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|Born||July 11, 1953|
Blue Island, Illinois, United States
|Genres||Electronic, disco, post-disco, funk, classical, dance|
|Occupation(s)||Singer, songwriter and record producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, keyboards, percussion|
Peter Brown (born July 11, 1953) is an American singer-songwriter and record producer. Brown was a popular performer in the late 1970s and early 1980s. His biggest success was the release of the LP in 1977 called A Fantasy Love Affair which produced the disco hits "Do Ya Wanna Get Funky with Me" and "Dance With Me". He wrote, with Robert Rans, Madonna's hit "Material Girl".
Brown was born in Blue Island, Illinois and raised in Palos Heights, Illinois, both suburbs of Chicago. His mother, Virginia, was artistic and musically talented and gave Peter music lessons at a young age. Peter's father, Maurice, was an electronic engineer whose electronics helped Peter learn the technical aspects of recording music. He always brought home the latest technological breakthrough, which in those days included CB and ham radios, the first color television and the first stereo record player.
Maurice also purchased a number of tape recorders, which Peter played with as a child. One of these machines, a TEAC A-1200 2-track, had a feature which allowed transferring recordings on one track to a second track, while simultaneously allowing recording something new on that second track.
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Brown became serious about music in his teens and chose to learn the drums. His greatest inspirations in music at the time were Santana, Earth Wind and Fire and Chicago. He later became proficient playing timbales, conga drums, and a large number of other percussion instruments. Later, Brown was one of the pioneer users of the musical synthesizer, and for a time he was spokesman for the ARP Synthesizer company, since he used their products almost exclusively in performances and recordings. He has also been credited as being one of the founders of house music in the 1970s.
In his youth, Brown had assumed he would become a painter or a graphic artist of some kind. After High School he enrolled in The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Although it was a prestigious school, professors seemed indifferent, and the facilities were rudimentary at the time.
Then Brown met Cory Wade, who eventually became his first producer. Wade encouraged Brown to give him some demo tracks for critique. At this point, Brown could use his 4-track recorder and his then-innovative synthesizer. Brown subsequently changed his career to music, but thought of being a songwriter, studio musician, or producer; however, Wade suggested that Brown become a producer. Brown assembled a group of musicians to perform his music, inspiring them with stories of his connections with Wade. Among the original members of the band was Pat Hurley, who sang and played keyboard in the band and who eventually co-write lyrics with Brown. Tom Dziallo played bass in the band bass and guitar on all of Brown's albums, and Robert Rans became Brown's lead keyboard player and primary lyric writing partner for many years. Brown's lifelong friend, Robert Vavrik, never joined the band but eventually penned some lyrics with Brown.
They created some disco music, which was popular at the time, and wanted to take the track to TK Records in Hialeah, Florida,for a possible record deal. Within days of the record having been sent, Henry Stone, the president of TK, wanted to release the song just as it was and offered Wade a deal for the single. This was followed by an album deal if the single was successful. Although excited by the offer, Brown did not want his 4-track, home made demo released as the actual record.
Henry Stone and everyone at TK Records really liked the augmented version, so Brown and Stone made the album deal and settled on a six-month deadline to write new material and record the album. Brown also photographed the album's somewhat controversial cover and revealed, in a 1978 interview in Rolling Stone , that he had created the cover's nude model out of cardboard, sheer fabric and ribbons.
Late in 1977, TK Records announced that sales of the 12" version of "Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me" had reached the million dollar mark making it the first gold 12" single in history. Before too long the album went gold as well.
Billboard Magazine's Year End #1 Awards for 1978 named Brown the #1 new male album artist, #3 new album artist and #10 pop male artist. Also #11 pop male album artist, #16 soul artists and #11 soul albums. Cash Box Magazine's Year End Awards issue for 1978 named Brown #1Top Male Single Vocalist, #1 Top New Male Single Vocalist and #2 Top Male Album Vocalist along with #3 Crossover R&B Male.
The 1978 Record World Magazine Disco Awards named Brown Outstanding New Performer, Top New Male Vocalist and Top Male Vocalist. He was also nominated by NARAS (The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) in 1978 for a Grammy Award for best R&B Vocal Performance for the song "Dance With Me". "Dance With Me" also included a guest vocal performance by Betty Wright. Also in 1978, Brown's single "Crank It Up" peaked in the Billboard Disco Chart at #4.
