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52nd Street

Profile:

British jazz-funk and R&B band formed in Manchester in 1980. Their original line-up included Tony Henry on guitar, Derek Johnson on bass, Desmond Isaacs on keyboards, Tony Thompson (3) on drums and Jennifer McCloud on vocals. Within six months John Dennison had replaced Desmond Isaacs on keyboards and Beverly McDonald had replaced Jennifer McCloud. Initially they were chased by two major UK labels, RCA Records and Warner Bros. Records. They decided to go with Manchester's Factory Records. 52nd Street released three singles on Factory between 1982 - 1984. Two of them were US Billboard Dance Chart hits. 'Cool As Ice' and 'Can't Afford'. The band left Factory in early 1985, initially on their way to joining newly appointed A&R manager Lindsay Wesker at A&M Records but at the very last moment went with Mick Clark and signed to Virgin's 10 Records. Their debut album, a commercial success was produced in Philadelphia by producer Nick Martinelli. He was, in that period a highly sought after record producer after success working with soul R&B acts Loose Ends and Five Star. The album 'Children Of The Night' included their biggest hit in the U.S. "Tell Me (How It Feels)" reached No.8 on R'n'B Billboard charts and No.54 on the UK pop chart. The line up changed slightly during the Virgin \ MCA period. Diane Charlemagne had already replaced Beverly McDonald. Bassist Derek Johnson remained with Factory Records so Tony Bowry joined to replace Johnson on bass guitar. The band's second album 'Something's Going On' was produced by Lenny White in New York in 1986 - 87 and featured both White on drums and Michael Brecker on saxophone and electronic wind instruments. A third album was recorded in Los Angeles between 1988 - 89 with producer John Barnes. John Dennison had now departed before the start of the 3rd album. The musical direction of the 3rd album resulted in Tony Henry departing and leaving the album for Bowry and Charlemagne to promote. It was agreed at Virgin that the name 52nd Street remain with Henry. Charlemagne and Bowry would then be free to promote the new album under a new name. Hence the name Cool Down Zone. In order to give the new album a more direct UK R&B feel, additional songs were written and recorded in the UK to help album sales. The album was eventually called 'New Direction'. Lead single from it 'Heaven Knows' was a UK chart hit.

Sites:factoryrecords.org , Wikipedia
Aliases:Cool Down Zone
Members:Beverly McDonald, Derek Johnson, Diane Charlemagne, John Dennison, Tony Bowry, Tony Henry, Tony Thompson (3)
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