Point of No Return Edition

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Chris Molanphy: Welcome to Hit Parade, a podcast of pop chart history from Slate magazine about the hits from coast to coast. I’m Chris Molanphy, chart analyst, pop critic and writer of Slate’s. Why is the song number one series? On today’s show, 35 years ago this month, in July of 1987, the hot 100 was awash in pulsating synthesizers and pinging rhythms.

Chris Molanphy: In the early eighties, you might have expected these electronic musical tools to be wielded by such MTV’s synth pop gods as Duran Duran or Prince. But in the second half of that decade, they were most effectively deployed by acts crossing over from the worlds of urban club music, hip hop, and especially Latin dance led by Miami Girl Group Trio Exposé So Love. Me and Exposé were in the top five that summer with a point of no return.

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Chris Molanphy: But they were not alone. A cornucopia of similar acts, many female led were all over the hot 100. Their angular beats and yearning vocals formed a new subgenre identified by DJs and club tastemakers as freestyle. Emerging from the clubs and radio stations in Miami and New York.

Chris Molanphy: Freestyle was a hybrid genre that combined the dance rhythms of post disco and electro rock. With the florid romantic yearnings of eighties Latin club music. Freestyle was a fundamentally romantic genre. The beats were frenetic. The lyrics impassioned. You just. The freestyle caught lightning in a bottle, creating stars and generating hits that crossed over at Top 40 radio.

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Chris Molanphy: Some artists who went on to mainstream pop success got their start with freestyle music. Even argue that the biggest female pop star of the entire 1980s broke thanks in part to freestyle.

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Speaker 2: Come on. Would be.

Chris Molanphy: And soon, artists from the worlds of New Wave Rock and British synth pop were seeking out freestyle producers to refresh their sound.

Chris Molanphy: At the peak of freestyle, Billboard magazine even gave the music more or less its own chart. But. But on the main stream charts, the frustration for freestyle was that to go all the way to the top of the hot 100, the music had to get a lot softer. Slower. Even Mushir.

Speaker 2: Because. You now do it.

Chris Molanphy: But in clubs and on the radio, the energetic rhythms of freestyle carried into the nineties and beyond. Today on Hit Parade, we will attempt to define the eighties dance mini genre that bridged the disco era into the House era.

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Chris Molanphy: Whether they were swooning or grooving, Freestyle got a lot of people moving in the eighties, but no track. Got more people to the floor than the song that dance historians say started it all on the charts. Freestyles. Big Bang Moment. And that’s where your hit parade marches today.

Chris Molanphy: The week ending February 25th, 1984, when Let the Music Play by Shannon, reached its peak of number eight on Billboard’s Hot 100. By the way, eight spots higher than even Madonna had gotten to that date. How did this pop one hit wonder? Shannon would never return to the American Top 40. Managed to get a jump on the sound of eighties dance pop and start a musical movement. The beat, the lyrics, the synths, the production, all of it mattered. And it changed the game for dance pop for the next decade. You might say we started dancing and freestyle love put us into a groove.

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Speaker 3: And we started.

Speaker 2: To put up and down with time by one.

Chris Molanphy: I want to start this episode by taking us back very briefly to the Girl Group era of the early sixties. In 1961, the Shirelles scored one of the earliest number one hits of this girl group Wave with their recording of the Carole King, Gerry Goffin classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow. The song Seemingly Innocent, was actually about a very adult subject for its day, whether sleeping with the object of one’s affection will leave a girl heartbroken by morning. It was about the most overt a song about sex and female agency could be in the early sixties.

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Speaker 2: Well, you know, not me. My.

Chris Molanphy: Now let’s splash ahead about a quarter century and consider this song on the same subject.

Speaker 3: Favored.

Speaker 2: By a young lady.

Chris Molanphy: Lisa, Lisa and Cult Jam’s 1985 hit. I wonder if I take you home. A quintessential example of the freestyle movement. We are going to discuss in this episode is about bluntly a teen girl fretting over whether she should sleep with the boy she’s dating. Famous. It’s about 40 to 50% more explicit. Then Will You Love Me tomorrow?

Chris Molanphy: The Lisa Lisa song has no curses and very little actual sex talk, but there’s far less obfuscation of what the song is about than there was on the Shirelles hit. Moreover, the pulsating quantized backing track couldn’t sound less like the swirling orchestration of the Shirelles classic, but the topic of I wonder if I take you home.

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Chris Molanphy: More to the point, the yearning in this young woman’s dilemma, it’s precisely the same. Or how about this girl group classic Martha and the Vandellas 1963 hit Heatwave. In this Motown chestnut, Martha Reeves sings about a passion that utterly overcomes her and uncontrollable burning whenever the object of her desire so much as calls her name. At one point, Reeves even diagnoses herself with high blood pressure.

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Chris Molanphy: As the Detroit trio’s harmonies build to a crescendo, this illness, this love fever feels like an addiction. Two and a half decades later, the Bronx New York trio Sweet Sensation, knew a thing or two about addictions.

Speaker 2: Good to see.

Chris Molanphy: Sweet Sensations 1987 hit Hooked On You is about an overcoming passion. Front Woman Betty LeBron self-diagnosis as insane and sings about an uncontrollable fire again compared with the sixties hit Hooked on You was made on a shoestring, its backing track largely built out of a sequencer. But for a younger generation, this is what overpowering lust sounded like.

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Chris Molanphy: Now, I’m not claiming these eighties freestyle examples are going to go down as comparable pop classics to their sixties forebears. For starters, the Lisa Lisa and Sweet Sensation singles were smaller chart hits than the Shirelles and Martha and the Vandellas hits were. My only point is that every generation will find the medium to express universal needs, desires and doubts.

Chris Molanphy: And if you grew up in the eighties, particularly if you were a young woman like, say, a teenage Jennifer Lopez, captured in this 2017 video singing along in a car with a 1988 hit by Latin freestyle singer Noel.

Speaker 3: Oh, your what? You know about it.

Speaker 2: With. The say if.

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Chris Molanphy: This was your formative period, then freestyle might have been the music that captured your heart and expressed your longings. And frankly, the seeming simplicity of the production was a feature, not a problem.

Speaker 2: So long. Wake up and go to.

Chris Molanphy: These freestyle track’s arrangements were deceptively complex even when they were built on off the shelf first wave eighties synthesizers. That sound gave freestyle a street immediacy that spoke to a generation of hip hop and pop fans, particularly black and brown listeners.

