Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Although primarily known for their cross over smash hit Word Up , Cameo has been scoring chart topping R&B and dance hits for almost thirty years. Larry Blackmon and crew have been bringing the funk to the people through a range of styles, while retaining a trademark style all of their own.
Formed in 1974, Cameo got their start as part of George Clinton's group of funkateers. Blackmon formed a side funk group of his own and soon they were touring alongside Parliament Funkadelic. Cameo started with a deep, funky sound, but it was obvious from the start that their sights were set on the dance floors. Their first albums Cardiac Arrest , Ugly Ego , We All Know Who We Are and Secret Omen contained disco influenced dance floor songs such as I Just Want To Be and Find My Way , which was a major disco smash and was included on the soundtrack to Thank God It's Friday .
By the time Cameosis came out in 1980 through singles such as Shake Your Pants Cameo gained considerable momentum. Following singles Knights of the Sound Table and Alligator Woman saw the band playing up their eclectic style. However, by the time the mid-80's approached, Larry Blackmon and crew were ready to move onto a new style. Cameo stripped down to a trio and concentrated more on chart success.
Inspired by the edgy synthesizer arrangements being pushed forward by the new wave groups of the time, Blackmon moved the band into a hard-core "electronic funk" direction. The band utilised his song writing ability and the new technology becoming available in the recording studios. Blackmon began putting his trademark "Ooow!" into the forefront of his mixes and the Cameo sound had markedly changed.
She's Strange came out in 1984 and its 12 inch mix was a major smash in the R&B clubs. The title track and its follow-up Talking Out The Side Of Your Neck were minor successes on the pop charts. Single Life continued this electronic drum fueled robotic funk style and again, Cameo saw some cross over chart success. Cameo benefitted in night club play from the heavy usage of the twelve inch remixes.
Word Up hit radio airwaves in mid 1985 and instantly became one of the biggest pop song of the year. Critically acclaimed with large amounts of club and radio airtime and Cameo became superstars. The follow-up tracks Candy and Back and Forth also were huge hits for the funktrio. By the end of 1985 Word Up seemed to be everywhere: radio, clubs, MTV, Coca Cola commercials, and even in people's conversations as the phrase became a national catch phrase. Some music critics have hailed "Word Up! " as the defining song of the 80's.
Cameo had become one of the most well-known bands in the world, but the touring and fame that came from Word Up took its toll. The group became overexposed, and needed to take some time before releasing its follow-up. Three years later Cameo would release Machismo to luke warm pop response but favorable critical reviews. 'Emotional Violence " also did well critically, but didn't contain the 'smash-hit' radio singles that Word Up had. 1994's In The Face of Funk album contained an excellent cover of Slave's Slide that got some club play, but for the most part, Cameo's reign atop the pop charts was over.
Of course, nothing could top the phenomenon of the Word Up period, and Cameo has kept this all in perspective. Instead of infighting or collapse - which many bands experience after falling from superstardom Cameo has stuck together. The trio has continued to tour the globe to this day.
A revolving door of record labels has hurt their record promotion and support. However, Cameo has been resurfacing on radio airwaves lately and on video channels.
|1977||Cardiac Arrest||Chocolate City|
|1978||We All Know Who We Are||Chocolate City|
|1978||Ugly Ego||Chocolate City|
|1979||Secret Omen||Chocolate City|
|1980||Feel Me||Chocolate City|
|1981||Knights of the Sound Table||Chocolate City|
|1982||Alligator Woman||Chocolate City|
|1990||Real Men Wear Black||Casablanca|
|1991||Emotional Violence||Warner Brothers|
|1993||The Best Of Cameo||Mercury|
|1994||In the Face of Funk||Way Too Funky|
|1999||12 Collection & More||Mercury|
|2000||Sexy Sweet Thing||Crash|
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