Change was an Italian-American post-disco group formed in Bologna, Italy in 1979 by businessman and executive producer Jacques Fred Petrus (1949–1986) and Mauro Malavasi (1957). They were heavily influenced by legendary disco band Chic.
Career[edit source | edit]Edit
Concept[edit source | edit]Edit
Change was initially formed in 1979 as a studio-band with a revolving cast of musicians, led by businessman and executive producer Jacques Fred Petrus, with the majority of song-writing and production carried out by Mauro Malavasi and Davide Romani. The band’s dual Italian and American identity was a result of a production system, in which the music, excepting the vocals, were written and recorded by Italian collaborators in studios such as Fontoprint Studios, Bologna, Italy. The backing tracks were then taken to the USA where vocals were added by American performers, before being mixed into finalised versions in major studios such as the Power Station in New York.
Immediate success[edit source | edit]Edit
The band's debut album, The Glow of Love, was released in 1980. It was composed by a small team of writers made up of Romani, Malavasi, Paolo Gianolio (lead guitarist), Tanyayette Willoughby, Paul Slade and Wayne Garfield. The first single was the million seller "A Lover's Holiday" featuring the ad lib stylings of Zachary Sanders, known then for his work on Schoolhouse Rock. The follow-up hits from the album, "Searching" and the title song feature lead vocals byLuther Vandross who had yet to come to prominence. The three songs combined spent 9 weeks at #1 on Billboard's Club Play Singles chart, enough to make it the #1 Disco album of the year and a million seller in the U.S. The success of "Searching" and "The Glow of Love" exposed Luther's voice to mainstream and eventually led to a successful solo career starting in 1981.
The follow-up album, Miracles was released in 1981. It was created by the same collection of writers and producers as had worked on the debut album. Due to contractual differences, Vandross refused to sing lead vocals on any of the album's tracks and was only featured on backing vocals on selected songs. After Miracles, Vandross continued to provide backup vocals for the group until 1981, when he left Change to pursue his solo career. Petrus and Malavasi signed up James 'Crab' Robinson to replace Vandross, owing to his ability to perform in a similar vocal style. Robinson shared vocals with Diva Gray for the album.
Miracles was released to a similar level of success as the début, though it did not manage to produce a mainstream crossover hit such as "A Lover’s Holiday". "Paradise", "Hold Tight," and "Heaven Of My Life", combined were another huge hit on the Billboard Club Play Singles chart, spending 6 weeks at the number one spot in 1981.
Change's 1982 album, Sharing Your Love, moved the band further away from disco and club music and into genres such as R&B and Funk. The lead single "The Very Best In You" was one of the foremost examples of the group's take on R&B. The album also marked a new process in the writing of the band’s albums. The team behind the first albums contributing less, instead a wide range of songs by other writers were recorded. Overall, the album continued a slowly declining trend in the commercial fortunes for the project, though the album sold well and "The Very Best In You" was popular.
Mixed fortunes[edit source | edit]Edit
During the recording and touring of their fourth album, This Is Your Time (1983) Change's relatively stable line-up of performers, writers and producers as well as their commercial success faltered. The album failed to chart a major hit, with the title track flopping in comparison to previous lead singles. After the album's release Rick Brennan stepped into the place of Robinson who left to pursue a solo career, while producers Davide Romani and Mauro Malavasi departed for other projects. At the same time of these important departures, Change was bolstered by the contributions of bassist and songwriter Timmy Allen and returning vocalist Deborah Cooper now promoted to lead, both of whom remained in the band until its demise. After Change, Cooper worked with the C+C Music Factory in the 1990s.
The failure of the 1983 album left future of Change in jeopardy. Petrus wisely hired recently sacked Time members Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis to write and produce what would become Change Of Heart in 1984. The album did well internationally, returning the group to the charts in Europe and the USA. The title track became Change's first top ten R&B hit in three years. Unlike former Change albums which had a large number of song-writers, Change of Heart was written by just three writers, four tracks were by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis' partnership while the remaining four were the work of Timmy Allen.
This upturn in fortune was soon cancelled out. As with previous collaborators, Petrus fell out with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis over a financial dispute, reportedly, the duo was never paid in full. Their loss was huge to the group, as Allen's efforts had fallen short of Jam and Lewis', and were closer to filler. Nevertheless, Allen was given the opportunity by Petrus to write and produce the majority of what became Change's final album in 1985, Turn on Your Radio. This album bore little of the polished dance and R&B sound that the group had always emphasised, and was less successful even than This Is Your Time, though Europe remained receptive to the group. The band's final US hit "Let's Go Together" was notable as it was co-written by Petrus with returning collaborators Davide Romani and Paul Slade.