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Chris Molanphy: Now to explain just how freestyle blew up, we need to walk through some post disco history. As we’ve noted in several hit parade episodes, disco didn’t really die after the seventies. Rather, it morphed into a myriad of captivating dance floor idioms. Let’s briefly recap a few of them.

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Chris Molanphy: The instrumental shakes by Giorgio Moroder, a hit late in the disco movement reaching number 33 in 1979, was an early example of the so-called Italo disco genre. The Italian born Moroder, whom we discussed in depth in our Donna Summer episode of Hit Parade, had already helped define the future of dance music with such donna classics as the All Synthesized I Feel Love and with the lush, throbbing chase. He was pointing one direction disco might take after its commercial implosion.

Chris Molanphy: Here was another. Patrick Cowley, whom we discussed in our remix episode, was one of the forefathers of so-called high energy, spelled colloquially as h i. N r g. At the turn of the eighties, high energy was synthesized disco reduced to its densest form and spun up to a relentless tempo with staccato rhythms and pulsating basslines. Basically, it felt like dance music as a drug.

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Chris Molanphy: Do you sing? Dance forms like Italo and High Energy became swept up in the larger eighties dance culture known as post disco. This was mostly club music, but what was interesting was how these post disco forms were adapted on records that might receive radio play, especially when lyrics were piled on top.

Chris Molanphy: New York R&B duo D Train produced soulful records in the post disco idiom, heavy with synthesizers on their 1982 number 13 R&B hit. You’re The One for Me. The synths are more than rhythmic or ornamental. They’re like an extra voice on the track.

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Speaker 2: A stand up, shot up. Oh, for one.

Chris Molanphy: Across the Atlantic. Italian singer Ryan Paris’s Dolce Vita, number one in a half dozen European countries in early 83, as well as top five in the UK, took the Italo disco style, added pop vocals in English and achieved a blend of romantic lushness and synth pop angularity.

Speaker 2: Inside. To get ahead of the game. And in England.

Chris Molanphy: New wave duo Yazoo, known as Jazz in the U.S., brought synth pop to the dancefloor with their 1982 classic situation. Only a number 73 U.S. pop hit, but a number one club.

Speaker 2: Bound don’t mess around. You got a bad.

Chris Molanphy: South Sudan situation combined and acidic British chill with the soulful American sounding vocals of Alison Moyet, including her immortal laugh. All of these forms of dance music eventually culminated in the short lived genre that is freestyles closest cousin and direct forebear Elektra. As its name suggests, Elektra was a kind of techno pop rooted in the synth based innovations of groups like Kraftwerk, the German Innovators 1981 album. Computer World is considered a kind of proto electro.

Speaker 3: I try it here. I feel safe. See what you mean by.

Chris Molanphy: American producers like Arthur Baker and John Ruby fused this German austerity with American R&B and the earliest glimmers of hip hop’s break, dance and break beat culture. In 1982, Baker and Roby teamed with a quintet of Boston vocalists to form R&B troupe Planet Patrol, a kind of experiment that all music notes, quote, walked an intriguing line between Electro and the classic Motown sound, unquote. Planet Patrols. Play at Your Own Risk was built out of electro beats that Arthur Baker and John Robbie had discarded from another track. They were working on a seminal rap recording that Speaking of Planets was also a much bigger hit.

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Speaker 3: 40 people. Five people. Yeah. You’ll get folk.

Chris Molanphy: Suicide in full swing. Yoga, a focus group who.

Speaker 2: Makes a video game. Show game that.

Chris Molanphy: Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force is considered Electra’s signature track. It reached number four on the R&B chart in 1982. Built out of an interpolation of Kraftwerk, Trans Europe Express plus behind the beat, rapping by Bambaataa filtered through a vocoder, explosive synth stabs and a dizzying array of electronic effects. Planet Rock, most critics agree, changed the course of R&B, rap and dance production for the rest of the 1980s.

Speaker 2: Rah, rah, rah, rah, rah.

Chris Molanphy: As seminal as it is, Planet Rock is what you might also call a scrappy record. Producers Baker and Roby take thin electronic sounds and make them seem massive on Baumgartner’s follow up Looking for the Perfect Beat. Baker and Roby further refined the electro sound down to its essence. By 1983, the breakbeats and synth stabs of electro were cropping up on records far beyond the New York streets, such as on U.K. post-punk quartet, New Order, Single Confusion, which they co-produced with Baker and Rope Ventures.

Speaker 2: You moves me.

Chris Molanphy: Around. This time, these pulsating electro sounds began to morph as they were applied to even scrappier records recorded by producers with more limited budgets than Arthur Baker. Miami producer Tony Butler, who produced under the name Pretty Tony, simplified the electro sound even further on tracks like Don’t Stop the Rock.

Speaker 3: Speaking at the House tonight for Justin Bieber, love the right to stop the lights. Baseball’s beginning and the first beginning.

Chris Molanphy: By the way, the group name for that pretty Tony track was simply freestyle. Though this backstory is much debated, that group name is credited as the likely origin of the genre name freestyle. Even though Pretty Tony was largely working off the building blocks of electro, Tony was shifting the sound in the direction Miami freestyle would ultimately go, especially when he began producing singles by a club singer named Deborah Kowalski, who called herself Debbie Deck.

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Speaker 2: Went to school suitably like Donna Summer.

Chris Molanphy: Debbie Debs, pair of flagship singles in 1983 and 84. When I hear Music and Lookout Weekend, respectively.

Speaker 3: Just because we can get a template.

Chris Molanphy: For other freestyle acts to follow. This vocal style is part of what distinguishes freestyle from electro or high energy. Deb’s vocals were pleading a bit deliberately, flat and filled with attitude. A female version of Break Dance, or so-called B-Boy culture. This same B girl attitude was picked up by R&B vocalist Lisa Fisher, who was then recording as a club singer named Xena. Xena’s On the Upside is now considered a B-Boy B Girl classic and another building block of what freestyle became.

Speaker 2: But on the block, love is happiness and sending their.

Chris Molanphy: Kids around this same.

Speaker 3: Time.

Chris Molanphy: In New York City clubs in 1982 and 83. Another attitudinal singer was making a bit of a splash. More than a bit.

Speaker 2: Everybody. Thanks, everybody. Get up and do your thing.

Chris Molanphy: Let’s just st Madonna in a parallel universe where she didn’t wind up taking over the world, could have been remembered primarily as a club singer and more specifically, a proto freestyle singer. Madonna’s debut single, 1980 Choose Everybody, You Know, was.

