SoulTracks Lost Gem: George Duke brought all the stars in for "Fame"

The late, great George Duke hit his second stride as a solo artist during his tenure with Warner Bros. Records for most of the 1990s into the early 2000s. After racking up scores of much-loved and successful recordings as a composer and producer for a slew of R&B, pop, and jazz artists throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, he turned his attention more centrally to his own creative endeavors as a keyboardist and vocalist with the 1992 album, Snapshot.

The late, great George Duke hit his second stride as a solo artist during his tenure with Warner Bros. Records for most of the 1990s into the early 2000s. After racking up scores of much-loved and successful recordings as a composer and producer for a slew of R&B, pop, and jazz artists throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, he turned his attention more centrally to his own creative endeavors as a keyboardist and vocalist with the 1992 album, Snapshot.

Aside from notable contributions from a then relatively unknown Rachelle Ferrell and still new-to-the-public-at-large Phil Perry, Snapshot boasted an all-star line-up of supporting vocal players—most prominently on the uptempo jam, “Fame.” While it was a slow-jam on the album (“No Rhyme, No Reason”) that garnered Duke the most chart action at the time, regular viewers of then very music-centered cable network BET may well recall seeing the colorful promo video for “Fame” in regular rotation. The stellar features on the the track by Howard Hewett, Jeffrey Osborne, Keith Washington, Deniece Williams, Philip Bailey, and Lori Perry (along with Phil Perry and a newly rising Chanté Moore) made for one dynamic collaboration.

Although the lyrics to “Fame” are fairly standard fare, Duke’s musicality shines throughout the tune, both via his piano work and expert matching of melodies with each singer’s individuality. Furthermore, given that several of these legendary performers were experiencing relatively dry spells in their careers during the early ‘90s, the single was all the more thematically relevant while being carried out in a fun and classy manner.

For some mysterious reason, “Fame” came and went, for the most part, with nary a trace. So, do yourself a favor and check out this feel-good meeting of mighty voices while celebrating George Duke’s profound legacy. It’s our latest SoulTracks Lost Gem. You might not know what you’ve been missing!

by Justin Kantor

 

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