Midnight Star (band)

Midnight Star is an American group that had a string of hits in the 1980s.

Midnight Star
OriginFrankfort, Kentucky, U.S.
GenresElectro-funk, soul, disco, R&B
Years active1976–1990, 2000–present
LabelsSOLAR
MembersBelinda Lipscomb
Melvin Gentry
Kenneth Gant
Bobby Lovelace
Bo Watson
Bill Simmons
Past membersReginald Calloway
Vincent Calloway
Jeff Cooper

Band historyEdit

The group was formed in 1976 at Kentucky State University by trumpeter Reggie Calloway, vocalist Belinda Lipscomb,[1] guitarist/drummer/vocalist Melvin Gentry, bassist Kenneth Gant, multi-instrumentalist Bill Simmons, keyboard player/vocalist Bo Watson and guitarist/keyboardist Jeff Cooper, as a self-contained group. They later added non-KSU student trombonist Vincent Calloway (Reginald's younger brother). A 1978 New York City showcase inspired SOLAR Records chief Dick Griffey to sign the group. They released their debut album The Beginning (1980) with some guest studio musicians. In 1981 their second album, released on Solar Records, Standing Together, reached position #54 on the U.S. R&B chart.[2] In 1982 they released a third album, Victory. Using elected band leader Reggie Calloway's production skills, Midnight Star hit the U.S. R&B chart with early singles "Hot Spot" and "I've Been Watching You".[2] Drummer Bobby Lovelace joined the group in late 1982, freeing Gentry to sing and play guitar exclusively.

Midnight Star's fourth album, No Parking on the Dance Floor, was released in 1983, and proved to be their breakout. Featuring a mix of R&B and funk with vocoder vocals, the album hit No. 2 on the Billboard magazine Top Black Albums chart[3] and No. 27 on the Billboard Top LPs & Tape[3] and it went double platinum in the U.S.[4] Its first single, "Freak-A-Zoid", went to No. 2 on the U.S. Black Singles chart.[2] The Washington Post's J. D. Considine argues that this song served to "establish [the] group's stylistic identity" and that it "put Midnight Star on the pop music map because it so perfectly combined the group's technopop tendencies with its R&B roots"[5] Other singles from the album included "Wet My Whistle", and the title track. The album's three singles all charted on Billboard's Hot 100, Black Singles and dance charts.[3] and the album tracks "Slow Jam" (co-written by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds) and "Electricity" received significant airplay.

Their next album, Planetary Invasion, had the same "basic sound...from the chattering electronic pulse to Vincent Calloway's chatty vocoder" as the band's previous release[5] and also went platinum.[4] The first single, "Operator" made the pop Top 20 and the number one spot on the R&B chart; it remains the band's only Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hit to date.[2]

In 1985, Kool & the Gang, Midnight Star, Shalamar and Klymaxx performed at the Marriott Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The band continued on to concerts in San Antonio and Little Rock.[6]

In 1986 the band released their sixth album, Headlines, which was their third album to sell at least gold. It was to be their last with the Calloway brothers. Due to irreconcilable differences with the other members, Reggie was out of the group and Vincent left shortly thereafter. They achieved their biggest success in the UK with "Midas Touch", which made #8, and "Headlines", a #16 hit earlier the same year.[7] Without the Calloways who formed the group Calloway and release an album that spawned the 1990 hit single "I Wanna Be Rich",[8] Midnight Star recorded two more albums, the self-titled Midnight Star and Work It Out. These two albums proved not as successful as their previous three releases, but the singles "Don't Rock the Boat" and "Snake in the Grass" did reach the top ten on the R&B singles chart.[2] The group went on a long hiatus, though they never officially broke up.

The group reunited in 2000 with many of the original members (including all of the singers) and released the album 15th Avenue two years later.[1] Since then, the group has toured sporadically, most recently with a lineup that includes Belinda Lipscomb, Kenneth Gant, Melvin Gentry, Bo Watson, and Bobby Lovelace, with Bill Simmons sometimes joining as well.

