To mark 35 years since Shalamar’s Friends tour, the popular R&B and soul group are heading to Preston Charter Theatre later this month.
Shalamar started life as a manufactured group in 1977. When their first record - Uptown Festival - became a hit he replaced the members with soul train dancers Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley together with singer Gary Mumford, the latter of whom quickly left the group to pursue other interests.
In late 1979, the group was riding high on the US R&B chart with their hit Take That To The Bank when Gerald Brown became the second lead singer to walk out on Shalamar in as many years leaving his fellow band members without a frontman again.
Howard Hewett then joined and his first record The Second Time Around was a million seller. As well as being number one on the US R&B chart it went on to reach number eight in the main Billboard pop chart indicating Shalamar’s intention to cross over with an edgy sound incorporating funk, disco, R&B and pop.
The trio consisting of Howard Hewett as lead vocalist together with Jeffrey Daniel and Jody Watley became known as the “classic” line up of the group. From late 1979 to mid 1983, they racked up more than a dozen hits all over the world including North America, Europe, Africa and Japan.
In the UK, Shalamar are also remembered for Jeffrey Daniel’s famous appearances on Top of the Pops where he introduced body popping and moonwalking to UK audiences. Daniel is also an award-winning choreographer well known for teaching the moonwalk to Michael Jackson as well as co-choreographing some of Jackson’s videos and for being his dance mentor.
At the height of their fame in 1983, Watley and Daniel left Shalamar leaving Hewett to continue the group with new members and further hits resulting in a personal grammy for Hewett.
In 1999, Howard Hewett and Jeffrey Daniel reformed the group and began touring again.
After failing to get Watley back, they offered a spot to Carolyn Griffey, daughter of founder Dick Griffey in 2001. She grew spending a lot time in the offices and studios of Solar Records in the presence of the original Shalamar and their label bandmates including The Whispers, Midnight Star and her mother Carrie Lucas, herself an accomplished R&B artist.
At the age of 18 Carolyn had a record deal with another group Absolute who had two songs featured on the soundtrack of the film Lambada.
Since Carolyn came on board in 2001, the group have been able to extend their performance repertoire to those songs such as Full Of Fire which require a female presence.
Shalamar will be playing at Preston Charter Theatre on Saturday November 18.
For tickets, from £29.70, call 01772 804444 or visit http://www.prestonguildhall.co.uk/shows/