Today in Music History (January 25): Lakeside shoots to #1 with "Fantastic Voyage"

January 25, 1981 – Lakeside hits #1 with “Fantastic Voyage”

Another in the long line of talented funk acts to come out of Dayton, Ohio, Lakeside was formed around 1970 by members of two local groups, the Nomads and the Young Undergrounds.  The group, consisting of members Otis Stokes, Thomas Shelby, Steve Shockley, Mark Wood, Tierneyer McCain, Norman Beavers, Marvin Craig and Fred Lewis won a contest that sent them to Chicago to record an ill-fated session for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label.  While the recording never materialized, the group had named itself Lakeside Express after a local newspaper.

Smarting from the failed Curtom contract, the group went to California, picking up new member, drummer Fred Alexander, and signing with Motown and ABC Records for brief relationships that yielded no hits.

January 25, 1981 – Lakeside hits #1 with “Fantastic Voyage”

Another in the long line of talented funk acts to come out of Dayton, Ohio, Lakeside was formed around 1970 by members of two local groups, the Nomads and the Young Undergrounds.  The group, consisting of members Otis Stokes, Thomas Shelby, Steve Shockley, Mark Wood, Tierneyer McCain, Norman Beavers, Marvin Craig and Fred Lewis won a contest that sent them to Chicago to record an ill-fated session for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label.  While the recording never materialized, the group had named itself Lakeside Express after a local newspaper.

Smarting from the failed Curtom contract, the group went to California, picking up new member, drummer Fred Alexander, and signing with Motown and ABC Records for brief relationships that yielded no hits.

But Lakeside then moved to SOLAR Records - the LA-based label that would become the hottest of the early 80s – and found a match made in heaven. A string of smashes began with 1978’s "It's All the Way Live," and Lakeside's gritty funk songs and hand-drawn album covers, portraying group members as pirates, G-Men, Arabian Knights, etc., gave them a unique position among the numerous soul/funk groups of that time.

In the last week of January, 1981, Lakeside finally hit the pinnacle of success: Their funky, harmony filled dance number, “Fantastic Voyage,” shot all the way to #1 on the soul charts, marking for this group a permanent place in chart history.

Take a listen below and enjoy!

By Chris Rizik

 

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