Atlantic Starr

Artist

Biography

Atlantic Starr was among the top urban contemporary acts of the '80s and fared well in the adult contemporary market as well, but their roots were '70s soul and funk. The East Coast outfit was formed in White Plains, NY, in 1976 by three brothers: lead singer/guitarist David Lewis, lead singer/keyboardist Wayne Lewis, and trombonist/percussionist Jonathan Lewis. After the Lewis Brothers hired lead singer Sharon Bryant, trumpeter William Sudderth, saxophonist Damon Rentie (who was replaced by Koran Daniels in 1981), bassist Clifford Archer, drummer Porter Carroll, Jr., and percussionist/flutist Joseph Phillips, Atlantic Starr's original nine-person lineup was in place. Influenced by '70s funk/soul bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, the Commodores, New Birth, and L.T.D., Atlantic Starr started playing around the northeastern U.S. They had only been together for about two years when they signed with A&M and started working with Bobby Eli, a well-respected producer/songwriter from Philadelphia. Produced by Eli in 1978, Atlantic Starr's self-titled debut album wasn't a mega-platinum blockbuster but did reasonably well and contained the funk hit "Stand Up" (which made it to number 16 on Billboard's R&B singles chart). Eli went on to produce the band's second album, Straight to the Point; while that 1979 release did OK, A&M knew that Atlantic Starr could be bigger. So in 1981, the band changed producers and enlisted James Carmichael for their third album, Radiance. It was a wise move; Radiance and its hit single "When Love Calls" established Atlantic Starr as a supergroup in the R&B market. It was on Radiance that the charismatic Bryant (who was featured on "When Love Calls") really blossomed as a singer and her lead vocals played a major role in the band's success. Carmichael went on to produce 1982's "Brilliance" (which contained the number two R&B single "Circles") and 1983's Yours Forever; the latter includes "Touch a Four Leaf Clover," another major hit featuring Bryant.

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