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Rest in Peace Bobby Caldwell

March 18, 2023

It's been a while since I updated this website! To all those still reading, I wanted to give you a taste of some good music here in my blog. Bobby Caldwell, one of my favorite pop artists, died on March 14, 2023. He was not a household name of a pop artist by any means, but he had a long, varied career. Known as "Mister AOR (Adult Oriented Rock)" in Japan, Caldwell released no less than 15 albums in his 40 year career, starting with 1978's "Bobby Caldwell/What You Wont Do For Love" which became a surprise Top Ten Billboard hit. The man behind the silhouette on the album cover blended R&B and Yacht-Rock style Pop during the disco era, garnering a large audience of people from different backgrounds, all while maintaining a shroud of mystery as to his appearance, allegedly since much of his audience thought he was a Black musician rather than a White one. He fre

After 1978, Caldwell's later albums didn't garner much of a Pop response back in his home of the United States, but he maintained a fervent Japanese audience over the years. His live performance in Tokyo, Japan in 1991 was released on Laserdisc in 1992, and features Caldwell at his peak performance-wise. I particularly enjoy this live version of his 1991 track "All or Nothing At All"

Once the 90s rolled around, Caldwell entered his Frank Sinatra-crooner phase replete with extremely good covers of the Great American Songbook, touring with a repertoire of just these songs. The fedora finally fit the tracklist! But he could write his own in this style as well, just check out the track AprilMoon. For more tracks in this style, his albums The Consummate Caldwell and Come Rain or Come Shine feature them.

In the timeframe of the mid-90s to now, Caldwell found a brand new audience. The first few bars of his song "Love Won't Wait" from 1978 found their way into the 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog song "Star Light Zone." Rappers and others have frequently sampled his work, with Tupac sampling Caldwell in "Do It For Love," Common in "The Light," and Lil Nas X in "Carry On." None of these songs are my cup of tea, but they introduced Bobby to a totally new generation. Then finally, Caldwell dipped into modern indie-pop music with the album Cool Uncle in 2015, featuring artists such as Mayer Hawthorne and Cee Lo Green. While this was a more uneven effort, it still showed on songs like "Game Over" that Bobby could write a track just as good as he could 35 years prior.

Some of his other must-listen recordings include:

Open Your Eyes
My Flame
All or Nothing at All
Heart of Mine
Carry On
Sunny Hills
Special to Me
Love Won't Wait

I'll be sure to post more of my favorite artists as the time arises, but for now I wanted to honor one of the greats. Until next time!

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