Speaker 3: Trying to say. Along. Take chance. Get up, tap dance. Let the teaching shake you.

Chris Molanphy: That was closer to post disco synth pop than freestyle. Though it had some of freestyles, scrappiness. Everybody was only a club hit, reaching number three in January 1983 on Billboard’s Club chart, then called Dance Disco.

Chris Molanphy: But a year later, on the hit that would prove her mainstream pop breakthrough, Madonna moved more firmly in the direction of freestyle because she was working with one of the prime producers of the freestyle movement. John Jellybean.

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Chris Molanphy: Benitez was not only Madonna’s then boyfriend. He was the producer of Holiday, the song that would bring Madonna onto the Hot 100 for the first time. Jelly Bean, like Pretty Tony and several other producers will discuss, is virtually synonymous with freestyle. A descendent of Puerto Rican immigrants from the Bronx, Benitez innately knew how to arrange and mix a record with the pinging, synthesizers and Latin polyrhythms freestyle became known for.

Chris Molanphy: Holiday was a last minute substitution on Madonna’s self-titled 1983 debut album, and the only track on the set produced by Jelly Bean Benitez when it broke in New York City. Black Radio played it first, and Madonna’s early gigs were largely in downtown clubs frequented by Latin audiences.

Chris Molanphy: In other words, even as the single climbed the charts peaking at number 16 on the hot 100, many listeners didn’t realize the singer of Holiday was neither black nor Latina, but rather an Italian-American white girl from Michigan. However. But this stew of cultural influences would foreshadow where freestyle would wind up.

Chris Molanphy: But though it was produced by a freestyle auteur, holiday is not a pure freestyle single per say. Its instrumentation is more lush with post disco elements like cowbell and piano. It doesn’t have the whip crack synth sounds later associated with freestyle.

Chris Molanphy: By mid 1983, the pure freestyle sound was still only a club phenomenon. The song that would finally break freestyle on the pop charts, its signature hit came out while Madonna’s holiday was scaling the hot 100 and for a brief moment. This was one of the last times you could see this for the next decade. This performer did better on the charts than Madonna.

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Chris Molanphy: Let the music play. Landed in the summer of 1983. By 1984, it was everywhere. Its blazing rhythm track summed up everything that had been happening in dance music and hip hop with gated snare inspired by Arthur Baker and John Ruby’s work with Afrika Bambaataa, syncopation that echoed both breakbeats and Latin salsa and on trend synth sounds, including the seminal Roland TR 808 that literally cracked like a whip.

Chris Molanphy: When teenage Puerto Rican producer Chris Barbosa composed the track in his home studio in the Bronx, he originally titled it Fire and Ice for its combination of a sizzling rhythm track and the chili pop melody he put on top of it.

Chris Molanphy: Then there was the vocals from Brenda Shannon GREENE, raised in Washington, D.C. and as an adult working as a bookkeeper in New York City. Shannon had previously sung with jazz ensembles and and R&B troop, so her vocal on Let the Music Play had R&B in its bones, but it was pure club in its attitude. The lyrics, in fact, Ghost, written by songwriter and Godwin, are about the club, how dancing is tantamount to foreplay, and how the dance floor both reveals and conceals.

Chris Molanphy: Quote I thought it was clear. The plan was we would share this feeling just between ourselves. Shannon sings. But when the music changed, the plan was rearranged. He went to dance with someone else, unquote. They just it was a flashy B-Boy record with female lyrical interiority. It was both romantic and enigmatic. It was legible to white, black and brown audiences.

Chris Molanphy: Let the Music Play was the galvanizing hit. Freestyle had been waiting for. Debuting on the Hot 100 in November 1983, Shannon’s Let the Music Play a dozen weeks later, pushed past Madonna’s holiday to become freestyles first. Top ten hit. Casey Kasem counted it down.

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Speaker 4: Brenda Shannon Green, who records just as Shannon her recent number one dance, a disco hit as the number eight this week on American Top 40. Here’s Shannon from Washington, D.C. with Let the Music Play with US.

Speaker 3: And as soon as we started.

Chris Molanphy: Though, it would wind up peaking at number eight. Trust me, if you lived in a place like New York or Miami in 1984, let the music play, had the ubiquity of a number one hit, echoing out of car radios and boomboxes citywide. It changed the game for dance pop.

Chris Molanphy: After Let the music play. Jelly Bean Benitez went back and remixed tracks from Madonna’s debut album that he hadn’t worked on, like the eventual number four hit Lucky Star to give them more of a freestyle vibe.

Chris Molanphy: Shannon herself would try to recreate the magic of let the music play on her own follow up hit Give Me Tonight. It only reached number 46 on the hot 100, though it did reach number six on Billboard’s R&B chart. That R&B chart Peak suggested that Shannon had established freestyle as a firmly black driven genre. But another 1984 single by Jelly Bean Benitez suggested a different direction.

Speaker 2: She called Fernandes.

Chris Molanphy: The Mexican, featuring vocals by singer Jenny Hart, was a number one club hit for Jelly Bean in the fall of 84. A cover of a seventies rock song by British band Babe Ruth. The Mexican featured more prominent Latin percussion than either Madonna’s holiday or Shannon’s Let the Music Play, both of which were produced by Puerto Rican creators. Jelly Bean was tying freestyle even closer to its Latin roots. The jelly bean would go on to score much bigger top 40 pop hits, including Sidewalk Talk, a collaboration co-written by Madonna. She even sang the chorus that eventually reached number 18.

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Speaker 2: On one side, but still do it at a much.

Chris Molanphy: And for Madonna herself, Jelly Bean produced the 1985 number one hit Crazy for You, a full on ballad that used the tools of free style in the service of a synthesized torch song.

Speaker 2: What I’m trying to say is that.

Chris Molanphy: But jelly beans. The Mexican was closer to where freestyle was headed next. The birth of what came to be called Latin freestyle.

Chris Molanphy: Please Don’t Go was a late 1984 single by Naomi Catalina Gomez, known professionally as Naomi. The Brooklyn born Afro-Cuban singer is credited with recording the first universally recognized Latin freestyle hit with pinging rhythms that approximated the sound of salsa music. Naomi would later rerecord the song in Spanish, as noted by us.

Speaker 2: You say tonight someone is dating someone to talk about it and to tell me.

