All-Time Albums: #78



Intro 0:35
(What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me 4:25 (UK single, #27)
Intro 0:57
Hearsay 4:01 (UK single, remixed as Hearsay ’89, #56)
Intro 0:13
The Lovers 4:38 (UK single, remixed, #28)
Intro 0:45
Fake 3:56 (UK single, #33, remixed as Fake ’88, #16)
Intro 0:37
Criticize 4:07 (UK single, #4)
Intro 0:26
Never Knew Love Like This 5:09 (UK single, #26)
Interlude 0:17
Sunshine 5:59 (UK single, #72)
Crying Overtime 4:55
Intro 0:24
When The Party’s Over 3:29

Summer 1987, and the Jam & Lewis team found their stock higher than ever, thanks to the continued chart success of Janet Jackson’s Control, and their work with The Human League (specifically the US #1, Human) the year before. Added to that, a pair of 1986 efforts for Cherrelle (High Priority) and the SOS Band (Sands Of Time) had proven to be popular with album-buyers; the way a loose concept was woven into both records, complete with intros, interludes and reprises displayed an aesthetic which resonated beyond the dancefloor.

Hearsay was their next big project, for a singer whose self-titled debut had created a few waves on the club circuit but only delivered the one Top 40 hit, ironically a non-Jam & Lewis ballad If You Were Here Tonight.

From start to finish, this is a flawless record. A concept album, no less, and though the between-song dialogues and orchestral flourishes were a nightmare to edit out in my C90 compilation-making days, they are integral to the overall arc of the story. Eventually, the 7″ edits of most songs (Hearsay generated no less than SEVEN singles in the UK) surfaced on compilations, so I can enjoy the album without worrying about that now!

Fake is an absolute monster of a groove, for sheer bubbling funkadelic force there is nothing to match it in the Jam & Lewis canon. Bizarrely, the original only limped to #33, whereas a later 1988 remix got to #16 despite lacking the pure punch of the original. In an echo of the previous O’Neal LP, its biggest chart success Criticize wasn’t penned by Jimmy and Terry. Cherrelle popped up on Never Knew Love Like This for a kind of Saturday Love sequel, which was immediately the pick of the club DJs and audiences, but wasn’t a major hit when eventually issued as a single.

The Hearsay era would expand to include a remix album (All Mixed Up), a Christmas album (My Gift To You) and a Top 20 megamix called The Hit Mix. It spent over 100 weeks on the UK listings, going head to head with Luther Vandross’ Give Me The Reason (also distributed and marketed by CBS/Epic) for the definitive late 80s soul album.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s