disco and spotlight guys like Leon Sylvers, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Narada Michael Walden, Terry Riley, Marcus Miller and so on.’
7) New Jack Swing: Same as above. New Jack Swing was an important movement in R&B in the late 80s and early 90s and it wasn’t just the music. The style of clothes, the cars, the era – it could all make for another awesome extended show.
8) Tevin Campbell: One of the better singers for his age in quite sometime, Tevin Campbell kinda disappeared in the 90s and only recently re-emerged in public. Would be interested to see what he’s up to and talk about the high points of his career, which were quite high.
So who do you suggest TVOne spotlights for Unsung? Would certainly love to read or hear your thoughts in the comments section of this post.