Chris Molanphy: By the time, please don’t go. Number 23 on Billboard’s Dance Disco Chart. In early 85, the Latin freestyle sound was already spreading to other more top 40 friendly hits such as Yo Little Brother. A Single by Nolan Thomas. A New Jersey singer discovered and produced by the same team behind Shannon’s Let the Music Play. Yo, little brother peaked at number 57 on the hot 100 in February 1985.

Speaker 2: Yo, yo, what’s.

Chris Molanphy: Other singers adopting the emerging Latin freestyle sound. Not all of them Latin ex included Alicia Aitken from Brooklyn, who recorded simply as Alicia and scored a string of fiendishly catchy New York radio hits such as All Night Passion. My. Right. And two turned on you?

Speaker 2: Yes. It is.

Chris Molanphy: As well as the Maryland Family Band Star Point and R&B and funk combo, fronted by singer Rene Diggs that only finally cracked the pop top 40 when they too adopted the freestyle sound on Object of my desire, a number 25 hit. My design. To be sure, R&B acts were still experimenting and blending elements of freestyle with synth funk. Shannon herself came back in 1985 with a new album Do You Want To Get Away? Whose title track topped the dance disco chart and reached the R&B Top 20?

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Speaker 2: Where is it?

Chris Molanphy: But the momentum in freestyle had shifted by mid 85 toward Latin freestyle in the spring of 85. Exposé, a girl group from Miami formed by producer Louis, a martini, topped the Billboard dance disco chart with a frenetic Latin freestyle jam called Point of No Return. This got Exposé signed to Arista Records. The Clive Davis run label that was about to tear up the R&B and pop charts with Whitney Houston. But Exposé would take two more years and a full lineup change to experience a complete breakthrough.

Chris Molanphy: We’ll come back to Exposé momentarily. In the meantime, a different Latina. A young woman from New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, born Lisa Velez, would give freestyle its first real infusion of visual star quality. In a genre often known more for its sounds and its producers than its singers. Lisa. Lisa, as she called herself, an adaptation of the 1984 street rap record. Rock sound. Rock sound would become freestyles most recognizable singer.

Chris Molanphy: Her debut single, I Wonder If I Take You Home, which we played you earlier in our show, is still regarded as one of freestyles signature hits, not the biggest hit. It only reached number 34 on the hot 100 and only gradually over a five month chart run.

Chris Molanphy: But you might call Lisa Lisa’s breakthrough single archetypal. I want. The chugging, spinning production punctuated by vocal chops. Lisa Lisa’s aching lead vocal offset by a small crew of male backing singers. The aforementioned lyrics wrestling with a teenage dilemma. That vibe was maintained on Lisa Lisa’s follow up hit Can You Feel the Beat?

Speaker 3: Can you feel the bandwidth in my heart? Can you see my love. Shine through the dark. I’m.

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Chris Molanphy: Can you which we reached number 69 on the hot 100, but did well in clubs and on urban radio stations.

Chris Molanphy: What distinguished Lisa Lisa from other freestyle acts was how she was presented as part of an established group. The full title of her 1985 debut LP, Red Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam with Full Force.

Chris Molanphy: Oh, I. Full force for a Brooklyn based recording and production team who’d been together since the seventies and started producing hip hop in the eighties. They were the ones who produced UTF O’s 1984 street rap, single Rocks and Rock Sam, which again inspired Lisa Lisa’s near full force masterminded Lisa Lisa and cult jam as a multicultural black and Latin group.

Chris Molanphy: They auditioned and hired not only Lisa Velez, but also the two men who backed her up as Coltrane guitarist and bassist Alex Spano, Dor Moseley and drummer and keyboardist Mike Hughes. This made Lisa Lisa an easier sell not only on pop radio but on MTV, which gave the visually striking trio more airtime than they otherwise might to a dance act that would pay big dividends later in Lisa Lisa career. Meanwhile, by 1986, the freestyle sound was spreading in all sorts of unpredictable directions.

Speaker 2: You got something? Oh.

Chris Molanphy: That’s business not unlike Madonna in 1983, when radio listeners in 1986 first heard the group new shoes spelled and ush0o. Z. Many assumed they were black or maybe Latin. In fact, their single I Can’t Wait broke first at black radio before crossing to Top 40 radio.

Chris Molanphy: I can’t wait. Was on trend cutting edge freestyle pop and be built around pinging synthesizers. A la shannon and vocal chops la Lisa Lisa. But new shoes only when their video broke on MTV later that year. Did music fans learn they were a pair of white people from Portland, Oregon, a wife and husband named Valerie Dey and John Smith.

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Chris Molanphy: This was, in essence, the magic of the freestyle sound. It crossed over effortlessly. I can’t wait. Ultimately reached number three on the hot 100 and number two on the R&B chart. De and Smith followed it up quickly with the soundalike single point of no return, which made it to number 28 pop. Number 36, R&B.

Speaker 2: No. The point of no free.

Chris Molanphy: Style also worked in the world of mainstream teen pop.

Speaker 2: They say he found out the Jets.

Chris Molanphy: A family band from Minneapolis, comprising members of the Wolf Graham family. Broke in 1986 with their top three hit Crush on You, a frothy freestyle confection. Though the Jets would score a string of hits in a variety of styles, they kept returning to freestyle as on their number seven hit, Cross My Broken Heart.

Speaker 2: I got in hot water. Got my book hot for you. I’m gonna go get hot boy. Wow.

Chris Molanphy: So whether it was freestyle soul like Rainey Davis, number 24, R&B hit, Sweetheart Baby.

Speaker 3: Want to see.

Chris Molanphy: Or Latin freestyle like nice and wild. Hip hop flavored top 20 club hit diamond girl.

Speaker 2: And do what was your life?

Chris Molanphy: Or trans-Atlantic freestyle. As on British duo Mel and Kim’s showing out produced by the UK high energy production wizards. Stock Aiken and Waterman.

Speaker 2: The movie channel.

Chris Molanphy: Freestyle and its offshoots were now infiltrating a full radio dial worth of hits by 1987. The sound was becoming so prevalent and expanding in so many directions, it was colonizing its own corner of the radio universe, and Billboard felt it needed to respond with a new chart.

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Chris Molanphy: In the issue. Dated February 28, 1987, Billboard made a front page announcement, quote, Hot 30 Crossover Chart Tracks, New Breed of radio. Read the headline in the article. The magazine revealed that 18 radio stations nationwide in cities from Miami to L.A., San Antonio, Texas to Norfolk, Virginia, had created a new hybrid format, one that played songs, quote, that were officially classified as pop or black, but were integrating dance records that didn’t chart either as pop or black, unquote. For lack of a better term, billboard called this hybridized radio format crossover. And they named their new chart, the Crossover 30.

