When “The Second Time Around” hit airwaves in 1979, Shalamar was on their way to the top of the charts. This R&B trio made up of three Soul Train dancers, Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, was created by the show’s booking agent and producer Dick Griffey and Don Cornelius. With their smooth vocals, trendsetting style, and cutting edge dance moves, Shalamar’s original line up went on to be an influential dance trio and helped introduce popping and locking to the UK.
Throughout the late 70s and early 80s Shalamar burned up the R&B charts with hits like “A Night to Remember” and the albums Big Fun, Three For Love, and Friends, which was certified platinum and reached number 1 in the US and number 6 in the UK. Speaking of “A Night to Remember” one year before Michael Jackson moonwalked across the stage at Mowtown 25, Shalamar’s Jeffrey Daniel performed the “backslide” (aka the moonwalk) on the UK’s Top of the Pops during a performance of the hit song. He was eventually hired by MJ to teach him the complicated step…How’s that for little known music history facts?
By the mid 1980s trouble began to brew in the group, leading to both Watley and Daniels leaving Shalamar shortly after the release of their album The Look in 1983. However, the show must go on and this group’s story doesn’t end there. With the addition of Delisa Davis and Micki Free, the group returned to the top of the US charts with their hit “Dancing In The Sheets” from the Footloose soundtrack and won a Grammy for “Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills” from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. By 1990, after the departure of Howard Hewett, Shalamar had faded into obscurity, with the original members reuniting in 1996 on Babyface’s “This Is for The Lover in You” a cover of a single from Shalamar’s 1980 album Three For Love.
Peep game folks! Long before Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel teamed up with Howard Hewett to form Shalamar they were setting trends every week as they popped and locked their way down the Soul Train line. Jody was the epitome of fly and funky with her braided locks down to the tip of her platform shoes while Jeffrey kept cool in dance ready threads and a sick afro. Once the two were in Shalamar their style went through the roof with Jody rocking classic disco diva frocks and Jeffrey blowing his hair out into a Flock of Seagulls-esque do. Don’t forget about Howard Hewett who balanced out Jody and Jeffrey’s fame-tastic style by injecting a smooth casualness only found in guys during the late 70s-early 80s.
What goes around eventually does come back around. Thanks to this season’s 70s revival, Shalamar’s R&B meets disco style is perfectly on trend again.
So that you know I’m not biased, here’s a video by Shalamar part 2, with Micki Free and Delisa Davis. Micki and Delisa were fly in their own right and will draw no comparisons from me to Jody and Jeffrey-apples to pears.
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