DISCO RECHARGE-CHANGE-GLOW OF LOVE AND MIRACLES-SPECIAL EDITION.
DISCO RECHARGE-CHANGE-GLOW OF LOVE AND MIRACLES-SPECIAL EDITION.
It’s quite a feat for any artist to release one critically acclaimed and commercially successful album, never mind two. What makes this even more remarkable is that both albums were released in the disco era. Not many artists managed this, but Change did. Change released their debut album the Glow of Love in 1980, to critical acclaim and commercial success. A year later in 1981, came Change’s sophomore album Miracles. It matched the critical acclaim and commercial of Glow of Love, and both albums have become seminal albums in the history of dance music. Now just over thirty-years later, the Disco Recharge label will rerelease Disco Recharge-Change-Glow of Love and Miracles-Special Edition on 22nd October 2012. This is a double-album featuring both Change and Glow of Love, plus another disco of remixes. For anyone who is interested in dance music, then this is an opportunity to rediscover or discover for the first time the music of Change, masterminded by the Italian dream-team of Mauro Malavsi and David Romani plus executive producer Jacques Fred Petrus. Featuring legendary vocalists Luther Vandross and Jocelyn Brown, it really is no surprise that Change and Glow of Love were so critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. Before I tell you about the many highlights of Disco Recharge-Change-Glow of Love and Miracles-Special Edition, I’ll tell you about the background to both albums.
By the time Change set about recording their debut album in 1979, the personnel behind the band were on something of a hot streak. Guadeloupe-born businessman and executive producer Jacques Fred Petrus and Italian producer Mauro Malavsi, had been producing music since 1978, for their production company Goody Goody Productions. They were on something of a roll, having had hits with Mahco’s I’m A Man, The Peter Jacques Band’s Fire Night Band and Revanche’s Music Man. The third member of the team who masterminded Change’s commercial success was David Romani. He was a self-taught bass player, who’d first come across Goody Music Productions in 1977. These three men would play their part in Change releasing two critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums.
Change were formed in 1979 and were one of many studio bands formed in the disco and post-disco era. Rather than have a fixed lineup, different musicians and vocalists would play their part in Change’s Italo-American sound. All the songs were written and recorded in Italy, at the Fontopront Studios in Bologna. Once the backing tracks were finished, they were delivered to Goody Music Productions’ New York offices. Then vocalists including Luther Vandross and Jocelyn Brown recorded their vocals at New York’s Media Sound studios. The tracks were then mixed at Power Station by Michael Brauer. For two albums and two years, Glow of Love and Miracles, Change could do no wrong. The start of this success came in 1980, when Change released their debut album Glow of Love.
Glow of Love was released by Change in 1980 and featured Luther Vandross and Jocelyn Brown, under her married name Shaw. Their vocals and the production team of Jacques Fred Petrus, Mauro Malavsi and David Romani had just released one of the first classic dance albums of the post-disco era. On the release of Glow of Love, it reached number twenty-nine in the US Billboard 200 and number ten in the US R&B Charts. Three singles were released from Glow of Love. A Lover’s Holiday reached number forty in the US Billboard 100 and number five in the US R&B Charts. Searching then reached number twenty-three in the US R&B Charts, before The Glow of Love reached number forty-nine in the US R&B Charts. Each of these three singles reached number one in the US Dance Music/Club Play Charts. Having released a critically acclaimed and commercially successful album in Glow of Love, few people believed Change could repeat the feat a year later.
When Change released Miracles in 1981, they achieved what many people believed was impossible, releasing two critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums in a row. The only difference was that Luther Vandross didn’t feature on Miracles. On Miracles’ release, it reached number forty-six in the US Billboard 200 and number nine in the US R&B Charts. Hold Tight reached number eighty-nine in the US Billboard 100 and number forty in the US R&B Charts. Paradise then reached number eighty in the US Billboard 100 and number seven in the US R&B Charts. Again, both singles reached number one in the US Dance Music/Club Play Charts. Change had achieved what seemed impossible during the height of the disco era, releasing back-to-back critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. I’ll now pick the highlights of Glow of Love and Miracles, before I tell you why both albums were so successful.
GLOW OF LOVE.
My first choice from Glow of Love is A Lover’s Holiday which opens the album. It’s a track where funk and Italo Disco combine as keyboards, handclaps and a pounding, funky rhythm section combine. They build the drama before Jocelyn Brown’s powerful, diva-esque vocal enters. Sweeping, swirling strings usher in Luther’s vocal tour de force. Soon, the track takes on an uplifting, joyous sound. Sometimes, space is left in the arrangement, as if allowing you to savor the track’s irresistibly, catchy sound. Later, bursts of blazing horns replace the vocal, before the funky rhythm section, keyboards and percussion take charge. After that, the rest of this Italo Disco track takes shape, with Jocelyn’s vocal crucial to its joyous, multilayered, innovative post-disco sound.
As Angel In My Pocket opens, synths, percussion and the rhythm section create a real Italo Disco sound. It’s quite different from the mid-seventies disco sound, relying more on synths. Having said that, Patrick Adams, Greg Carmichael and Leroy Burgess had been moving disco in this direction. Here, Change take it further. There’s even a Chic sound to the bass and chiming guitars. Dancing strings, a funky rhythm section and synths combine before Jocelyn’s tender vocal enters. Quickly, her vocal grows in power and confidence. Backing vocalists add to the emotion and drama. Soon, Jocelyn mixes power, passion and emotion, as a pulsating beat, percussion, synths and swirling strings accompany her. When Jocelyn’s vocal and the arrangement are combined, the result is a dramatic, emotive and infectiously catchy dance track. Maybe this should’ve been single number four released from Glow of Love?
