"Steal the Night" singer Stevie Woods dies at age 62

(February 9, 2014) 80s pop and soul singer Stevie Woods (read our biography of Stevie) has reportedly died at age 62. Woods was best known in the U.S. for his debut hit, "Steal the Night." And he was particularly notable here at SoulTracks, where his was among the first artist biographies we wrote back when we started in 2003.

(February 9, 2014) 80s pop and soul singer Stevie Woods (read our biography of Stevie) has reportedly died at age 62. Woods was best known in the U.S. for his debut hit, "Steal the Night." And he was particularly notable here at SoulTracks, where his was among the first artist biographies we wrote back when we started in 2003.

The Columbus, Ohio born Woods was a talented singer and musician who had a pretty brief moment of great popularity.  The smooth vocalist signed with Cotillion Records and became the vehicle for German producer Jack White (Laura Branigan) and his international music machine. Woods released Take Me To Your Heaven in 1981.  It was one of the early "Brown Eyed Pop" releases that would rise in popularity the 80s from artists such as Lionel Richie and Atlantic Starr.  And Take Me was so doggone melodic and hooky front to back that its obvious adult contemporary formula actually worked pretty well, despite rather bland production. Woods, sounding like a young, hip Johnny Mathis, breezed through the material beautifully.  The album's first single, "Steal the Night," was a crossover smash, hitting the top 30 on the Pop charts and slightly lower on the R&B Charts.

Woods followed up the next year with The Woman In My Life, a disappointing album that followed the formula of his debut -- perhaps even more laser-focused at adult contemporary audiences -- but with an overabundance of soft, rather faceless ballads such as the title cut, "Love You Back to Sleep" and "Never Gonna Let You Go" (later a hit for Sergio Mendes). It barely dented the charts.  His third and final album, 1983's Attitude, was much better, boasting nice remakes of Marvin Gaye's "Ain't That Peculiar" and Bobby Caldwell's "Loving You" as well as the solid pop/reggae track "State of Our Affairs."  However, it failed to chart, and Woods' short recording career in the US was essentially over. 

Woods then moved permanently to Europe, where he continued to have some success on stage.  He recorded in Germany and released a number of singles, including "Rock Me Baby" in 1986, "The One That You Love" in 1987, and "Everybody Sunshine" in 1994.  He went on to have a modestly successful career singing pop and jazz standards around Europe, where he used his Johnny Mathis vocal stylings to good effect (see video below). 

Woods' Cotillion releases quickly went out of print and stayed that way until Summer, 2010, when Wounded Bird records reissued them on CD, a welcome new life for the three albums. Then, out of nowhere, Woods issued a new studio album, Quiet Storm, in the Summer of 2011. It was a combination of remakes of some of his earlier songs and some of his new compositions, all soft stuff aimed at adult contemporary audiences.

It's always sad for us when we hear of the death of artists we've covered, but it especially hurts when they die this young. Rest in peace, Stevie.

By Chris Rizik

 Stevie Woods in 1981

Stevie Woods in 2010

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