His first professional performance came on the American Bandstand television show, hosted by Dick Clark. That year, Brown also took part in the filming of a television special to promote the upcoming movie Foul Play with Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. He also filmed a segment for the television show 60 Minutes showing the process of how a song is actually recorded in the recording studio. Later years saw him performing on the Mike Douglas Show , American Bandstand and as a presenter on the American Music Awards. On tour in 1978, Brown and his band (now with additional members Keith Anderson, drums, Joe Guzzo, guitar, Mike Hillinger, keyboards and Wildflower, background vocals) played venues as diverse as New York's The Bottom Line and Madison Square Garden.
On Brown's second album (recorded at Studio Center and Criteria Recording studios in North Miami, Florida), Stargazer, he was joined by Laura Taylor and Dan Hartman singing background vocals on the song "It's Alright."
In 1980, Brown released another charting dance song (#6 on Billboard's Disco Chart) called "Can't Be Love – Do It To Me Anyway", which was only released as a 12" single and never appeared on an album. The initial success of his career was soon overshadowed by legal disputes and the eventual bankruptcy of TK Records. After the dust cleared he was able to sign a new record contract with Warner Brothers with the help of a new management team, Wiesner/DeMann Entertainment. The 1983 album was called Back to the Front and was produced by Brown with executive producer Bob Gaudio (The Four Seasons) and recorded at Gaudio/Valli Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. Featured are musical guests Michael Brecker (saxophone) and Michael Boddicker (synthesizers). From this album, the song "Baby Gets High" reached #104 U.S. Billboardand #6 on Billboard's Disco Chart. Brown remained with Freddy DeMann after he started a solo management company whose clients included Madonna and Michael Jackson.
In 1984, Brown co-wrote "Material Girl", which became one of Madonna's biggest hits and signature song. It also made Brown's music publishing company, Minong Publishing one of the year's top music publishers.
Brown also wrote a song for Agnetha Fältskog, "Maybe It Was Magic". Peter Cetera from the group Chicago was producing her solo album I Stand Alone and liked the song. Brown also wrote "East Meets West" for the Japanese group Sandii & the Sunsetz. Brown's final hit was "They Only Come Out at Night" which hit the number one slot on Billboard magazine's Dance Chart in April 1984. Brown's fourth and final album Snap was recorded at Pumpkin Recording Studios in Oak Lawn, Illinois, owned by Gary Loizzo, who was a former member of The American Breed and sang their hit "Bend Me Shape Me" in 1968. This album contained the song "Zie Zie Won't Dance" which spawned Brown's music video by the same name. The video, filmed in London, was nominated for best video (special effects, art direction and editing) along with videos by Madonna and Bruce Springsteen at the second MTV Music Video Awards in 1985.
In the late 1980s, a severe case of tinnitus prompted Brown to quit the music business in an attempt to preserve his damaged hearing. He began a design company which headed the award-winning redesign of the Chicago Board Options Exchange Internet site, among other wide-ranging design and architectural projects.
In late June 2018, Brown released his fifth album, Boom, his first album release in over 30 years. It features 11 tracks of his signature dance/R&B sound. Singles include "Boom", the a cappella title track, "Dancing All Alone", and "Drama Queen". Boom was written, performed, arranged, recorded, and mixed entirely by Brown on an iMac computer using only Auratone speakers and a Sennheiser MD 441U microphone.
The Brothers Johnson were an American funk and R&B band consisting of American musicians and brothers George and Louis E. Johnson. They achieved their greatest success from the mid-1970s to early 1980s, with three singles topping the R&B charts.
KC and the Sunshine Band is an American disco and funk band, founded in 1973 in Hialeah, Florida. Their best-known songs include the hits "That's the Way ", "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty", "I'm Your Boogie Man", "Keep It Comin' Love", "Get Down Tonight", "Boogie Shoes", "Please Don't Go" and "Give It Up". The band took its name from lead vocalist Harry Wayne Casey's last name ('KC') and the 'Sunshine Band' from KC's home state of Florida, the Sunshine State. The group had six top 10 singles, five number one singles and two number two singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Gregory Oliver Diamond was an American pianist, drummer, songwriter, and producer who was active in the jazz and disco music scenes of the 1970s.
