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Happy 68th Earthday Steve Arrington

This Tunesday is a celebration of ‘The Invade’ Steve Arrington’s 68th earthday who was raised in the USA’s mid west Dayton Ohio.

As a percussionist primarily Steve worked in local bands including The Young Mystics and ended up touring with Pete & Sheila (Sheila E) Escovedo before he joined the local group Slave ( a combination of two groups The Young Mystics & Black Satin Soul) on the third album ‘The Concept’ in 1978, where he co wrote and performed ‘Thank You Lord’.

Steve inadvertently became Slave’s lead vocalist when the group’s lead singer went awol and Steve stepped up to sing the lead on ‘Just A Touch Of Love’ with Starlena Young’.

With Steve’s anomaly & improvising vocal range, influenced by his love for jazz became the lead singer showcasing his talented brilliance on the next two ‘Stone Jam’ & ‘Showtime’ albums on Warner Brothers’ subsidiary label Cotillion.

At the height of the groups success Steve to the surprise of many, left Slave to pursue a solo career recording two distinguishing boogie albums ‘Hall Of Fame’ & ‘Positve Power’.

Both albums were greatly received by connoisseurs and purists as seminal albums with spectacular productions on cuts like ‘Way Out’, ‘Weak At The Knees’, ‘ You Meet My Approval’, ‘Nobody Can Be You But You’, ‘ What Do You Want From Me?’ & ‘ Mellow As A Cello’ on Warner labels WEA/Atlantic.

In between the transition of Slave and going solo Steve released a 12 inch single ‘ Summertime Lovin’’ on Salsoul Records circa 1981. After leaving Slave, Steve was wrestled with his conscience of continuing to make secular music and pursuing recording the more gospel message music format.

You can observe this change with a deeper hidden meaning within ‘Nobody Can Be You But You’ and ultimately in 1985 Steve announced to the world that he was a born again Christian releasing the ‘Dancing In The Key Of Life’ album in 1985.

It received a mixed reception from some of his fans here in the UK who were majorly disappointed at his 1985 Hammersmith concert of his songs of choice to perform. When I spoke with Steve in 2009 he was very honest and acknowledged how people felt at the time. Although Steve continued to record he subsequently for a period of time, faded out of the mainstream, occasionally rearing his head especially when he re sang his vocal on 3X Dope’s hip hop classic which sampled his anthem of the same name ‘ Weak At The Knee’s circa 1988.

When we started featuring interviews in the The Soul Survivors Magazine , Steve Arrington’s name was one of the most requested artists to interview as his profile in the soul world had literally become totally obscured.

However one random day I received a phone call from a contact in the USA called Randy who used to send me music asking me if I would be interested in speaking with his friend Steve Arrington. I had to question if we were speaking of the same man who was in Slave and ‘Hall Of Fame’ notoriety and Randy confirmed it was one and the same. So I spent two hours speaking with Steve and we published the interviews in 2009, the same issue as his earthday twin Teena Marie on the front cover.

Once the interview was published Steve emerged from his ‘Way Out’ hiatus and after several promoters attempted to secure his comeback, Orlando Gittens secured Steve’s first anticipated UK date since the infamous Hammersmith 1985 episode, and all was forgiven from the UK soul and funk fraternity, when Steve delivered all the classic we know and love, at the Indigo 02 in November 2013. Thankfully I was DJing on the bill.

Steve has been to the UK several times since and I managed to catch up with him at The Scottish Soul Weekender in 2016 and at Summer Soulstice in 2017.

Steve is 68 today so let’s celebrate by blasting this soul survivors music out loud and proud!!

To purchase the issue with the Steve Arrington interview click link below


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