It’s quite a shock to the format around these parts. However, Anita Baker is one of those artists so monumentally important to my appreciation of music that we can’t let her Birthday pass. We’re 30 years on from her massive Pop market breakthrough, and we have to take a look at what a miniature revolution she fielded in late 80’s Soul Music as we celebrate her 58th Birthday today.
More often than not functioning as a songwriter of her own material, she had been slinking around the dark halls of R&B since the late 1970’s, taking Motown Alum Carolyn Crawford’s place in Detroit group Chapter 8. By 1983 she was making her first solo outings and placings in the R&B charts. By 1986, she was one of the hottest R&B stars, and one of the most unique ones as well.
Her material looked forward to the future and respected past trends as well. In contrast to the pure pop pomp and circumstance that was Whitney Houston, Baker was cool, calm and contemplative. Although that meant there wasn’t throngs of back to back #1 hits, not as a slight to Houston, she was seen as an “artist” and less a commodity.
I flashback to her first single of 1987, and ode to her Detroit roots full of growing up on ridiculously buoyant Motown love songs. Still charming and fresh nearly 30 years later, you realize some love affairs never quite die, and you *do* find yourself enjoying the same old love. Happy Birthday Anita.