When Smokey Sings

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"When Smokey Sings"
When Smokey Sings.jpg
Single by ABC
from the album Alphabet City
B-side"Chicago"
Released25 May 1987 (1987-05-25)[1]
StudioMarcus (London, England)
GenreBlue-eyed soul[2]
Length4:22
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
ABC singles chronology
"Ocean Blue"
(1986)
"When Smokey Sings"
(1987)
"The Night You Murdered Love"
(1987)
Music video
"When Smokey Sings" on YouTube

"When Smokey Sings" is a song by English pop band ABC, released as the first single from their fourth studio album, Alphabet City (1987). The lyrics and title of the song are a tribute to R&B and soul singer Smokey Robinson. In the United States, Robinson himself was on the Billboard 100 pop chart with his single "One Heartbeat" at the same time as this tribute song; for the week ending 3 October 1987, both songs were in the Billboard Top 10 simultaneously.[3]

Background[edit]

"When Smokey Sings" and its B-side, "Chicago", also topped the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The song reached No. 11 on the UK Singles Chart and proved to be their second US top-10 hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. There is a slight difference in the lyrics between the album and single version in the bridge of the song. Pitchfork Media were favourable for the Miami Mix.[4]

In the album version, references are made to "Luther," "Sly," "James," and "Marvin" (most likely referring to Luther Vandross, Sly Stone, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye, respectively). In the single version, this is replaced by alternative lyrics, followed by a short saxophone solo.

The bassline of the song is a homage to Robinson's composition, "The Tears of a Clown."[5] Smokey Robinson himself praised the song, saying, "Well, of course, that's a form of flattery, and I really appreciate it."[6]

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strickland, Andy (23 May 1987). "News Digest". Record Mirror. p. 28. ISSN 0144-5804.
  2. ^ "Alphabet City - ABC - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  3. ^ "The Hot 100, w/ending". Billboard. 3 October 1987.
  4. ^ "Various Artists: 12"/80s/2 Album Review | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 9 November 2016.
  5. ^ Porter, Christopher (25 August 2008). "ABC, 'When Smokey Sings". Express. The Washington Post.
  6. ^ STRAUSS, DUNCAN (12 December 1987). "When Smokey Robinson Sings, His Colleagues Become Fans". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 10. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
  8. ^ "ABC – When Smokey Sings" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  9. ^ Lwin, Nanda (2000). Top 40 Hits: The Essential Chart Guide. ISBN 978-1-896594-13-2.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 0884." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  11. ^ "European Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 4, no. 28. 18 July 1987. p. 19.
  12. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – When Smokie Sings". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 28, 1987" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  14. ^ "ABC – When Smokey Sings" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  15. ^ "ABC – When Smokey Sings". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  16. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website – SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (A)". rock.co.za. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  17. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  18. ^ "Hot 100 A–Z". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 38. 19 September 1987. p. 87.
  19. ^ "Hot Dance: 12-inch Singles Sales". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 39. 26 September 1987. p. 34.
  20. ^ "Hot Adult Contemporary". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 41. 10 October 1987. p. 16.
  21. ^ "Hot Dance/Disco: Club Play". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 35. 29 August 1987. p. 24.
  22. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – ABC – When Smokey Sings". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  23. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1987" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 16 January 2023.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Singles of '87". RPM. Retrieved 16 January 2023 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  25. ^ "1987 The Year in Music & Video: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 99, no. 52. 26 December 1987. p. Y-22.

External links[edit]