Outside workEdit

Outside of Midnight Star, a few band members have contributed to other projects. Bo Watson co-wrote a few songs for singer Toni Braxton. He co-wrote the Babyface duet "Give U My Heart" and "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" from the Boomerang soundtrack as well as the song "Spending My Time With You" on Braxton's self-titled debut. Watson also helped write other songs such as "Turn Down the Lights" for Shanice, "Rock Steady" for The Whispers and "Meeting in the Ladies' Room" for Klymaxx.

Reggie and Vincent Calloway went on to produce such acts as Teddy Pendergrass[9] and the Deele.[1]

Belinda Lipscomb appears on Reflection Eternal's 2010 album Revolutions Per Minute on the album track "Long Hot Summer" as well as the second single "In This World". Lipscomb also contributed additional background vocals on "Toyz N Da Hood" from Snoop Dogg's 2011 album Doggumentary.[10] Belinda Liscomb also wrote the track "Let's Keep Dancin'" by Carrie Lucas for her final LP "Horsin' Around".

DiscographyEdit

Studio albumsEdit

Year Album Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales thresholds)
Record label
US Pop
[11]
US
R&B

[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[13]
UK
[14]
1980 The Beginning SOLAR
1981 Standing Together 54
1982 Victory 205 58
1983 No Parking on the Dance Floor 27 2 30
1984 Planetary Invasion 32 7 44 85
1986 Headlines 56 7 69 39 42
1988 Midnight Star 96 14
1990 Work It Out 41
2002 15th Avenue Reel Star
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

Compilation albumsEdit

SinglesEdit

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US
[11]
US
R&B

[11]
US
Dan

[11]
NLD
[12]
NZ
[13]
UK
[14]
1980 "Make It Last" 85 The Beginning
"You're the Star"
1981 "I've Been Watching You" —– 36 Standing Together
"Tuff" 60
1982 "Can't Give You Up"
"Hot Spot" 108 35 Victory
"Victory" 83
1983 "Freak-A-Zoid" 66 2 44 3 No Parking on the Dance Floor
"Wet My Whistle" 61 8 15 60
1984 "No Parking (On the Dance Floor)" 81 43 44
"Night Rider"
"Operator" 18 1 15 66 Planetary Invasion
1985 "Scientific Love" 80 16 19
"Curious" 92
"Body Snatchers" 31
1986 "Headlines" 69 3 34 16 Headlines
"Midas Touch" 42 7 29 8
"Engine No. 9" 11 81 64
1987 "Stay Here by My Side"
"Do the Prep" Penitentiary III
1988 "Don't Rock the Boat" (feat. Ecstasy of Whodini) 3 36 Midnight Star
"Snake in the Grass" 10
1989 "Love Song" 55
1990 "Do It (One More Time)" 12 Work It Out
"Luv-U-Up" 58
"Red Roses"
2013 "Unity" (with Bootsy Collins, Shirley Murdock, Zapp, Eddie Levert)
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Bush, John. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Midnight Star Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Midnight Star". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 14, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e "American certifications – Midnight Star". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved January 31, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Considine, J. D. (January 3, 1985). "Midnight Star's Trek". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "Box Score Top Grossing Concerts". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. June 1, 1985. pp. 48–. ISSN 0006-2510.
  7. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 363. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  8. ^ "Calloway Top Songs / Chart Singles Discography". Music VF. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  9. ^ Bush, John. "Calloway - Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved November 11, 2021.
  10. ^ Snoop Dogg- Doggumentary (CD liner notes). Doggystyle/Priority Records. 509999 07952 2 0
  11. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > Midnight Star". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ a b "NLD Charts > Midnight Star". MegaCharts. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ a b "NZ Charts > Midnight Star". Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved August 19, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Midnight Star - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company.

External linksEdit