Happy Birthday: Gerald Levert

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Thursday, July 13, 2017
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Happy Birthday: Gerald Levert

Today we celebrate the birthday of late R&B legend Gerald Levert, and although he may have left us back in 2006, he delivered a lot of smooth soul music before departing. (Not that this should come as any surprise to those who know his heritage:  his father, Eddie Levert, is the lead singer of the O’Jays.) Although he’s arguably best known for being part of the group that shared his last name, those who pay attention to the credits are just as likely to know Gerald for the guest appearances that he made over the course of his career. In fact, we’ve put together a six-pack of tracks that featured Mr. Levert in some vocal capacity, and you might be surprised at how many of them you recognize.

  1. Miki Howard, “That’s What Love Is” (1988): Although she started her singing career as vocalist for the group Side Effect, Howard found her greatest success after embarking on a solo career. Although her debut album, 1986’s COME SHARE MY LOVE, earned her the first top-5 R&B hit of her career (“Come Share My Love”) as well as two additional single successes (“Imagination,” which hit #13, and “Come Back to Me Lover,” which hit #33), it was her sophomore LP, 1987’s LOVE CONFESSIONS, that provided her with this duet with Levert.
  1. James Ingram, “I Wanna Come Back” (1989): Although it wasn’t the biggest hit from Ingram’s IT’S REAL album – that honor goes to “I Don’t Have the Heart,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 – this Gerald Levert / Marc Gordon co-write did climb into the top 20 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.
  1. Troop, “That’s My Attitude” (1989): This track is another Levert / Gordon joint, but here’s an interesting Levert-centric factoid that may blow your mind: during the sessions that he produced for the album, one of the recording engineers was a young man named – wait for – TRENT REZNOR. True story. Absolutely irrelevant, perhaps, but true nonetheless…and arguably pretty darned interesting!
  1. Keith Sweat, “Just One of Those Thangs” (1990): In 1997, Levert joined forces with Keith Sweat and Johnny Gill to form a group with the initial-derived name of LSG, but this wasn’t the first time Levert and Sweat had worked together. Back in 1990, Levert was featured on this track from Sweat’s sophomore album, I’LL GIVE ALL MY LOVE TO YOU.
  1. The Rude Boys, “Written All Over Your Face” (1990): Levert’s appearance on this single might be technically classified as a cameo, so it’s hard to say how much credit you can give him for its success, but given that it climbed all the way to the top of the R&B Singles chart, surely we can dole out a little for him. In fact, make that a lot: after all, he’s the one who discovered the group in the first place!
  1. Silk, “Don’t Keep Me Waiting” (1992): There’s a whole lot of Keith Sweat influence on this album, which stands to reason when you realize that he produced and co-wrote a number of the songs, including this very track.