Released today in 1987: Come Softly To Me



When talking about the large number of cover versions that he had recorded for his debut album in 1987, Nick Kamen said he believed that “people aren’t going to have heard most of the songs I’ve chosen.” As the track listing comprised mostly American soul songs from the 1960s, that was possibly true for his British audience. But most of them had been hits in the US if not the UK, and if they hadn’t been then they ought to have been…

Win Your Love: Originally performed (as Win Your Love For Me) by legendary soul crooner Sam Cooke with a writer credit to his brother, this was a Top 40 hit in the US when it was released in 1958. It was less well-known here as it was originally only a B-side in the UK. Cooke was an R&B artist who ‘crossed over’ from specialist to general charts when his records proved popular to all audiences. He was killed in a shooting incident at the end of 1964, by which time he had released a dozen albums and had several high-charting hits, including the #1 You Send Me.

Open The Door To Your Heart was originally performed by Darrell Banks, another American soul singer-songwriter whose brief career ended when he was shot dead. His first single, it wasn’t a hit in this country when first released in 1966 although it was a cult track on Northern Soul circuits in the early 70s. It made the national news last year when a copy of it on the London Records label was discovered by a collector, Until then, it was thought only demo copies of London HL10070 existed, as its planned release by the Decca group on 19 August 1966 was shelved when EMI won the rights to issue it. Some stock copies had been pressed but had been assumed destroyed when the release rights transferred from Decca to EMI, who put it out on their Stateside label on 2 September 1966 as SS536.

Nobody Else was written by contemporary R&B singer Brenda Russell, co-writing here with Jeffrey Hull; it was a new song and Kamen seems to have been the first person to record it. Russell was recording for A&M in the 1980s but had had only one minor hit in the UK at the beginning of the decade. In 1987, Nobody Else was one of two hit songs she had written but given away to other artists, the other being Donna Summer’s Dinner With Gershwin. (Russell later recorded her own version of the latter song.) She finally had a big hit of her own in 1988 when Piano In The Dark made the Top 40.

Into The Night was perhaps the most obscure of the songs on the album. Benny Mardones (co-writing with Robert Tepper) recorded it for his album Never Run Never Hide and it was released as a single twice in UK, in 1980 and 1981, both times without success.

Come Softly To Me was originally written and performed by the three members of The Fleetwoods, and had been covered many times between their original version in 1959 and Kamen’s attempt in 1987, which was issued as his fourth single. Kamen’s single didn’t chart; the last hit recording of the song was The New Seekers’ version in 1972.

Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever is discussed in more detail in the article of 16 February.

Each Time You Break My Heart, written by Madonna and Steve Bray, is discussed the article of 16 May.

The Man In Me was written by Bob Dylan who recorded it for his 1970 album New Morning.

Any Day Now was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard and made #23 in the US in 1962 under the title Any Day Now (My Wild Beautiful Bird), as recorded by Chuck Jackson. It’s another song that had been recorded many times, with a great many big names (including Percy Sledge, Bill Medley, Frankie Valli, Elvis Presley and James Brown) cutting versions of in 1969 for some reason.

Help Me Baby: The full title for this song is Help Me Baby (I’ve Fallen In Love With You) and it was written by session singer David Lasley, who had performed backing vocals on many album and has written hits for a variety of artists. He has also recorded several albums of his own over the last 30 years.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Sep. 14
Nick KAMEN Come Softly To Me (WEA YZ133)
PEPSI AND SHIRLIE Can’t Give Me Love (Polydor POSP885)


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