Back on the Block

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Back on the Block
Quincy Jones - Back On The Block-front.jpg
Studio album by Quincy Jones
Released August 8, 1989 (1989-08-08)
Recorded 1988-1989
Oceanway Record One
Lighthouse Studios
Westlake Audio
(Los Angeles, California)
Digital Recorders
(Nashville, Tennessee)
Tarpan Studios
(San Rafael, California)
Length 57:54
Producer Quincy Jones
Quincy Jones chronology
The Dude
(1981)The Dude1981
Back on the Block
Q's Jook Joint
(1995)Q's Jook Joint1995
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[2]
Ebony favorable[3]

Back on the Block is a 1989 studio album produced by Quincy Jones.[4] The album features legendary musicians and singers from across three generations, including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Joe Zawinul, Ice-T, Big Daddy Kane, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie, George Benson, Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, Barry White, Chaka Khan, Take 6, Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau, Al B. Sure!, James Ingram, El DeBarge, Ray Charles and a 12 year old Tevin Campbell.


Multiple singles were lifted from the album and found success on Pop and R&B radio, including "I'll Be Good To You", "I Don't Go For That", "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)", and "Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)" which was originally an instrumental track on The Brothers Johnson's Look Out for #1 set. "Tomorrow" is also noteworthy for introducing a young Tevin Campbell to the music scene. Back on the Block won the 1991 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Jones' track, Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song) was featured on the soundtrack of the 1991 film, Boyz n the Hood. Back on the Block topped the R&B Albums chart at number-one for twelve weeks, and topped the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart as well.

Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan[edit]

Back on the Block featured the last studio recordings of jazz singers Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan.

Fitzgerald and Jones had previously worked together on her 1963 album with Count Basie, Ella and Basie!. Jones had produced three albums with Sarah Vaughan when they both worked for Mercury Records.

Grammy Awards[edit]

At the 33rd Grammy Awards, Back on the Block won seven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

In arranging, Jerry Hey, Quincy Jones, Ian Prince and Rod Temperton won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for "Birdland", and Glen Ballard, Hey, Jones and Clif Magness won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) for "The Places You Find Love".

Jones also won the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Fusion Performance for "Birdland", and the Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical.

Bruce Swedien won the Grammy Award for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical for his work on the album.

Ray Charles and Chaka Khan won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "I'll Be Good To You".

The Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group went to Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T, Tevin Campbell, Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, Quincy Jones III and Jones for "Back on the Block".

Track listing[edit]

All Tracks Produced by Quincy Jones and Rod Temperton.
”Tomorrow (A Better You, A Better Me)” Co-produced by Jerry Hey.

# Title Writer(s) Arranger(s) Time
1 "Prologue (2Q's Rap)" Big Daddy Kane, Quincy Jones 1:04
2 "Back on the Block" Jones, Rod Temperton, Siedah Garrett, Caiphus Semenya, Ice-T, Melle Mel, Kool Moe Dee, Big Daddy Kane Rhythm by Quincy Jones, QD III, Rod Temperton & Bill Summers
Vocals by Quincy Jones & Andraé Crouch
3 "I Don't Go for That" Ian Prince Rhythm & Vocals by Ian Prince 5:11
4 "I'll Be Good to You" George Johnson, Louis Johnson, Sonora Sam Rhythm & Vocals by Quincy Jones 4:54
5 "The Verb To Be (Introduction to Wee B. Dooinit)" Mervyn Warren 0:29
6 "Wee B. Dooinit (Acapella Party by the Human Bean Band)" Jones, Garrett, Ian Prince Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Ian Prince
Vocals by Quincy Jones, Ian Prince, Siedah Garrett, Mark Kibble & Rod Temperton
7 "The Places You Find Love" Glen Ballard, Clif Magness
African Lyrics by Caiphus Semenya
Rhythm Originally by Quincy Jones, Clif Magness & Glen Ballard
Vocals by Quincy Jones, Andraé Crouch & Caiphus Semenya
8 "Jazz Corner of the World (Introduction to "Birdland")" Big Daddy Kane, Kool Moe Dee Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Bill Summers 2:54
9 "Birdland Joe Zawinul Rhythm by Quincy Jones, Rod Temperton & Ian Prince
Horns by Quincy Jones & Jerry Hey
10 "Setembro (Brazilian Wedding Song)" Ivan Lins, Gilson Peranzzetta Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Greg Phillinganes
Vocals by Quincy Jones & Mark Kibble
11 "One Man Woman" Garrett, Ian Prince, Harriet Roberts Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Ian Prince 3:44
12 "Tomorrow (A Better You, Better Me)" Music by George Johnson, Louis Johnson
Lyrics by Siedah Garrett
Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Jerry Hey
Vocals by Quincy Jones & Rod Temperton
13 "Prelude to the Garden" Jorge Calandrelli Synth Strings by Jorge Calandrelli 0:54
14 "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)" Jones, Temperton, Garrett, El DeBarge Rhythm by Quincy Jones & Rod Temperton
Vocals by Quincy Jones, Siedah Garrett & Rod Temperton
Synthesizer by Jerry Hey


Weekly Charts[edit]

Chart (1989-1990) Peak
Austrian Albums Chart[5] 19
Dutch Albums Chart[6] 38
German Albums Chart[7] 5
New Zealand Albums Chart[8] 24
Norwegian Albums Chart[9] 16
Swedish Albums Chart[10] 26
Swiss Albums Chart[11] 21
UK Albums Chart[12] 26
US Billboard 200[13] 9
US Top Contemporary Jazz Albums 1
US Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[14] 1


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[17] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Credits and personnel[edit]

Recorded in 1988 and early 1989, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, the credits include:

  • Quincy Jones - Lead Vocals (Track 1), Choir Conductor (7), Handclaps (2, 6, 9), Drums (6), Drum Machine (2), M1 Pads (10)
  • Al B. Sure! – Lead Vocals, Background Vocals (Track 14)
  • Nadirah Ali - Background Vocals (Track 3)
  • Maxi Anderson - Sampled Background Vocals (Track 7)
  • Big Daddy Kane - Rap (vocals) (Tracks 2, 8)
  • Peggi Blu - Sampled Background Vocals (Track 7)
  • McKinley Brown - Background Vocals (Track 12)
  • Tevin Campbell – Lead Vocals (Tracks 2, 12)
  • Ray Charles - Lead Vocals (Track 4)
  • Andraé Crouch – Vocal Arranger, Choir Conductor, Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Sandra Crouch - Choir Conductor (Track 2), Background Vocals (2, 7)
  • Rose Banks - Choir Director (Track 12), Background Vocals (2, 7)
  • Voncielle Faggett - Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Jean Johnson-McRath - Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Howard McCrary - Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Perry Morgan - Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Alfie Silas - Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • El DeBarge - Lead Vocals, Background Vocals (Track 14)
  • Chad Durio - Background Vocals (Track 12)
  • Ella Fitzgerald - Lead Vocals (Tracks 6, 8-9)
  • Geary Lanier Foggett – Additional Background Vocals (Track 7)
  • Kenneth Ford – Background Vocals (Track 12)
  • Jania Foxworth – Background Vocals (Track 12)
  • Siedah Garrett – Lead Vocals (Tracks 3, 6-7, 11), Background Vocals (Tracks 3, 11, 14, sampled on 7, additional on 4), Choir Director (12)
  • Tammie Gibson – Background Vocals (Tracks 2, 7)
  • Jim Gilstrap – Sampled Background Vocals (Track 4)
  • Jackie Gouche – Additional Background Vocals (Track 7)
  • Reginale Green - Background Vocals (Track 12)

See also[edit]