15. Jammin' Til The Break Of Dawn
Stevie could not allow another 2 or 3 years to go by before
releasing another album. Hence he was under pressure to get back to
the studio to come up with material for a new record.
However while working on tracks for what would
be supposedly a more commercial offering, he found time to work on
albums for both Jermaine Jackson and Roberta Flack.
Jermaine Jackson then the son-in-law of Berry Gordy, opted to stay with Motown as a
solo artist when the Jackson 5 left for Epic records. His previous 2
solo albums were unsuccessful, and Berry Gordy felt it necessary to
inject some life into his son-in-law's waning career. When he heard
a track Stevie was working on called
Lets Get Serious, he thought it
would be ideal for Jermaine. The track showed that Stevie's
commercial spark was clearly not blunted. Two other songs on the
album was also written and produced by Stevie,
You're Supposed To Keep
Your Love For Me and Where Are
You Now. The former was also released as a single, though did not achieve the
success as did
Let's Get Serious.
On Roberta's album, titled
Roberta Flack Featuring
Stevie contributed 2 songs. Donny had died the previous year from an
unfortunate fall from an office building. The cause has never been
verified, as there have been theories ranging from suicide to
tripping while under the influence of drugs. One of Stevie's songs
on the album,
You Are My Heaven,
was a Roberta/Donny duet and co-written with Eric Mercury. The other
was a disco smash called
Don't Make Me Wait Too
Also in 1980, Stevie contributed a song on Quincy Jones' album
The track Betcha Wouldn't Hurt Me also
featured Stevie on Synthesizers.
By May 1980 a press release of a forthcoming
album titled Hotter Than July for July release was greeted with much
skepticism by the press. As expected July came and went with no new
record. However in August, concert dates were announced in the UK at
Wembley Stadium, titled Hotter Than July Music Picnic, fuelling
speculation of the album's imminent release.
To promote the tour
dates, Stevie released the single,
Masterblaster (Jammin'), though
this was not necessary to ensure the instant sell-out of the 7
nights. On the last night September 7th, Stevie was joined on-stage
by Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye causing pandemonium amongst the 8,000
strong audience. An extra date was then added on the 8th September
to raise funds for charity.
The album was eventually released in October to
much more favourable reviews than were afforded his previous record.
It was more assessable to the record buying public, containing a
more traditional collection of Stevie songs. It was written produced
and arranged by Stevie and recorded and mixed at his own recently
purchased studio called Wonderland in Los Angeles.
The album kicks off with a soft 'ahh' that builds up to a crescendo and
then the guitar crashes in
Did I Hear You Say You
Love Me. A great
intro to an album.
All I Do follows, a song written back in 1967,
but until then never released featuring the O'Jays, Betty Wright and
Michael Jackson on background vocals. Next is
Rocket Love a
beautiful ballad, featuring a moving string arrangement by Paul
Riser. I Ain't Gonna Stand For It, the second single from the
includes the Gap Band on background vocals, and inspired drumming by
Stevie. It reached #10 on the UK charts, 4 on the US R&B and 11 US
pop. As If You Read My Mind ended off side A of the then vinyl
Masterblaster opened Side 2, a reggae flavoured number that
paid tribute to Bob Marley. It topped the US R&B charts, #5 pop and
#2 UK. In Do Like You Stevie writes about his 2 kids, and
Your Face he describes the plight of people looking for housing, but
denied because of the colour of their skin.
Lately a beautiful
ballad, was the third single peaking at #3 UK but not faring too
well in the US where it only managed a disappointing #64 pop.
Closing the album was
Happy Birthday a song paying homage to Dr.
Martin Luther King that would become an anthem for the movement to
make his birthday January 15th a National Holiday.