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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Babyface turns 50

Posted by Scott

I couldn't believe it, either. Venerable R&B songwriter/producer Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds is a half-century old. I personally have a soft spot for his '80s pop/R&B work like After 7's "Can't Stop" and Pebbles' "Girlfriend," but neither makes my list of...


8 The Whispers - Rock Steady, 1987
I was going to give this last spot to Eric Clapton's Change the World, because he's a more legendary act, but screw that - Rock Steady is a better song. It's totally '80s, so its sound is quite dated, but just try to listen without singing along.

7 Fall Out Boy - Thks Fr Th Mmrs, 2007
Proving that he hasn't completely disappeared, Face pops up on FOB's latest record. He adds devious-sounding strings to Fall Out Boy's pop sound and helps create a top ten hit.

6 Babyface - Whip Appeal, 1989
In terms of his own solo work, Babyface never topped his 1989 album Tender Lover. Whip Appeal has stood the test of time better than the rest.

5 TLC - Red Light Special, 1994
Babyface gives the trio their sexiest song ever.

4 Madonna - Take a Bow, 1994
Madonna collaborates with Babyface and records the longest-running #1 song of her career.

3 Waiting to Exhale soundtrack, 1995
Face wrote and produced nearly all 16 tracks on this soundtrack, marking his commercial peak.

Video: Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Whitney Houston, CeCe Winans - Exhale Medley (1997 Grammys)

2 Bobby Brown - Roni, 1988
Yes, I own Bobby Brown's 1988 CD Don't Be Cruel, and this is the song I've never been able to stop listening to. The vocal delivery, the cute lyrics about "the sweetest little girl in the whole wide world," the passionate bridge ("once you've had a Roni you will never give her up!"), it all adds up to one of my favorite Babyface-penned tracks.

1 Boyz II Men - Water Runs Dry, 1995
Babyface's most famous collaboration with Boyz II Men is End of the Road, the 1992 song that broke Elvis Presley's 36-year old record for most weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart. But that song is a bit cheesy. Allow me to announce that 10 million people were wrong, and instead declare Water Runs Dry, an acoustic guitar-driven ballad, to be the superior track. Face's production really shines - the Boyz' voices never blended more beautifully than they did here.


BeckEye said...

Wow, that's hard to believe.

I'm not much of a Madonna fan, but I do think "Take a Bow" is a great song.

And I have to admit to having a real soft spot for "Roni." You better believe I know ALL of the words.

Scott said...

She'll make the toughest homeboy fall deep in love!

Sum said...

wow... great coverage man, that's a real music lover in you to recognize the 'face like that