Michael Lovesmith

Singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Michael Lovesmith is one of the music industry's most underrated talents. He co-wrote two songs with Barry White, "Whatever We Had We Had" and "Don't You Want to Know" for White's 1994 multi-platinum album The Icon Is Love(number 20 pop, fall 1994). Others who have recorded Lovesmith's songs are the Jackson 5("All I Do Is Think of You"), Aretha Franklin("Better Friends Than Lovers" from her 1983 Get It Right LP, number 36 pop, summer 1983), Gladys Knight and the Pips("Don't Make Me Run Away"), and Bobby Brown("You Aint Been Loved Right" from his first solo effort King of Stage, MCA, 1987). Lovesmith co-wrote and co-produced several songs with Motown Records founder Berry Gordy for Smokey Robinson's Intimate album, issued in fall 1999 on Motown/UNI. Born Michael L. Smith in St. Louis, MO, the singer/songwriter was a member of the group the Smith Connection, which was comprised of him and his brothers Danny and Louis. They recorded for Motown's '60s hit songwriting/production trio Holland/Dozier/Holland's Music Merchant label where they had a hit single with "(I've Been a Winner, I've Been a Loser) I've Been in Love" which peaked at number 28 R&B in early 1973. When H-D-H returned to Motown in the mid-'70s, they brought along Michael and his brothers, who recorded one album as Lovesmith for the label in the early '80s. Michael Lovesmith was signed to Motown's music publishing firm, Jobete Music, as a staff songwriter. Working with Brian and Eddie Holland, Lovesmith's songs were covered by Motown artists including the Jackson 5. The candy-sweet ballad "All I Do Is Think of You," co-written by Lovesmith and Brian Holland, was originally the B-side of the Jackson Five's 1975 hit cover of Diana Ross and the Supremes' "Forever Came Today" (number six R&B, summer 1975). It's one of Michael Jackson's best vocal performances. When it began getting radio play, Motown reissued "All I Do Is Think of You" as an A-side, which peaked at number 50 R&B, late 1975. Part of the reason the single wasn't a big hit was that the group had already left Motown; the following year they signed with CBS Records as the Jacksons. The track was on the Jackson Five's Moving Violation LP (number 36 pop, summer 1975), the 1976 two-record greatest-hits set Anthology, and can be found on the 1996 Motown compilation Baddest Love Jams, Vol. 3: After the Dance. Barry White's godson Chuckii Booker produced a hit cover of "All I Do Is Think of You" for the California quintet Troop that was faithful to the Jackson Five's version. It hit number one R&B in spring 1990 and is on their 1989 Atlantic LP Attitude and on the 1998 various-artists set Smooth Grooves: New Jack Ballads, Vol. 2 from Rhino. Lovesmith's smooth disco song "Let's Be Young Tonight" went to number 19 R&B on Billboard's charts in fall 1976 for former Jackson Five member Jermaine Jackson. The 1976 LP My Name Is Jermaine included two more Lovesmith songs, the thumping "Faithful," with interweaving vocals by Thelma Houston("Don't Leave Me This Way"), and the luscious post-midnight sax-laced ballad "My Touch of Madness." The latter received substantial radio play as an album track and was used in the soundtrack of various movies. The songwriter collaborated with Houston and David Jones on the title track to her 1977 Motown LP Anyway You Like It. He co-wrote with Jackson and Maureen Bailey"Go on Doin' What You Feel" for Motown group Switch("There'll Never Be,""Love Over and Over Again,""Call Your Name"). "Let's Be Young Tonight" can found on Jackson's Greatest Hits&Rare Classics issued by Motown in 1991. Around the same time, Lovesmith produced an album for disco singer Pattie Brooks on Neil Bogart's Casablanca Records. By the early '80s, Lovesmith was a solo artist for Motown, releasing the LPs I Can Make It Happen (the chugging Marvin Gaye-ish groover "Baby I Will" charted number 80 R&B, summer 1983, with the extended 12" version becoming a steppers' classic) and his dazzling one-man band effort Diamond in the Raw(1984, highlights include the mid-tempo Motown-ish "Zapped," the chugging single "I Can't Give Her Up," the funky "Lucky in Love,""A Promise Is a Promise,""Fast Girls," and the charming "Be My Star"). A 1985 album included Lovesmith's only-other chart single, the smooth, tropical-flavored "Break the Ice," number 82 R&B, summer 1985, and "Ain't Nothing Like It." Lovesmith wrote songs for and produced the 1995 Motown self-titled debut of Mind, Heart and Soul(the single "Tears," and "Always" with passionate vocals by Daveon Overton) and the sensuous female vocal group Harem. He also sang background vocals on Luther Vandross' 1990 Epic album Any Love and did arrangements on John Denver's 1986 RCA LP One World. ~ Ed Hogan

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