Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memoryLua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory Surface was an American music group from New Jersey, active from 1983 to 1994. They are best known for their #1 pop and R&B hit "The First Time". During its heyday, the group consisted of singer/bassist Bernard Jackson (born July 11, 1959),[1] David Townsend (May 17, 1955–October 26, 2005),[2] and David Conley (born December 27, 1953).[1]

History

Early years

Surface was formed in New Jersey in 1983 with musicians David Conley, David Townsend and Everett Collins at its nucleus and Conley’s girlfriend on vocals. Her name was Karen Copeland.[3]

David Townsend was the son of late singer/songwriter, Ed Townsend. He was also a member of the band, Port Authority in the 1970s along with David Conley,[4] who was the bassist of funk band, Mandrill from 1978 to 1981. Townsend and Conley met when Townsend was in a '70s band in Los Angeles. During the 1970s, Townsend was a friend and colleague of drummer/writer, Everett Collins, who worked with the Isley Brothers and founder of the band Sunrize produced by the Isley Brothers with David Townsend as guitarist.

They then became resident songwriters for EMI and wrote New Edition's "Let's Be Friends" and Sister Sledge's "You're Fine."[4][2] Encouraged by this success, the group called themselves Surface and began recording their own material, releasing several post-disco/early-'80s-style tracks under the name.[2]

With this original line-up, Surface recorded three singles, "Falling in Love" (1983), "When Your X Wants You Back" (1984), and "Stop Holding Back", the latter being a "lost track" released about 15 years after being recorded. “Stop Holding Back” would only be released in 1999 when Salsoul Records was opening up their vaults, as part of a special vinyl release with the other two early Surface recordings (It had been recorded earlier by Gwen Guthrie). These three singles, recorded several years before Surface recorded a full album and with Karen Copeland as lead singer are referred to by music critics as "the Copeland singles".

Surface would find moderate success with the Copeland singles. In 1983, Surface released their debut single, "Falling in Love" which peaked at #84 on the United States R&B Singles chart,[1] staying on the chart for 4 weeks. In the UK, the song peaked at #67 on the UK Singles Chart.[5] A year later, they released their second single, "When Your Ex Wants You Back" which also peaked at #84 on the United States R&B chart and peaked at #52 on the UK Singles chart.[5] Karen Copeland and David Conley then broke up. Copeland left the group, and then Conley and Townsend met Bernard Jackson in 1984.[3]

The three met when Jackson moved from Stamford to New York to pursue a music career. While Jackson was in New York, his godfather said that he should contact his nephew, David Townsend. Conley, Townsend, and Jackson then started writing music together. They wrote songs in contemplation of the next female lead vocal who would sing them. After auditioning several women, Surface, according to Conley, "never found another girl".[3]

After failing to find a female lead singer to replace Karen Copeland, Bernard Jackson himself became the lead singer. The group then worked on recording its first full album. After leaving Surface, Karen Copeland faded into obscurity. According to Conley, she is now deceased.[3]

First major label record deal

The trio then moved to Los Angeles, California, searching for more mainstream success. The song "Let's Try Again" came to the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records, who signed the band and released this track as a single in 1986. Also in 1986, Jackson met a friend, Brian Simpson, and recorded a demo tape of a track he had written entitled "The First Time". He believed it to be a hit and hired a recording studio to get the best professional conditions for the track. Their self-titled first album followed in 1987, featuring two more hit singles: "Happy", which reached #2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks,[2] and "Lately", which reached #8.[4] However, "The First Time" did not appear on the album and remained unreleased.

The band's follow-up album, 2nd Wave, was released in 1988 and included some of the group's biggest hits. "I Missed" reached #3 on the R&B charts. "Closer Than Friends" was the group's first #1 hit, topping the R&B charts for two weeks.[4] "Can We Spend Some Time" reached #5 on the R&B charts.[4] The album featured two other #1 R&B hits. "You Are My Everything", featuring popular R&B singer Regina Belle, topped the charts for two weeks. And the album's biggest hit,[2] "Shower Me With Your Love" went gold, reached #1 on the R&B charts and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. Regina Belle was also a guest vocalist on the song "Hold On to Love", which was not released as single. Thanks to the album's multiple hits, it managed to go platinum.

Later years

The song "The First Time", originally recorded by Jackson in 1986, was featured on the band's third album 3 Deep in 1991 and was the first single from the album. The song was a hit, going gold and becoming the group's biggest hit to date. It topped both the R&B and pop charts.[4]

The album continued with "All I Want Is You", again featuring Regina Belle, which reached #8 on the R&B charts.[4]

The band also recorded "A World of Our Own" which was featured in the 1991 film Return to the Blue Lagoon.

Jackson and Townsend left in 1994, and the group disbanded. In 1998, the group reformed and released Love Zone and a few years later announced a return to live appearances with Conley, Jackson, Townsend and Collins only to be cancelled when Townsend was found dead at his home.[2] Townsend, son of producer/songwriter Ed Townsend[2] (co-writer of Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On"), died of unknown causes on October 26, 2005, at the age of 50, almost two years after his father.

Members

Best-known lineup

Other members

  • Karen Copeland - vocals (1983–1984)
  • Eric "G-Riff" Moore - vocals (born August 23, 1971, Irvington, New Jersey) (1994)
  • Everett "Jam" Benton - keyboards (1994)
  • Everett Collins - keyboards, vocals, writer (1987 - 2005)

Discography

Studio albums

Year Title Chart positions Certifications Record label
US Pop[6] US R&B[7]
1986 Surface 55 11 Columbia
1988 2nd Wave 56 5 RIAA: Platinum[8] Columbia
1990 3 Deep 65 19 RIAA: Gold[8] Columbia
1998 Love Zone[2] Victor Entertainment

Compilation albums

Year Title Chart positions Record Label
US Pop US R&B
1991 The Best of Surface...A Nice Time for Loving Columbia
2001 The First Time: The Best of Surface Sony
Perfect 10 Columbia
2005 Our World Sony
2008 Super Hits: Surface Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Singles

Year Song US Hot 100[9] US R&B[10] US A.C.[11] US Hot Dance[12] UK Singles Chart[13] Certifications
1983 "Falling in Love" 84 67
1984 "When Your Ex Wants You Back" 84 52
1986 "Let's Try Again" 22
1987 "Happy" 20 2 24 16 56
"Lately" 8
1988 "I Missed" 3
1989 "Closer Than Friends" 57 1 39
"Shower Me with Your Love" 5 1 3 RIAA: Gold[8]
"You Are My Everything" 84 1
1990 "Can We Spend Some Time" 5
"The First Time" 1 1 1 60 RIAA: Gold[8]
1991 "All I Want Is You" 8
"Never Gonna Let You Down" 17 24 17
"You're the One" / "We Don't Have to Say Good-bye" 35
1992 "A Nice Time for Lovin'" 52

References

  1. ^ a b c Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  3. ^ a b c d Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  5. ^ a b Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  6. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  7. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  8. ^ a b c d Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  9. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  10. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  11. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  12. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory
  13. ^ Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory

Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory

External links

Lua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memoryLua error: Cannot create process: proc_open(): fork failed - Cannot allocate memory