The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk continues its month-long feature titled 'Cover Me Good'. It will look at songs covered by Jamaican artistes which became hits.
COME Back to Me, a cover of American R&B group The Deele's 1987 hit song Two Occasions, was a game changer for singer Anthony Malvo two years later.
Produced by Winston Riley's Techniques label, Come Back to Me featured Tiger. It was recorded at Mixing Lab studio on the Legal Rights rhythm, which also had Johnny P's Ital Jockey and Legal Rights by Papa San and Lady G.
“I was in New York and I called a young lady. I didn't get her, but the song Two Occasions by The Deele was playing on her answering machine. I called her back sometime later and asked her to send me the song. I practised it, even though I didn't know I was going to record it with Tiger,” said Malvo, who lives in the United States.
Two Occasions was the second single from The Deele's album Eyes of A Stranger. Co-produced by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds and Antonio “L A” Reid, it reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, number four on Billboard's Hot Black Singles Chart (now known as the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart) and number 21 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart.
Malvo said he had no idea his and Tiger's version would become a hit.
“I was living in Kintyre in St Andrew at di time an' while recording di song, I didn't get any feeling dat it was going to become a hit. When di song was finished, everybody who heard it was going crazy about it. Mr Riley took di song an' ran over to JBC ( Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation — JBC Radio One) and gave it to Barry G. Barry G was di first person to play dat song an' him beat it out an' di rest is history,” he recalled.
He continued, “It was a great vibe an' a good feeling. When yuh hear a hit, yuh know it's a hit. When di song came out, it opened many doors for my career. I performed on shows overseas an' in Jamaica. We even won some awards in England an' in di Caribbean.”
Barry G is Barrington Gordon, Jamaica's top radio Disc Jockey during the 1980s and 1990s.
Come Back to Me shot to number one on the JBC Radio One Top 30, RJR Top 40 and The Gleaner Top 10 charts. The song was accompanied by a hilarious video, shot at Welcome Supermarket in Liguanea and Devon House in Kingston. Among those featured in it were emerging Dancehall Queen Carlene and her sister, Pinky.
“People started to recognise me from di video. I went to a supermarket an' people were just looking at me, I felt as if I had stolen something. People were coming over asking me for autographs. I was new to things like this,” Malvo recalled.
His subsequent hits include a cover of American R&B group Shai's If I Ever Fall, which was produced by Dennis Howard's Jahmento label. That song hit the Top 10 of the RJR and JBC Radio charts.