SoulTracks Lost Gem: Down that "Lonely Road" with Rose Royce and Grover Washington, Jr.

Say the name Rose Royce and you automatically think "Car Wash", "I Wanna Get Next To You" or "Wishing On A Star". The Los Angeles based group had a string of formidable hits from 1976 through 1981. Once they parted ways with then lead singer Gwen Dickey, producer Norman Whitfield and changed labels in one tumultuous period - they all but turned invisible. Back then we record buyers were so into the band/label connection we just knew that a label change or ANY change meant we would move on.
 
Radio felt the same way.  From 1981 thru 1986, Rose Royce was on 4 different labels with almost as many different producers and lead singers.
Say the name Rose Royce and you automatically think "Car Wash", "I Wanna Get Next To You" or "Wishing On A Star". The Los Angeles based group had a string of formidable hits from 1976 through 1981. Once they parted ways with then lead singer Gwen Dickey, producer Norman Whitfield and changed labels in one tumultuous period - they all but turned invisible. Back then we record buyers were so into the band/label connection we just knew that a label change or ANY change meant we would move on.
 
Radio felt the same way.  From 1981 thru 1986, Rose Royce was on 4 different labels with almost as many different producers and lead singers. The absence of a supportive major label system meant that the band didn't have a chance to regain the superstar traction they once had. Philadelphia based Omni Records gave them a decent budget and distribution through Warner Bros, only to have this fine performance by the band - featuring new singer Ricci Benson and guest star Grover Washington, Jr. on the song "Lonely Road" - fare no better than number 45 on the Billboard R&B top 50.  Soul Trackers, is this a Lost Gem? Or does it belong in the same "Timeless Music" conversation with "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" or "I'm Going Down"?
 
Rose Royce and Grover Washington
"Lonely Road"

By Donald Cleveland

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