Speaker 2: Every day for.

Chris Molanphy: Weeks. The chart debuted. Placing high on the survey was Miami Trio Exposé, who had scored that big club hit in 1985 but at the time hadn’t made any other chart. Their mastermind and producer, Louis Martini, had swapped out all three original members, replacing them with Miami based singers Joya Bruno and Careless and Janette Gerada. Their new single Combo with me ranked number two on the crossover throw in its first week. Months ahead of the song’s top five peak on the hot 100.

Speaker 2: They can be like all charts.

Chris Molanphy: The cross over 30 was, as I often say, on Hit Parade, a feedback loop. It revealed to the music industry the public’s embrace of freestyle dance tracks like Exposes and made those tracks more popular. Popular enough for mainstream rotation. Come, go with me.

Chris Molanphy: Eventually reached number five on the hot 100 and it was quickly followed by a 1987 rerecording of Exposé 1985 club hit Point of No Return. Mind you, not every track on this new chart was freestyle at number one. That first week of the Crossover 30 was an R&B hit with a beat taken from Washington DC’s Go-Go Music Club, a new rose smash cover of Bill Withers. Lean on Me.

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Speaker 3: Lean on Me, Will. Oh.

Speaker 2: And I’ll be your friend. Your friend?

Chris Molanphy: But in most other regards, the crossover 30 in its first year was a parade of freestyle and high energy hits whether from New York girl group the cover girls. Love me. Gay Club singer Paul La Carcass.

Speaker 2: Let’s go back tomorrow night and.

Chris Molanphy: British pinup model turned freestyle singer Samantha Fox. Or former Shalamar singer Jody Watley, who kicked off her solo career with the freestyle flavored smash. Looking for a new love.

Chris Molanphy: And then the crossover throw also revealed that even music that wasn’t strictly speaking freestyle was building off of the club driven energy of then current pop Janet Jackson, who by the summer of 87 was six singles deep into her 1986 album, Control. Missed the top ten on the Hot 100 with her hit The Pleasure Principle. But on the crossover 30 chart, that freestyle adjacent jam went to number one the.

Chris Molanphy: And the exposure provided by this new chart did wonders for newer dance acts, giving them a minor league playground to conquer before moving on to the big show later in 87. The Philadelphia Quartet, pretty poison, took their freestyle jam. Catch me. I’m falling to number two on the crossover chart weeks before it cracked the top ten on the hot 100.

Chris Molanphy: As exciting as all of this was, the biggest small C crossover of 1987 by any free style act came from Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, who not only topped the new Crossover 30 chart but even in a first topped the hot 100. The only question was whether they were already moving away from freestyle all together. Oh.

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Speaker 3: From the start.

Chris Molanphy: Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam had already tasted mainstream pop success back in late 1986. The third single, from their self-titled debut album, was a heartbroken piano ballad called All Cried Out. Producers Full Force amped up the song’s melodrama by turning it into a female male duet between Lisa Lisa and full force members Paul, Anthony and Lucian Bow Legged Lou. George, all cried out, finally broke Lisa Lisa into the top ten, peaking at number eight and. You. In and of itself.

Chris Molanphy: A dance act recording, a ballad wasn’t that unusual. Dating to the disco era acts like Rose Royce and KC and the Sunshine Band had issued ballads as a tempo change up. And of course, as I noted earlier, so did Madonna in 1985 with Crazy for You.

Chris Molanphy: But all cried out bore little resemblance to Lisa Lisa and cult jam’s freestyle arrangements. Other than some booming Syn drums, the song was just a traditional pop ballad. Brown, which showed on the positive side how sonically reversible they were, but also that they were willing to move away from freestyle to scale the charts. Lisa. Lisa and cult jams, pure pop, late 86.

Chris Molanphy: Success is an important backdrop to what happened in 1987 when they came back with this. Head to toe is broadly classified as a freestyle song. In fact, when it reached number one on the Hot 100 for the week ending June 20th, 1987, it earned a place in history as freestyles, first ever number one pop hit. But head to toe is really more of a hybrid elements of freestyle production and adds syncopation applied to a song that could have been a hit. I see this with admiration for Motown in the sixties.

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Speaker 2: So how can.

Chris Molanphy: The members of Full Force who wrote and produced the song openly admitted this was their intention. Quote, We consider ourselves musical historians, bow legged Lou George told Fred Bronson in the Billboard Book of Number One hits. We went back to the old Motown days, back to Diana Ross and the Supremes. Just listen to Head to tOe. Of course you hear the full Motown feel, but underneath it, you’ve got some hard driving drums, which is the full force sound, unquote. So if Head to tOe was a motown pastiche with freestyle flavoring.

Chris Molanphy: Lisa Lisa’s follow up hit Lost in Emotion was even more Motown, even less freestyle. Things. Punctuated by xylophone and congas run through synthesizers full force were using the tools of free style even when they weren’t sounding like freestyle.

Chris Molanphy: Lost in Emotion was another smash topping the hot 100 in October of 87. These two back to back number one singles pushed Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s sophomore album Spanish Fly into the album charts Top ten and it went platinum practically out of the box. More achievements that no other freestyle act had pulled off.

Chris Molanphy: To date, full force had figured out how to maximize Lisa Lisa pop potential allude to freestyle without creating full on freestyle jams. In a way, this was on trend for 1987. Freestyle was now so ubiquitous it seemed to pervade everything. Superstar singles evoked freestyle, such as Madonna’s summer number one hit Who’s That Girl? The title track from her film of the same name. It included Spanish lyrics and Latin freestyle overtones.

Chris Molanphy: Madonna’s former boyfriend, Jellybean Benitez, was also back in a collaboration with vocalist Elisa Fiorello called Who Found Who? Light and Airy. It was the glossy track Jelly Bean had ever produced a sign of his enhanced clout who found who reached number 16 in September 87.

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Chris Molanphy: Who found. Debbie Harry, who worked with Jelly Bean back in 1985 on a remix of one of her club hits went Full, High Energy and Freestyle with the remix of her 1987 club chart topper In Love with Love. Produced by Stocktake and Waterman. And Jelly Bean even got to produce a track on Whitney Houston’s much anticipated 1987 sophomore album Whitney Love Will Save the Day. Houston’s only hit to go fully in the direction of freestyle with clattering Latin production was eventually chosen as the album’s fifth single and peaked at number nine on the Hot 100.

