Cherrelle didn’t mean to turn you on, but if she did, it would only be on a Saturday night.
American singer Cheryl Norton (b.1958) adopted the stage name Cherrelle and first worked as a backing singer for Luther Vandross before being signed to Tabu Records in 1983. Working with production team Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, her first single, “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On”, was released in April the following year and it went to No.79 in America, No.8 on the R&B chart and No.6 on the Dance chart. Cherrelle followed this with her first album, “Fragile”, which would be only a minor success in her home country. Two more singles came from it, most notably the R&B top 40 charting title track, “Fragile…Handle With Care”.
Cherrelle began production on the follow up at the end of 1984 and enjoyed her biggest success in 1985 when she teamed up with fellow American Alexander O’Neal for the sultry Soul number “Saturday Night”, which made it to No.26 and No.2 on the R&B chart. The song was also her first international success, particularly in the UK, where it went top ten and peaked at No.6. Cherrelle’s second album, “High Priority”, was also a much bigger hit, making No.36 Stateside and No.17 in the UK. It featured the Dance chart top five hits “Artificial Heart” and “Oh No It’s U Again” while “Will You Satisfy?” was a small hit in the UK in 1986.
Cherrelle reunited with Alexander in 1987 for a follow up of sorts with “Never Knew Love Like This”, which got to No.28 and No.2 on the R&B chart in America and No.26 in the UK. The song was featured on his smash hit album, “Hearsay”. That year, Cherrelle went to No.1 on the R&B chart with “Everything I Miss At Home”, which was taken from her third studio album, “Affair”, which would also feature the hit title track (R&B No.4). From 1988 onwards, Cherrelle would only record R&B chart entries while a remix of “Saturday Love” found its way to No.55 in the UK in 1990. Cherrelle and Alexander hooked up for a third time in 1998 for “Baby Come To Me” (UK No.56), while the 90’s saw her release the albums “The Woman I Am” (1991) and “The Right Time” (1999), her last studio work to date.
Cherrelle’s cousin is Perri Arlette Reid better known as Pebbles, who enjoyed a top ten hit in 1987-88 with “Girlfriend”. The pair teamed up in 1991 for the single “Always”, which made No.13 on the US R&B chart. Cherrelle abandoned music in the 21st century and took up acting in films and on stage. She released her greatest hits in 1995 with an updated edition coming in 2013. In 2019, after more than thirty years, she rejoined O’Neal on stage in Las Vegas to sing their most famous song as part of that year’s Soul Train Awards ceremony.
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