Who? (album)

Who? is the debut album by American R&B band Tony! Toni! Toné! It was released on April 18, 1988, by Wing Records and produced by Foster & McElroy, friends of the band from their hometown of Oakland, California. The album was recorded at Moon Studios in Sacramento.

Who?
Who TTT.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 18, 1988
StudioMoon Studios, Sacramento
GenreR&B, new jack swing, soul[1]
Length44:26
LabelWing, Mercury
ProducerDenzil Foster, Thomas McElroy
Tony! Toni! Toné! chronology
Who?
(1988)
The Revival
(1990)
Singles from Who?
  1. "Little Walter"
    Released: July 13, 1988
  2. "Born Not to Know"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Baby Doll"
    Released: October 1988
  4. "For the Love of You"
    Released: 1989

The album received mixed reviews from critics and was a modest commercial success, reaching number 69 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums, on which it charted for 44 weeks. Its lead single, "Little Walter", became a number-one R&B hit. Who? was eventually certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and reached 700,000 copies sold by 1993.

Recording and productionEdit

Tony! Toni! Toné! recorded Who? at Moon Studios in Sacramento.[2] with producers Foster & McElroy, who were friends of the band from their hometown of Oakland.[3] Foster & McElroy's production used contemporary hip hop and new jack swing sounds that accompanied the band's older soul music background.[1] On "Baby Doll" and "For the Love of You", Tony! Toni! Toné! sang harmonies over the producers' drum machine tracks.[4]

The band also incorporated more eccentric elements to the music. For "Little Walter", they appropriated the melody from Ramsey Lewis' 1966 pop-jazz instrumental hit "Wade in the Water".[5] The lyrics to "261.5" were written with reference to California Penal Code Section 261.5, the state's statutory rape law.[6]

Release and salesEdit

Who? was released on April 18, 1988,[1] by Wing Records.[3] A modest success,[3] it charted for 44 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums, peaking at number 69.[7] The lead single "Little Walter" became an R&B hit and also received considerable pop airplay.[1] On December 5, 1989, the album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), for shipments of 500,000 copies in the United States.[8] By August 1993, it had sold over 700,000 copies in the US.[9]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [1]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [10]
The Philadelphia Inquirer    [5]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [11]

Reviewing for The Philadelphia Inquirer in May 1988, Ken Tucker appraised Who? as "fairly conventional pop rhythms attractively crooned", but applauded the music's "odd influence".[5] Joe Brown from The Washington Post found the group's voices unimpressive and said, "while their very basic harmonizing over the spartan drum-machine patterns on 'Baby Doll' and 'For the Love of You' are probably serviceable on the dance floor, they'd be deadly dull from a concert seat".[4]

In a retrospective review, AllMusic editor Ron Wynn believed the group "made a quick and lasting impact with" the album, particularly with its single "Little Walter".[1] In The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), Fred Schuers said "Little Walter" and "Born Not to Know" revealed the group's "wit", but "these moments are so pointed they leave the disc's love ballads sounding flat".[11] Yahoo! Music's Scott Wilson commented that it was "a very solid debut, with the groundwork for what would follow, but they're just getting their bearings. Did spawn a number one R&B hit with 'Little Walter', but not the juggernauts their later work would be".[12]

Track listingEdit

All songs were written by Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, and D'Wayne Wiggins, except where noted.[2]

  1. "Baby Doll" — 5:40
  2. "For the Love of You" — 5:29
  3. "Who's Lovin' You" — 4:17
  4. "Born Not to Know" (Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy) - 4:42
  5. "Little Walter" — 4:50
  6. "Lovestruck" — 4:29
  7. "Pain" (Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, D'Wayne Wiggins) — 5:40
  8. "261.5" (Timothy Christian Riley, Raphael Wiggins, D'Wayne Wiggins) — 4:04
  9. "Not Gonna Cry for You" (Antron Haile) — 5:15

PersonnelEdit

Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[2]

Tony! Toni! Toné!Edit

  • Tim Christian – drums
  • D'Wayne Wiggins – guitar, vocals
  • Raphael Wiggins – bass, vocals

Additional personnelEdit

  • Elijah Baker – musician
  • Michael Bays – art direction
  • Ed Eckstine – executive producer
  • Denzil Foster – arranger, producer
  • Antron Haile – musician
  • David Houston – engineer
  • Ken Kessie – mixing
  • David Lombard – executive producer
  • Thomas McElroy – arranger, producer
  • Herb Powers – mastering
  • Jennifer Reiley – photography
  • C. Thompson – design
  • Carl Wheeler – musician

ChartsEdit

Chart (1988)[7] Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Top Pop Albums 69
U.S. Billboard Top Black Albums 14

SinglesEdit

Song Chart (1988) Peak
position
"Little Walter" U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 47
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[13] 1
"Born Not to Know" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[14] 4
Song Chart (1989) Peak
position
"Baby Doll" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[15] 5
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[15] 44
"For the Love of You" U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles[16] 6

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Wynn, Ron (August 1, 2003). Who? - Tony! Toni! Toné! | AllMusic: Review. Allmusic. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  2. ^ a b c Who? (CD liner). Tony! Toni! Toné!. Wing Records. 1988. 835 549-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  3. ^ a b c "From Tonies to Townies - Hot Soul Stars Tony! Toni! Tone! Warm Up for a National Tour in Their Hometown". The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento: The McClatchy Company. November 5, 1993. p. TK14. Retrieved 2011-07-24.
  4. ^ a b Brown, Joe (August 19, 1988). "The Way Ta Do It? Like You, Hewett". The Washington Post: n.22. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  5. ^ a b c Tucker, Ken (May 1, 1988). Divinyls Are Back After 3-year Leave - Philly.com. The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  6. ^ Tony! Toni! Toné!. "261.5", Who?, Mercury, 1988.
  7. ^ a b Who? - Tony! Toni! Tone! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.[dead link]
  8. ^ RIAA - Recording Industry Association of America[permanent dead link]. Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.
  9. ^ "13 CLASS ACTS". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Fort Worth: Star-Telegram Operating. August 10, 1993. Retrieved 2012-05-05.
  10. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Tony! Toni! Toné!". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0857125958.
  11. ^ a b Rolling Stone (2004), p. 818.
  12. ^ Wilson, Scott (January 1, 2000). Tony! Toni! Toné! Reviews on Yahoo! Music. Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17.
  13. ^ a b Little Walter - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.[dead link]
  14. ^ Born Not to Know - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b Baby Doll - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.[dead link]
  16. ^ For the Love of You - Tony! Toni! Toné! | Billboard.com. Billboard. Retrieved on 2011-06-17.[dead link]

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit