There’s no good way to introduce this. It’s one of those rare times that you merely mention something as having existed, present the evidence thereof, and get out of the way. Ladies and gentlemen, this is…

Richard Simmons – Reach (1982): Oh, I just want to rag on this album and on Richard Simmons so badly, because it’s just… so… friggin’ easy. Fish+barrel+glock=dead fish. But there is a problem…

Richard Simmons was an overweight man. So the legend goes, someone with compassion sent him a note that asked him to take care of himself. They did not want him to die. From that note, Simmons lost the weight and gained a fitness empire. Reach came out at the first spike of his notoriety, after his television series began but before Sweatin’ To The Oldies.

Sure, Simmons can be uncomfortably spazzy, and uncomfortably uncomfortable too, but he appealed to a segment of America that nobody had bothered to address before. At that point, Jane Fonda was all the rage, Olivia Newton-John was grinding it up in the video for “Physical,” and the unspoken statement was that the pretty people exercised because that’s what they did.

Meanwhile, there was a whole other section of the country that was fat and depressed, but who really cared? They weren’t pretty, rich or famous, and so the nascent fitness boom never quite spoke to them; but Richard Simmons did. For as long as some can remember, he’s been aiming for that segment of the populace.

And you know what? He’s been making a living by helping others get healthier and he’s been having a hell of a lot of fun doing it. Would that we all could earn our keep while being a little crazy doing it.

Doesn’t really make the album any better, but hey…

Wake Up

Don’t Tell Me

Lift It Up

Laugh

You Can Do It

What Are You Waiting For

Reach

Stop And Start

Live It

This Time

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