The line between legend and has-been is often perilously thin, as Jeffrey
Osborne should know he's been teetering on it for close to a
decade now. Back in the early '80s, Osborne looked to be climbing into
the rarefied company of David Ruffin,
Robinson, Ben E. King and other
powerfully moving balladeers.
He has one of the most immediately identifiable voices
in contemporary music. For three decades Jeffrey Osborne has been
sharing his special brand of soulful vocal magic with audiences the
world over. Known for his ability to create music that appeals to both
pop and R&B listeners, Jeffrey says that the subject matter for the
material on "That's
For Sure" is basically relationship-oriented.
Jeffrey began his recording career with LTD (Love,
Togetherness and Devotion) in 1970, staying with them for a decade of hit
records. His induction into the group (initially as its drummer) came
when LTD was visiting his hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, where
his early years had been spent listening to the likes of
Gloria Lynne, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams and, of course,
legendary vocal teams like The Temptations
and The Four Tops.
"Being raised in a home with twelve children was
hectic but fun," he recalls. "Part of the fun was hearing my
dad's music he was a great trumpet player. He was a big influence
on me musically. I took up the trumpet in elementary school and kept at
it into high school."
Switching to drums in his teens, Jeffrey Osborne
also began developing his vocal skills with local bands. At the age of
17, he was asked to sit as a drummer with the legendary O'Jays
and four years later, he filled in on drums for LTD for one gig
and was subsequently hired as a permanent member of the funk 'n' soul
In 1971, the group relocated to California, initially
working with Ode/A&M recording artist Merry Clayton, with Jeffrey
doing sessions on the side with acts like The Sylvers and Smokey
Robinson until the group finally secured their own record deal with
A&M in 1973. "Everyone was sharing lead vocals when we started,
so we had no vocal identity. It wasn't until 1975 when "Love
Ballad" came out that our vocal sound became established. I'm very
proud that they wanted me to be the lead singer."
Osborne led the group through further hits like the
1977 No. 1 R&B and Top 5 pop smash "Back In Love Again"
and "Holding On (When Love Is Gone)," one platinum and two
gold albums, before stepping out on his own in 1980. With the release of
his first self-titled solo LP in 1982, "Jeffrey
Osborne," he found himself chart-bound via hits like "On
The Wings Of Love" and "I Really Don't Need No Light."
During his seven years as a solo chart-maker with
A&M, Jeffrey racked up hits like "Stay With Me Tonight,"
"The Last Time We Made Love" (with Joyce Kennedy),"
"You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)" and the 1988 R&B
chart-topper, "She's On The Left." In 1984, he co-wrote the
song "All At Once" for Whitney Houston's multi-million selling
debut album and established himself as a major concert attraction
through constant touring both at home and abroad.
Jeffrey delivered a hat trick of three gold albums ("Stay
With Me Tonight," "Don't Stop" and "Emotional")
for A&M before moving on to Arista Records in 1990; two hit duets
with then-Arista-artist Dionne
Warwick "Love Power" and
"Take Good Care Of You And Me" had preceded his arrival
at the label where he scored a Top 5 R&B single with "Only
Human," the title track for his one album for Arista.
With the emergence of rap and hip-hop as major forces
in the black music arena, Jeffrey held out for a recording situation
that would allow him the creative freedom he was seeking as, what he
terms, "a 'veteran' artist."
While absent from recording for most of the last
decade with the exception of the 1997 release of "Something
Warm For Christmas" on Modern Records Jeffrey's schedule
of non-stop touring continued unabated. "The touring didn't end
because I didn't have new records out," he smiles. "I was
doing shows throughout the country, in the Caribbean, Japan, Korea,
appearing at the Essence and Jazz Heritage festivals in New Orleans,
doing corporate events and keeping very busy!"
He adds, "I did the 'Colors Of
Christmas' show for a few years with artists like (Private Music
label-mate) Peabo Bryson,
and Deniece Williams and I performed in Aruba for Sinbad's
HBO special in 1998 with other acts like Larry Graham and The
Isley Brothers. I got a lot of mileage from that. It was like a real
rejuvenation for me."
Jeffrey Osborne still has that great voice, and a few dozen
great songs to fall back on.
What others say --
- A fan's review of a private concert held in Huntington Beach Central Park
Jeffrey Osborne was the closing artist. I will call him Electric Osborne. He was breathtaking. He opened with the R&B hit 'Yes I'm Ready', from the album "From the Soul", originally done by Barbara Mason and followed it with 'Call Me, I'll Be There', a Rippington's hit reborn. I loved it.
He had the audience in a jazz trance - frenzy if you will. Everyone was singing along, everyone dancing like crazy. He brought the crowd to their feet the minute he took the stage. He did one tune after another, while the women were swooning. Song-after-hit-song. 'On The Wings Of Love' was up next, an old Teddy Pendergrass tune. I happen to adore Pendergrass, so this was very cool for me. Next up was 'Close The Door', followed by 'Let Me Make Sweet Love To You'. A full-audience-sing-along with this song made it unforgettable.
What a complete blast! Just one big party. He split the song into a women's sing-along - and of course, a part for the men, also. It was just, plain silly-crazy - the type of thing that was impossible to sing without laughing out loud. It was so much fun, everyone on their feet with dancing shoes on! We simply could not end this night without a little 'Woo, Woo, Woo' from LTD. Now, that was a blast!
The audience participation was the best part of Osborne. The night would not be complete without him coming into the audience with a little of his woo, woo. The crowd by this point was a calmer version of crazy. He came into the audience to make sure all the Woo Wooing was on key. He had to make sure a white girl could woo, woo - and she did just fine. 'Back In Love Again' was a blast. I cannot remember the song title for the encore, it off the charts on the fun meter! We had a complete blast!
Hit songs include --
- She's On The Left
- You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)
- Don't You Get So Mad
- I Really Don't Need No Light
- Only Human
- Stay With Me Tonight
- Don't Stop
- We're Going All The Way
- On The Wings of Love
- Plane Love
- If My Brother's in Trouble
- In Your Eyes
- Eerie Meenie
- The Morning After I Made Love to You
- Can't Go Back On A Promise
- Room With A View
- All Because of You
- Yes I'm Ready
Jeffrey Osborne may be available for your next special event!
.Adult Contemporary R&B.
.Orchestra charts available.
..70s, ..80s, ..90s, ..00s, ..10s
Born: ..in Rhode Island
Mar 9, 1948
Based: ..in California
..in Los Angeles