Speaker 2: When you’re feeling down and you’ve got tough on your mind Saturday.

Speaker 3: We just.

Chris Molanphy: Love that. But these were established stars working in top flight studios in L.A. or New York, dabbling in freestyle and high energy beats in Miami, where Latin freestyle had utterly taken over the airwaves. They like the uncut stuff. Freestyle in Miami was as close to pure as you could get recorded cheaply, synthetically, but artfully made for booming from a car or pumping on the dance floor.

Chris Molanphy: I take the irresistible, fascinated by the Miami vocal trio company B, which broke on the cross over 30 chart months before reaching number 21 on the hot 100 or the even more direct dreamin by Miami deejay Bob Rosenberg, who recorded As Will to Power. Dreamers cracked the top ten on the crossover chart while only reaching number 50 on the hot 100. Hold that thought, by the way, because will too power will be back.

Chris Molanphy: Miami Freestyle was creating its own galaxy of stars whose hits received only modest national airplay but were spun in big cities at levels comparable to top 40 pop acts. Fort Lauderdale native Stephen Bernard Hill, who recorded simply as Stevie B, became a club and mix show staple in Miami and New York. With tracks like Party Your Body, which didn’t even make the Hot 100.

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Chris Molanphy: Stevie B was slow to break on the national charts, but by early 1988, he was edging closer to the top 40, with tracks like the heavily syncopated, swooning, romantic spring love. Come back to me. A number 43 hit for. You just.

Chris Molanphy: In between these extremes. On the one hand, these scrappy, locally famous Stevie B or company B, and on the other, the Whitney Houston type megastars. There were newly emerging pop acts with national ambitions who leveraged free style as their means of breaking into mainstream fame. Consider Long Island. New York’s Taylor Day.

Speaker 2: To my heart. Tell me.

Chris Molanphy: With big hair and a big voice. Dame looked like she was made for the dance floor when she broke in 1987 with Tell It to My Heart, a straight up freestyle record that reached number seven on the hot 100. In early 88, Dane released only a couple of singles in this freestyle mode before switching to mainstream balladry with her 1988 single I’ll Always Love You. A number three hit.

Speaker 2: And Donna Always loved. For all that you.

Chris Molanphy: By her sophomore album, Dain had mostly switched to balladry and adult contemporary pop. Freestyle was her gateway to the mainstream. Or how about this Long Island girl from Merrick, New York, one of the eighties top teen queens. Yes.

Chris Molanphy: Debbie Gibson, who launched her career with the frothy syncopated pop jam Only in My Dreams. That track broke out on urban top 40 stations, first played alongside the likes of Exposé and Stevie B before beginning a long, steady 18. We climbed to number four on the hot 100 again.

Chris Molanphy: As with Taylor Dayne, Only in My Dreams is essentially a freestyle record produced in this case by Brooklyn based high energy and electro producer Fred Zar. And while Debbie Gibson’s future hits would retain elements of this electro pop sound, such as her 1988 number three hit out of the blue with. Gibson’s label and managers generally emphasized her all-American girl appeal as she began crossing from the New York area to the rest of the country.

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Chris Molanphy: Debbie did love dance music. In fact, buried on her Out of the Blue album was a deep cut play. The field that was produced by one of Miami freestyles, true auteurs. It can. And Lewis, a martin whom I’ve mentioned in this episode as the producer and mastermind behind Exposé, was hitting his stride.

Chris Molanphy: In 1987 and 88, Martin was beginning to score higher profile gigs, producing rising stars like Debbie Gibson and Vanessa Williams. And as for his flagship act, Exposé was positively dominating the charts. Come go with me and point of no return. Both reached number five on the hot 100 and the hits kept coming. In fact, seven straight Exposé singles from 1987 through 89 would reach the top ten.

Chris Molanphy: All written and produced by Louis Martini. My personal favorite was Exposes Fall 1987 Smash. Let Me Be the One. A dramatic, almost spooky freestyle record with hints of goth rock that happened to reach its peak of number seven the week of Halloween.

Speaker 2: So you know what I mean?

Chris Molanphy: It was around this time that Louis Martini was contacted by a Hitmaking duo from England who’d been admiring him from afar. It made sense that this duo wanted to work with him. By that point, they’d been recording tracks indebted to American electro high energy and freestyle for more than four years.

Speaker 2: Now let’s turn to the ten.

Chris Molanphy: This is the original 1984 version of Pet Shop Boys, West End, Broadway and Eventual Global Smash. This early version was produced by Bobby Orlando’s a celebrated high energy innovator who produced cutting edge club tracks for such acts as model singer Ronnie Griffith and Drag Queen Divine. Pet Shop Boys members Neil Tennant and Kris Lowe sought out Bobby Orlando to produce West End girls while they were visiting New York. And even though they ultimately rerecorded the track in London with synth pop producer Steven Hache. This, by the way, was the version that went to number one in 1986.

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Speaker 2: So how? In what sense? How, Dad?

Chris Molanphy: Even this mainstream version of West End Girls retained a good deal of its urban New York flavor. The same went for other Pet Shop Boys hits like 1987 It’s a Sin, a number nine hit whose frenetic, feverish keyboards strongly echoed American freestyle.

Chris Molanphy: By 1988, Tennant and Lowe were ready to try the real thing, and they asked Lewis Martin to do for them what he’d done for Exposé and on an artistic level, at least. MARTIN Absolutely. With the chiming keyboard. So that sounded like South Beach in Miami, thumping, gated drums and an echoing men’s chorus.

Chris Molanphy: Domino dancing was Pet Shop Boys, Freestyle Club. Magnum opus. Unfortunately for the boys, it did better in clubs than it did on pop radio. Domino Dancing reached the top five on Billboard’s Club play chart, but only number 18 on the hot 100 breaking a string of Top ten Pet Shop Boys hits. Nonetheless, the collaboration between the boys and Martini affirmed that Latin freestyle had gone worldwide. Watch.

Chris Molanphy: Pet Shop Boys weren’t the only British act glomming on to free style. By 1988, Duran Duran, who’d incorporated dance rhythms into their hits since the beginning of their career, produced a blend of free style and house beats on their 1988 number four hit. I Don’t Want Your Love.

Speaker 3: Good around me.

Speaker 2: Now. I’ve. So.

