In case you haven’t been watching, TVOne’s ”Unsung” is THE best music documentary series on television. The episodes are devoted to the R&B (and hip-hop) stars of the Seventies and Eighties who didn’t get their just due because they were popular at a time when the music industry was still quite segregated. In the three (or so) years that the show has run, many of my favorite artists have been covered, including Teena Marie, DeBarge, Phyllis Hyman and Shalamar.
The show’s new season starts in January, and will consist of 10 episodes running through March. This next batch of shows will feature artists like raspy soul shouter Bobby Womack, pop-funk ensemble Atlantic Starr, and two unrelated artists with the same last name: filthy-mouthed soul songstress Millie Jackson and smooth crooner Freddie Jackson, who was one of the brightest R&B stars of the second half of the Eighties, racking up an amazing 10 #1 singles on the Billboard R&B chart between 1985 and 1990. For a bit of context, he had more #1 R&B hits during this period than Michael Jackson and Prince COMBINED.
”I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love” was not one of those #1 singles, stopping just short of pole position and peaking at #2 in early 1987. It was the third single from his sophomore album Just Like The First Time. That album went platinum and spent several months atop Billboard’s R&B chart. A bass-heavy slow jam, it’s more notable for it’s video than anything else. Apparently, our man Freddie gets set up by his friend and gets carted off to the pokey. Meanwhile, said friend tries to make sexy-time with Freddie’s lady, and she rebuffs his advances. In the meantime, Freddie sits in jail, pining over his lost lady in addition to the loss of his smart green shirt and bolo tie.
While I seem to remember this video being funnier 25 years ago, it’s still good for a chuckle or two, especially if you pay close attention to the mega-emotional facial expressions the actors make, particularly towards the end of the clip. I also still giggle whenever I hear Freddie growl the word ”scandalize” in the song’s first verse. Sure, he’s hamming it up, but his audience was totally into that shit.
“I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love” came right smack in the middle of his run of hits. As hip-hop took over black radio, Freddie seemed to lose his footing, and a series of label switches expedited his slip in popularity. By the middle of the Nineties, a younger group of lotharios had swamped the scene, led by R. Kelly. However, when talking about male R&B
divas balladeers in the late Eighties, there are only two names worth mentioning-Luther and Freddie. Mr. Jackson still records and performs on a fairly regular basis and continues to make his home in theNew York Cityarea where he grew up. I’m sure many of his fans will be watching his episode of ”Unsung” along with me, and hell…maybe they’ll give some airtime to this video and Freddie will discuss how cheesy this clip is.