And now, for a groove you definitely don’t want to disturb.
The average pop fan might remember The System’s 1987 smash “Don’t Disturb This Groove.” A slightly more savvy average pop fan might remember 1982’s “You Are In My System,” the self-referential smash that put them on the map and (somewhat sadly) got a little more pop love when Robert Palmer covered it a year later (the man did love his soul covers, bless his soul.)
What some folks don’t know is that this influential electro-soul duo recorded five albums between 1982-1989, becoming a regular presence on Billboard’s soul and dance charts thanks to synthesizer dynamo David Frank and striking (visually as well as aurally) vocalist Mic Murphy. One of their biggest hits was “This Is For You,” a top ten R&B hit which was culled from their 1985 album The Pleasure Seekers.
This melodic jam sort of set the table for “Don’t Disturb,” considering it wasn’t as in-your-face aggressive as many of their earlier singles. It hits that perfect sweet spot between club anthem and quiet storm. Murphy had his own distinct vibe at a time when it was kinda cool to look like a rocker (and have the appropriate rock and roll attitude) and sound like a soul singer.
The video is…well, there are a few nice shots of New York City that always make me reminisce fondly about my hometown. There’s also some gallantry by Murphy, who almost gets jacked up by a street gang (along with his female companion) when he’s saved by a spray paint can-wielding graffiti artist. Ahh, the ’80s.
The System split for a bit in the early Nineties. Murphy released a solo album (the existence of which I was completely unaware of until I saw it in a used CD store a week or so ago) and Frank took his synthesizer knowledge and applied it to production, scoring hits like Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” and Dream’s “He Loves U Not.”
The duo reunited in 1999 for the album ESP (which you should grab, it’s pretty solid,) and a rarities collection was released digitally a decade later. I’m holding out hope for a reunion album/tour. Hey, if The Time can do it, why can’t The System?