Club Nouveau

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Club Nouveau
Club Nouveau.jpg
Background information
OriginSacramento, California, United States
GenresR&B, soul, go-go, dance
Years active1986–present
LabelsWarner Bros. (1986–1990)
Cleopatra Records[1]
Associated actsTimex Social Club, Foster & McElroy, Samuelle
MembersJay King
Valerie Watson English
Samuelle Prater
Past membersDenzil Foster
Thomas McElroy
Kevin Irving
David Agent
Roque LaCrosby
Walter Phillips
James L. Richard II
Mario Corbino

Club Nouveau is an American R&B group formed by record producer/performer Jay King in 1986 in Sacramento, California following the breakup of the Timex Social Club.[2] The group's name (French for "New Club") was changed from its original incarnation, "Jet Set", to capitalize on the breakup. The group was signed by Warner Bros. Records, on which Club Nouveau released its first three albums. Club Nouveau's go-go version of Bill Withers' song "Lean on Me" won a Grammy award for Best R&B Song in 1987.[3]


From its debut album, Life, Love & Pain, which was released in 1986,[2] the group scored four consecutive hits: "Jealousy" (essentially an answer song responding to Timex Social Club's hit "Rumors"), "Situation #9", "Lean on Me" and "Why You Treat Me So Bad". The latter two both made it to #2 on the Billboard R&B chart the next year, with "Lean on Me" going on to become a big Billboard Hot 100 hit.[2] "Jealousy" also made an appearance on the soundtrack for the film, Modern Girls. "Why You Treat Me So Bad" was interpolated by the hip-hop duo Luniz, on its hit single "I Got 5 on It", and subsequently by rapper/record producer Puff Daddy on his #1 R&B single "Satisfy You".

The group's original lineup consisted of Jay King, Valerie Watson, Samuelle Prater, Denzil Foster, and Thomas McElroy.[2] Foster and McElroy soon left to form their own production team and focus on working with other acts. Prater, who had performed lead vocals on "Lean on Me," eventually left as well[4] to pursue a solo career, but reunited with the group in 2009.

The group's next albums — beginning with Listen to the Message — were laced with an evolving social consciousness.[5] Notable recordings include, "You Ain't No Friend of Mine" from Under A Nouveau Groove; a dancehall-influenced version of the Gospel classic "Oh, Happy Day," from A New Beginning; "Let It Go" from Everything Is Black; and "What Kind of Love" from The Collection Volume I. The group also recorded "Step by Step" for the Who's That Girl soundtrack.

Club Nouveau was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 1987. The group's version of "Lean on Me" was its most celebrated hit resulting in a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year in addition to winning the Grammy for Best R&B Song that same year.[3] "Lean on Me" was also nominated for two American Music Awards, nominated and won a Bammy Award, a BRE Drummer award, a Bay Area Star award and it won two NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) awards.

The 2015 line-up consists of King, Watson, and Prater.

In 2017, as part of Warner Music’s divestment requirements as a result of its purchase of Parlophone, the group’s Warner Bros. recordings were acquired by Tommy Boy Records, which worked 12-inch singles from its first album to clubs as a result of its emerging relationship with Warner and from being an expert in the format.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Certifications

1986 Life, Love & Pain 6 2 90 13 65 69 9
1988 Listen to the Message
  • Release date: May 24, 1988
  • Label: Warner Bros.
98 44
1989 Under a Nouveau Groove
  • Release date: November 7, 1989
  • Label: Warner Bros.
1992 A New Beginning
  • Release date: April 30, 1992
  • Label: JVK
1995 Everything Is Black
  • Release date: October 10, 1995
  • Label: Rip-It
2015 Consciousness
  • Release date: June, 2015
  • Label: Nouveau Music, Faze One Records
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Single Peak chart positions Certifications Album


1986 "Jealousy" 8 38 80 Life, Love & Pain
"Situation #9" 4
1987 "Lean on Me" 1 2 1 5 1 9 5 4 1 3
"Why You Treat Me So Bad" 39 2 22 96
"Let Me Go"
"Heavy on My Mind" 42
1988 "It's a Cold, Cold World!" 34 Listen to the Message
"For the Love of Francis"
1989 "No Friend of Mine" 12 Under a Nouveau Groove
1990 "Under a Nouveau Groove"
"Momentary Lover"
1992 "Oh Happy Day" 45 A New Beginning
1993 "When Will You Come Back to Me?"
1994 "Ghetto Swang" Everything Is Black
1995 "Let It Go" (featuring Thrill Da Playa of the 69 Boyz)
1998 "What Kind of Love (Secret Rendezvous)" The Collection Volume 1
"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Club Nouveau - Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2003). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Eighties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 118/9. ISBN 1-85227-969-9.
  3. ^ a b "Bill Withers Biography". pp. 8th Paragraph, Last Sentence. Archived from the original on August 29, 2011. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
  4. ^ Wynn, Ron. "Artist Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  5. ^ Johnson, Alex (October 29, 2013). "WHERE ARE THEY NOW: CLUB NOUVEAU". Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "US Charts > Club Nouveau". Billboard. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  7. ^ a b David Kent (1993). Australian Charts Book 1970—1992. Australian Chart Book Pty Ltd, Turramurra, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  8. ^ a b "CAN Charts > Club Nouveau". RPM. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "GER Charts > Club Nouveau". GfK Entertainment. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  10. ^ a b "NL Charts > Club Nouveau". Dutch Charts. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  11. ^ a b "NZ Charts > Club Nouveau". Official New Zealand Music Chart. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  12. ^ a b "American certifications – Club Nouveau". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  13. ^ "IRE Charts Search > Club Nouveau". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  14. ^ "UK Charts > Club Nouveau". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Club Nouveau: Lean on Me". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 16, 2020.

External links[edit]