Chris Molanphy: The aforementioned British model turned singer Samantha Fox went further, working with full force. The masterminds behind Lisa Lisa and cult jam foxes blend of pinup looks and insouciant attitude was a good match for freestyle, including her number three hit, Naughty Girls Need Love to Baby Tone. And just nine months later, her number eight hit. I want to have some fun.

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Speaker 2: But I thought, oh, my God.

Chris Molanphy: And in America, rising R&B singer Pebbles tried her hand at sultry freestyle on her number two hit, Mercedes Boy. The same. She’s gone since Lisa Lisa’s pair of pseudo freestyle number ones in 1987. No freestyle act had topped the hot 100.

Chris Molanphy: That would finally change in February 1988, when Exposé, the premier Latin girl group of the genre, went all the way to the top. But the song that went there was atypical for that. Here.

Chris Molanphy: Seasons Change was the fourth single from Exposure Exposes multi-platinum debut album, which had already spun off three straight uptempo top ten hits at a time when Top 40 radio was leaning heavily on adult contemporary balladry Ala. Taylor Dayne.

Chris Molanphy: It took a slow song to finally bring Exposé to the top. If the Bee Gees How Deep Is Your Love Can Be Called a Disco Ballad and Christopher Cross’s sailing a yacht rock ballad Seasons Change affirmed that there was such a thing as a freestyle ballad producer songwriter. Lewis Martin used the same production techniques and synthesizer sounds as on his dance tracks. Other hits in this micro genere included Brenda Kay Starr’s 1988 freestyle ballad, I Still Believe a number 13 hit.

Speaker 2: Sunday. We will find. Let’s get.

Chris Molanphy: Energy in short tempo was not necessary, strictly speaking, for a hit to be affiliated with freestyle. But what was a bit ominous was that through 1988 and 89, radio programmers seemed to prefer freestyle ballads over its dance jams. Those slow songs consistently did better on the charts.

Speaker 2: The thing to do.

Chris Molanphy: For example, Puerto Rican singer Wilma Cosmi, who recorded as Safire broke on the hot 100 with her uptempo Latin freestyle hit Boy, I’ve been told. But it could only manage a number 48 peak, whereas a few months later.

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Speaker 2: Why do we want to look at.

Chris Molanphy: Sapphire’s power ballad? Thinking of You went all the way to number 12. By far, her biggest hit or remember Will to Power. By 1988, deejay and producer Bob Rosenberg had expanded Will to Power into a trio, including a saxophonist and a female vocalist named Susie Carr. Carr sang lead on the uptempo Freestyle Jam. Say it’s going to rain. But again, despite the song’s popularity in cities like Miami will too, Power couldn’t crack the national top 40 peaking with say it’s going to rain at number 49 on the hot 100.

Chris Molanphy: But then Rosenberg had a weird brainstorm. And. A medley of two seventies classic rock staples. Peter Frampton’s Baby I Love Your Way and Leonard Skynyrd’s Free Bird mashed together into a freestyle ballad. Suzi Carr sang The Baby I Love Your Way Part, and Bob Rosenberg himself took Freebird and this ungainly mash up went all the way to number one.

Speaker 2: This place. See.

Chris Molanphy: This pattern just kept repeating. Sweet sensation. The aforementioned trio from the Bronx only got as high as number 23 with Hooked On You, the hit we played you near the top of our show.

Speaker 2: I walked down.

Chris Molanphy: But they did modestly better with sincerely yours. A number 14 hit that leaned even more in the direction of Latin freestyle. Sincerely. Good. But then in 1990, sweet sensation went all the way to the top with, yes, a ballot. If wishes came true. A number one hit that. STEREOGUM Number ones columnist Tom Brian says, quote, could have been a glam metal ballad. It’s a big, dramatic, nothing, unquote.

Chris Molanphy: If Wishes Came True was a deliberate attempt to cross over sweet sensation with pop programmers. And it worked. But at what cost? The other problem plaguing freestyle toward the end of the eighties was competition in the category of pop friendly blends of dance and hip hop. Freestyle no longer had the field to itself.

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Speaker 3: And on that day, back in the day.

Chris Molanphy: Called a new jazz swing, a more directly rap influenced R&B style, which we’ve discussed in several episodes of Hit Parade, began to emerge in 1987 and 88 in tracks by such hitmakers as Keith Sweat and Bobby Brown.

Speaker 2: Girl Smoke is the band even. I’ll take you. Begin to be your. Judy.

Chris Molanphy: So by 1989, when new pop and the crossover acts emerged, they were likelier to lean toward new jack swing than freestyle, for example. Karen White probably would have pursued freestyle adjacent beats if she’d broken around 86 or 87, instead breaking through in late 88. Karen White Crossover hits like The Way You Love Me Have the Swing of New Jack Swing and.

Chris Molanphy: I love even Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, which full force was always trying to cross over with pop audiences moved almost entirely away from freestyle. Their third album, Straight to the Sky. Led off with a mid-tempo R&B track called Little Jackie Wants to Be a Star, which only reached number 29.

Speaker 2: J.K. Simmons appears to.

Chris Molanphy: Even when Lisa Lisa returned to dance music on her next album, she sang over hip house beats supplied to her by the producers from C and C music factory. Mind you, through the end of the eighties, freestyle could still break a new act here and there from dino.

Speaker 2: Safety by hand. I will be your man because that’s the way you make me feel.

Chris Molanphy: Too, Martina. You. Two. George Le Monde. Ballon d’Or. Star also scored two top 40 hits in 1989 and 19. But none of these hits went near number one. And the acts that had been devoted to freestyle for years kept evolving away from its syncopated beats and speedy keyboards to score hits. You could see this most clearly with the man who called himself the king of freestyle. Stevie B.

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Speaker 2: Speaking. I wanted to be a man. I wanted to be a decent. Again. I want.

Chris Molanphy: By 1989, Stevie B was at last breaking out beyond Miami and New York and making the National Top 40 on the regular the firmly free style. I want to be the one made it to number 32 and its follow up in my eyes reached number 37. Now tell me, what.

Speaker 2: Do you see that will show you girls?

Chris Molanphy: In a bid to broaden his sound on 1990s, love and emotion. Stevie B took the tempo down a couple of steps closer to a new jack swing rhythm, and he was rewarded with a number of 15 hit. But then Stevie B resorted to the gambit that had worked for Exposé and Sweet Sensation, a full on ballad. And of course, it went all the way to the top of the hot 100 because I.

Speaker 2: You know now.