Demise and future[edit source | edit]Edit
Turn on Your Radio was the band’s commercial low point, but had not been intended as the act’s final release. The formal end came after the death of Petrus in 1986.
While the original Change disappeared after Petrus’ death, Davide Romani, Mike Francis, a.k.a. Francesco Puccioni (1961–2009), and Patrick Boothe attempted to revive the project in 1990. This new Change project was planned for a release on BMG North America under the name ‘X-Change’ in 1992, but due to lack of money, the album was left unreleased.
The availability of the X-Change recordings was resolved in 2009 after Romani closed a deal with the Italian label Fonte Records to release the album late that same year. The album was released under the title Change Your Mind, it was produced by Davide Romani and Francesco Puccioni, written by Davide Romani, Mike Francis and Patrick Boothe, with Boothe as the main lead vocalist.
Line up[edit source | edit]Edit
Change was effectively a studio group composed of session musicians and a core group of collaborators led by Jacques Fred Petrus and Mauro Malavasi. After the release of The Glow of Love and Miracles, Petrus sought to give the group more of an image and put together a group for promotion and live performances. This second line up was relatively stable and contributed to the group's subsequent four albums.
- First line-up (1980 and 1981)
- Luther Vandross - Lead Vocals (1980), Background Vocals (1981)
- Jocelyn Shaw - Lead Vocals (1980)
- Diva Gray - Lead Vocals
- James (Crab) Robinson - Lead Vocals (1981)
- Mauro Malavasi - Piano, Synthesizer
- David Romani - Bass
- Paolo Gianolo - Guitar
- Rudy Revisi - Saxophone (1981)
- Doc Powell - Guitar
- Larry McRae - Bass (1981)
- Terry Silverlight - Drums
- Leno Reyes - Drums
- Onaje Allan Gumbs - Keyboards
- Andy Schwartz - Keyboards
- Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr. - Keyboards
- Maurizio Biancani - Synthesizer
- Second Line-up (1982 to 1985)
- Deborah Cooper - Lead Vocals
- James (Crab) Robinson - Lead Vocals (1982-83)
- Rick Brennan - Lead Vocals, Percussion (1983-85)
- Timmy Allen - Bass, Keyboards, Synthesizer, Background Vocals
- Vince Henry - Guitar, Saxophone
- Michael Campbell - Guitar
- Jeff Bova - Keyboards
- Toby Johnson - Drums (1983-84)
- Rudy Trevisi - Saxophone (1983)
- Bernard Davis - Drums (1983)
Discography[edit source | edit]Edit
The discography of Change includes seven studio albums, eight compilations and twenty-five singles.
Albums[edit source | edit]Edit
|1980||The Glow of Love||29||10||—||—|
|1982||Sharing Your Love
|1983||This Is Your Time
|1984||Change of Heart
|1985||Turn on Your Radio
|2010||Change Your Mind
|"—" denotes the album failed to chart or was not certified|
Compilation albums[edit source | edit]Edit
- Greatest Hits (1985, Renaissance International)
- The Artists Volume 2 (1985, Street Sounds) (with Luther Vandross, Teddy Pendergrass and Atlantic Starr) UK #45
- Collection (1989, Friends Records)
- Best Of Change (1993, Flarenasch)
- The Very Best of Change (1998, Rhino)
- The Best of Change (2xCD, 2003, One Trybal)
- Album Collection (5xCD, 2006, Fonte Records)
- The Final Collection (2xCD, 2007, Fonte Records)
- Greatest Hits & Essential Tracks (2xCD, 2009, Smith & Co)
Singles[edit source | edit]Edit
|1980||"A Lover's Holiday"||40||4||1||—||15||24||14||The Glow of Love|
|"The Glow of Love"||—||49||—||—||—|
|"Heaven of My Life"||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Stop for Love"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1982||"The Very Best in You"||84||16||30||—||—||—||—||Sharing Your Love|
|"Hard Times (It's Gonna Be Alright)" (promo)||—||71||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Sharing Your Love" (promo)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Oh What a Night"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Keep On It"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983||"This is Your Time"||—||33||39||—||—||—||—||This is Your Time|
|"Don't Wait Another Night" (promo)||—||89||—||—||—||—||—|
|"Got to Get Up" (promo)||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984||"Change of Heart"||—||7||17||14||17||—||17||Change of Heart|
|"It Burns Me Up" (promo)||—||61||—||—||—||—||—|
|"You Are My Melody"||—||—||—||—||—||—||48|
|1985||"Say You Love Me Again"||—||—||—||—||—||—||94|
|"Let's Go Together"||—||56||33||—||42||—||37||Turn on Your Radio|
|"Oh What A Feeling"||—||—||—||—||—||—||56|
|"—" denotes the single failed to chart|