Thirty years ago: Let’s go “Back To Life” and “Keep On Movin'” with Soul II Soul.

by Christopher Smith

Have thirty years really now passed since we kept on moving with DJ and producer Jazzie B and his crew? It was in 1988 in London that Trevor Beresford Romeo (Jazzie B) formed the band with a collective of different musicians and singers and released the single “Fairplay”. It didn’t perform too well and neither did its successor “Feel Free”. But third time lucky (as always) and in March 1989, the group released “Keep On Movin'” which received big radio exposure and shot up the charts the world over reaching No.5 in the UK and No.11 in America as well as topping the dance chart there.

The three singles were lifted from the band’s debut album “Club Classics Vol.1” which made No.1 in the UK and No.11 in the US and was certified multi Platinum in both territories. But it was the fourth and final single “Back To Life” that really put the group on the map, topping the UK singles chart for four weeks in July and making No.4 in the US as well as once again topping the dance chart. It was a similar story the rest of the world over where the single has sold over three million copies. Both songs featured the vocals of singer Caron Wheeler.

Building on that success and wasting no time at all, the group began writing and recording a new album that Summer/Autumn and in December 1989 released a new single “Get A Life” which spent the Christmas period at No.3 in the UK becoming their third consecutive top five hit of the year. The song underperformed in America where it reached No.54 there and No.9 on the dance chart.

The beginning of 1990 saw the release of a second single “A Dream’s A Dream” featuring the vocals of Victoria Wilson-James, who later worked with The Shamen. The song reached No.6 in the UK and No.82 in America. Soon after came the second album, called…well naturally, “Club Classics Vol.2”! The album once again topped the UK chart and reached No.21 in The States, gaining Platinum discs in multiple countries. A further single “Missing You” was released that Summer featuring Kym Mazelle on vocals and reaching No.22 in the UK.

After touring and a well earned break, Jazzie B returned in 1992 with his third album “Volume III: Just Right” and the single “Joy” which put the band back in the UK top five and charted well all over Europe and ‘down under’. The album charted at No.3 in the UK and gained a Gold certification but could only make it as far as No.88 in the US. Two further singles, “Move Me No Mountain” (UK No.31) and the title track (UK No.38) were released.

A ‘greatest hits’ “Volume IV: The Classic Singles” was released the following year, reaching No.10 in the UK and gaining a Platinum disc and included the single “Wish”, which reached No.24 on the singles chart.

“Volume V: Believe” of Jazzi B and Soul II Soul’s discography came in 1995 and included the singles “Love Enuff” (UK No.12, US No.61) and “I care” (UK No.17). The album made No.13 in the UK but didn’t chart in the US. A fifth studio album “Time For Change” came in 1997 and featured the single “Represent” that made No.39 in the UK.

The group disbanded the following year but reunited in 2007 for a tour with the returning Caron Wheeler. Further tours came in 2009 and 2010 with both Wheeler and Kym Mazelle performing vocals. Jazzie B launched the Classic collection fashion range in 2013. In 2008 he was bestowed with the Order of The British Empire (OBE) for services to the British music industry. And thirty years on, this year, Soul II Soul are celebrating with a big tour across the UK. Click here for tickets!

Jazzie B 2019

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Written by aylshamchris

i L O V E music