This week’s sample is the ultra smooth 1985 R&B hit by Alexander O’Neal, If You Were Here Tonight.
If You Were Here Tonight was released on O’Neal’s self titled debut album, Alexander O’Neal. Written by Monte Moir, keyboardist of the band, The Time. The song consists of a guitar melody, a bouncy bass line, the 80s RnB drum programming and Alexander’s smooth-as-silk voice. All the hallmarks are here and this song slaps.
There is also percussion the plays before the chorus. During the chorus the main melody is switched up with the same guitar playing a neat variation and a guitar solo. The guitar was played by Jellybean Johnson, of band The Time.
Along with writing the song, Monte Moir also produced the track. He also took over duties with fellow The Time bandmate Jimmy Jam. The Time connection is a curious one because the band was created by Prince, under the name Jamie Starr/The Starr Company. Prince played and recorded every part on the Time’s first couple of albums. All band members were credited. Neat bit of trivia.
Back to O’Neal’s singing, what really makes the track is the soulful vocals. There are other eighties rnb ballads but the way Alexander sings the chorus is killer. Especially his delivery of the line “Can’t You Understand it?” coupled with the music is superb. A classic slow jam in every element and on that could definitely be chopped up or enjoyed all on its own. Until next time.