NUMBER ONE ALBUMS, 1976-85 WEEK* (MAY 5-11, 2014)
This album was not only #1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, it also topped the jazz and R&B charts in 1976. The first two songs on the album (the title track and This Masquerade) are very familiar from radio play and have appeared on this blog before on The George Benson Collection; track 4, Affirmation, has appeared previously on Best Of: The Instrumentals. Prior to this, his first album for Warner Bros., Benson was mainly known as a jazz guitarist. With the hit single This Masquerade, the only non-instrumental on the album, he began a successful transition to pop singer. Beyond that, this album saw the debut of Benson soloing using what would become his amazing trademark guitar-voice technique where he scat sings along with himself as solos on guitar, effectively doubling himself. Add to that a top-notch band and smooth production from Tommy LiPuma, and it's easy to understand why this hit the top spot. It probably turned more than a few people onto smooth jazz.
The album won three Grammy awards:
- Record of the Year (for This Masquerade)
- Best Pop Instrumental Performance
- Best Engineered Performance, Non-Classical
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #1 (2 weeks, July 31 - Aug 7, 1976)
Peak on Billboard's Jazz LPs chart: #1
Peak on Billboard's R&B albums chart: #1
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #5
Tracks: I like This Masquerade, even though it isn't characteristic of the remainder of the album. Most of the tracks are smooth jazz instrumentals and are successful, especially the title track, Six to Four, and Affirmation.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None
Previously revisited for the blog:
Givin' It Up (2006) (w/Al Jarreau)
Best Of: The Instrumentals (1997)
Collaboration (1987) (w/Earl Klugh)
The George Benson Collection (1981)
Give Me The Night (1980)
The Other Side of Abbey Road (1970)
*Two weeks ago on another blog (My Favorite Decade, 1976-1985), I asked myself if I owned all of the #1 albums from that particular decade. It turned out that I wasn't anywhere close to owning them all and, embarrassed, went on a CD shopping spree to rectify the situation. With most of these #1 albums, I am hearing them complete for the first time this week.