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Jean-Marc Cerrone is a French disco drummer, composer, record producer and creator of concert shows. Cerrone is an influential producer of 1970s and 1980s disco songs. He has sold over 30 million albums worldwide, including over four million copies in France, and eight million copies of Supernature, The single "Love in C Minor" (1976) reached No. 3 and was in the charts for two months, selling three million copies. With "Supernature" (1977), Cerrone merged symphonic orchestration with synthesizers. At the 1978 Billboard Disco Forum, Cerrone received six awards including Disco Artist of the Year.
Bessie Regina Norris, better known by her stage name Betty Wright, was an American soul and R&B singer, songwriter and background vocalist. Beginning her professional career in the late–1960s as a teenager, Wright rose to fame in the 1970s with hits such as "Clean Up Woman" and "Tonight Is the Night". Wright was also prominent in her use of whistle register.
"I Want You" is a song written by songwriters Leon Ware and Arthur "T-Boy" Ross and performed by singer Marvin Gaye. It was released as a single in 1976 on his fourteenth studio album of the same name on the Tamla label. The song introduced a change in musical styles for Gaye, who before then had been recording songs with a funk edge. Songs such as this gave him a disco audience thanks to Ware, who produced the song alongside Gaye.
Patrick Hernandez is a French singer who had a worldwide hit with "Born to Be Alive" in 1979.
Wild Cherry was an American funk rock band formed in Mingo Junction, Ohio in 1970 that was best known for its song "Play That Funky Music".
Roberta Kelly is an American disco and urban contemporary gospel singer who scored three hits on the US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart between 1976 and 1978. Her most successful US hit single, "Trouble-Maker", spent two weeks at No. 1.
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Dynasty was an American band, based in Los Angeles, California, created by producer and SOLAR Records label head Dick Griffey, and record producer Leon Sylvers III. The band was known for their dance/pop numbers during the late 1970s and 1980s. Keyboardist Kevin Spencer and vocalists Nidra Beard and Linda Carriere originally comprised the group.
Biddu Appaiah is an Indian-born, England-based singer-songwriter, composer, and music producer – who composed and produced many worldwide hit records during a career spanning five decades. Considered one of the pioneers of disco, Euro disco, and Indian pop, he has sold millions of records worldwide, and has received an Ivor Novello award for his work. He has been ranked at number 34 on NME 's "The 50 Greatest Producers Ever" list.
Henry Stone, born Henry David Epstein, was an American record company executive and producer whose career spanned the era from R&B in the early 1950s through the disco boom of the 1970s to the 2010s. He was best known as co-owner and president of TK Records, but reportedly set up more than 100 record labels, and generated more than 100 million dollars in record sales across the world. Stone was described as "an acute businessman who always made sure that contracts and publishing agreements were written in his favor."
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Queen Samantha was a 1970s disco artist produced by the Parisian musician Harry Chalkitis. Gloria Brooks, a singer from Chicago, was the lead vocalist on many of Chalkitis' recordings. All of the songs were co-written by Chalkitis and his wife Myriam. Chalkitis recorded the tracks while living in Paris, and the records were released on Atoll Records, a French label. In the U.S., the records were released by Henry Stone's Marlin label.
Cory Wade is a former American record producer and songwriter, known for producing some of the biggest hits in disco in the 1970s. A producer for TK Records, Wade co-produced the 1977 single "Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me" by Peter Brown, which became the first 12-inch single to sell a million copies. Wade also produced hit recordings for KC and the Sunshine Band, T-Connection, Foxy and made a comeback in the 1990s with a remake of Peter Brown's "Crank It Up" by Lawrence Leritz, released on Spectrum Records. Residing in Horn Lake, Mississippi, Cory Wade is currently working on a 3D feature films
Celi Bee is an American disco musician.
"Do Ya Wanna Get Funky with Me" is a 1977 single recorded by Peter Brown. The record sold more than one million copies. It was his first hit song. Backing vocals were provided by Wildflower.