Chris Molanphy: Number one is columnist Tom Brian calls Because I Love You The Postman song quote A chintzy, slow jam freestyles, biggest blandest crossover hit of all. Unquote. Stevie B’s Because I Love You. Spent four weeks at number one at the end of 1990. Longer than any chart topper by any freestyle act. Stevie B never cracked the pop top ten again, even as Stevie B lugubrious Smash topped the chart.

Chris Molanphy: Freestyle was winding down as a pop force.

Chris Molanphy: One more freestyle artisan who managed to cross over before the gates slammed shut was a Fresno, California singer songwriter named Timmy Torres, who recorded as Timmy T and like Stevie B, Timmy G had first crack, the top 40 barely, with a relatively uptempo freestyle cut called Time After Time.

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Speaker 2: So you look at.

Chris Molanphy: That only managed a number 40 peak in 1990. But then Timmy T’s tender ballad One More Try.

Speaker 2: One more time. I didn’t know how much I loved you.

Chris Molanphy: One more time. That reached number one in March 1991, the last chart topper in any way associated with free style, even though it wasn’t really freestyle at all at the end of 1990, Billboard implicitly signaled the passing of the freestyle moment when they announced the termination of their crossover 30 chart. It had lasted a little less than four years. Quote The top 40 dance hybrid format is highly successful in a large number of markets, the magazine’s editor wrote. However, its success has influenced the Hot 100 chart to such a great extent that a separate radio chart to break out dance titles is no longer necessary, unquote.

Chris Molanphy: Indeed, dance music was huge. In the early nineties, New York club singer Carina managed to reach number six in 1991 with temptation, possibly the last pure freestyle hit to crack the top ten. She died. But crossover dance hits around this time leaned toward more bass heavy, loping club tempos either new jack, swing or pop and be like Tara Kemp’s number seven hit Piece of My Heart.

Chris Molanphy: You. Or straight up house music like black boxes. Number eight, euro disco hit. Everybody. Everybody wants.

Chris Molanphy: By the time Robin s scored her top five deep house classic Show Me Love in 1993, Lauryn Hill. A song that, by the way, has been revived in 2022, thanks to Beyonce’s interpolating hit Break My Soul. Freestyle was basically off the charts for the rest of the nineties. You could still hear freestyles echoes in certain club tracks like Lina Santiago’s Feel So Good, which edged into the pop top 40 in 1996.

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Speaker 3: Show me. Show me that you love me. Show me some energy. One Night Done. Show me some healing.

Chris Molanphy: Or Angelina’s 1996 club hit. Release me.

Speaker 3: Please.

Chris Molanphy: Or Lil Susie’s Can’t Get You Out of my mind. A top 20 club hit in 1997.

Speaker 2: Oh, did I get that? I failed to do that. Don’t get caught up.

Chris Molanphy: In the cosmology of pop many genres. Freestyle is tied to a very specific period. It’s trebly beats and slippy synthesizers dated firmly as a mid to late eighties phenomenon. And in the 21st century, as bass heavy styles like trap music and reggaeton have taken over the charts. You have to dig pretty deep to find evidence of freestyles legacy. Sometimes it’s just an allusion to a freestyle classic in the body of an otherwise unrelated track. For example, in their 2000 for Number 12 Hit Move Your Body, the reggae R&B fusion duo Nina Sky, quote the entire chorus of Lisa Lisa and cult jams. Can you feel the beat as a break down in the middle of the song?

Speaker 3: You like girl. So can it be that it can be? Can be? Can it can be? Can it be? With a market similar to the DA.

Chris Molanphy: That same Lisa Lisa jam is interpolated on Black Eyed Peas 2020 collaboration with reggaeton superstar Maluma called Feel the Beat. Sonically, it has nothing else to do with freestyle.

Speaker 3: Did you feel the beat within my heart? Can you see my love shampoo? That.

Chris Molanphy: In 2013, Cuban-American superstar and new king of Miami Dance Pitbull brought back Stevie B for a remake of his 1988 freestyle classic Spring Love in Pitbull’s Hands. However, the new spring love edged closer to modern EDM. Not that Stevie B seemed to mind the revival. Don’t know.

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Speaker 3: On the one hand, I love it, girl. I don’t care what you say. You know you are my words.

Chris Molanphy: Among modern pop acts, one of the few emulating the sound of what might be called classic freestyle is Canadian electropop singer Kaiser. Her 2014 hit, Hideaway, was first issued with House Beats, but it was also remixed in a freestyle version.

Speaker 3: Since June. Johnston. Sexy Brand.

Chris Molanphy: Kaiser clearly isn’t giving up on the genre. Her 2022 single passenger openly imitates the sound of vintage Latin freestyle. But that’s what freestyle mostly is vintage. It was a liminal genre that bridged the disco era at a moment when disco was considered uncool and the hip hop and house eras. In so doing, Freestyle provided a valuable service to the history of dance music and for listeners of a certain vintage. There’s that word again. Freestyle, with its impassioned lyrics and irresistible synthesized beats, will always be a source of happy memories.

Chris Molanphy: Which brings me to the good news for the vintage freestyle acts. They’re virtually all still active since the mid 20 tens. Concert promoters have been packaging the likes of Exposé, Lisa Lisa, Stevie B, Shannon, Debbie, Deb, Pretty Poison and George Le Monde on very successful concert tours. All these performers need on stage is a backing track and their voices. Yes, the audiences are largely composed of 40 and 50 somethings who remember their teenage years from the eighties. But they do sing along and especially dance along.

Chris Molanphy: By the way, that line up of Exposé that Lewis Martin put together back in the day when he wasn’t happy with the original version of Exposé. That trio, Jeanette, Gerardo and Carlos and Joya Bruno is still together, still performing three and a half decades later from the stage. They’re still shouting for audiences to dance like they’re in a club in 1987, and they’re still taking them to the point of no return.

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Chris Molanphy: I hope you enjoyed this episode of Hit Parade. Our show was written, edited and narrated by Chris Molanphy. That’s me. My producer is Kevin Bendis. Alisha Montgomery is the executive producer and Derek John, the supervising narrative producer of Slate Podcasts. Check out their roster of shows at Slate.com Slash Podcasts. You can subscribe to Hit Parade wherever you get your podcasts. In addition to finding it in the Slate Culture Feed, if you’re subscribing on Apple Podcasts, please rate and reviews while you’re there. It helps other listeners find the show. Thanks for listening and I look forward to leading the hit parade back your way. Until then, keep on Marching on the block. I’m Chris Molanphy.