The Glow Of Love is a track that reminds me of Chic at their very best. It’s the combination of the rhythm section and guitars providing a funky backdrop for the lush strings. They’re joined by an impassioned, heartfelt vocal from Luther. The strings seems to envelop his vocal. Later, heartfelt harmonies accompany and compliment his tender vocal. Unlike other tracks, synths play less of a role, although flourishes of keyboards feature in the arrangement. Mostly, it’s just the lush strings, harmonies and rhythm section that accompany Luther, on this very beautiful dance track that’s the best track on Glow of Love.
The last track from Glow of Love I’ve chosen is Searching, another of the three singles released from the album. As the track opens, Change tease you with subtle bursts of synths, keyboards and percussion. Then washes of keyboards, a pounding beat, chiming guitars and bursts of blazing horns are joined by Luther’s vocal. His vocal is impassioned and powerful, with punchy harmonies and flourishes of strings accompanying him. Quickly, you realize just why this was such a successful track. Not only is it hugely catchy and dance-floor friendly, but it features a vocal from Luther Vandross that’s full of passion and emotion.
Choosing just four tracks from Change’s debut album Glow of Love isn’t easy, given how consistently high the quality of music is. Glow of Love isn’t just a timeless, classic in the history of dance music, but an important album in the post-disco landscape. Change took up the baton from the disco stars of the seventies and set about reinventing dance music. What they came up with was a fusion of European and American dance music. They combined elements of disco with Euro Disco, soul, funk and the electronic sound of synths and drum machines. This became known as Italo Disco, and Change were at the vanguard of this new musical genre. They helped create this sound, allowing later producers to refine this sound. So, Glow of Love is an innovative album, that showcased the vocal prowess of Jocelyn Brown and Luther Vandross. It also showcased the production talents of Mauro Malavsi and David Romani and Jacques Fred Petrus. Having created one classic album in Glow of Love, Change did the seemingly impossible, by releasing their second critically acclaimed and commercially successful album in Miracles.
Paradise is the track that opens Miracles, and sees Change pick up where they left off on Glow of Love. The track has a heavy funky sound thanks to the rhythm section, guitars and keyboards. This is combined with vocals that sounds as if they belong on a Chic album. Indeed, the longer the track goes on, the more the similarities with Chic’s vocal style is noticeable. Like Chic, Change are capable of creating some of the best dance music you’ll hear. Their vocals cascade beautifully, sweeping in and out of the arrangement, combining elegance and beauty. They’re contrasted by the heavy funk sound when the vocal drops out. When they combine, the result is exquisite and results in a classic, timeless dance track.
Hold Tight was the other single released from Miracles. Unlike Paradise, this track doesn’t have such a heavy funk sound. It’s still funky, but much more subtle, with stabs of keyboards and percussion accompanying the chiming guitars and rhythm section. What really makes this such a great song is the vocal. Jocelyn’s vocal veers between tender and heartfelt to powerful and sassy, while punchy, dramatic harmonies and handclaps accompany her. Although very different from Paradise, this is just as good a track, one that’s very beautiful and irresistible catchy.
Stop For Love sees the tempo drop and allows Change to show that there’s much more to their music than the dance-floor. The drama builds as keyboards and the rhythm section combine. Then when the vocal enters, it’s tender and full of emotion. Harmonies delivered in a dramatic, urgent style reply to it and the interplay between the two is full of power, passion and emotion. Just as quickly, a sultry horn replaces the vocal and the rhythm section build up the drama. WIth quivering, shivering strings, the vocal and harmonies combine, with one driving the other to greater hearts of emotion and passion.
Miracles closes with the-title track Miracles. It’s almost as if they’ve kept one of the best tracks for last. Percussion, a pounding, funky rhythm section and chiming guitars are joined by synths before a heartfelt, soulful vocal enters. Tight, tender harmonies accompany the vocal, while chiming guitars, percussion, synths and a pounding beat add contrasts. Another contrast is the lushest of strings that sweep above the vocal. Not only do they ad to the beauty of the arrangement, but compliment the heartfelt, soulful vocal as soul, funk and dance music are combined seamlessly by Change.
Just a year after releasing Glow of Love, Change released Miracles, an album that picked up where they’d left off. Again, Miracles was another critically acclaimed and commercially successful classic album. This was something that had seemed impossible for previous disco producers and artists. Many had released one outstanding album, but few had released two back-to-back. Change managed that, and since then, both Glow of Love and Miracles have been perceived as classic albums. Change had set the bar high with Glow of Love, but on Miracles combined a compelling combination of disco with Euro Disco, soul and funk. Since then, this has become known as Italo Disco. One of the founding fathers of Italo Disco were Change. They were one of the most innovative, creative and imaginative groups of the post-disco era. The seven tracks on Miracles weren’t just dance-floor friendly, but soulful, funky, laden with hooks and irresistibly catchy. Both albums are just as good over thirty years after their release. Truly, they’re timeless albums, that have gone down in the history of dance music as hugely important and indeed, classic albums. Now, both albums will be released by the Disco Recharge label as a double-album on 22nd October 2012 as Disco Recharge-Change-Glow of Love and Miracles-Special Edition. On this double album were Glow of Love and Miracles, plus a second disc of remixed versions of singles. After being unavailable for far too long, these two albums will soon be available for everyone to either rediscover or discover. So, believe me, a Change is gonna come, and that will be on 22nd October 2012 when Disco Recharge-Change-Glow of Love and Miracles-Special Edition will be released. Standout Tracks: The Glow Of Love, Searching, Paradise and Hold Tight.
DISCO RECHARGE-CHANGE-GLOW OF LOVE AND MIRACLES-SPECIAL EDITION.