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Atlantic Starr

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  • Formed: White Plains, NY
  • Years Active: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s
  • Group Members: David Lewis

Albums

Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

Group Members: David Lewis

All Music Guide:

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. Several members first recorded together as Newban, a funk group that released two 1977 albums, Newban and Newban 2, on the Guinness label. Atlantic Starr took shape that same year, formed in White Plains, New York by three brothers: lead singer/guitarist David Lewis, lead singer/keyboardist Wayne Lewis, and trombonist/percussionist Jonathan Lewis. The lineup was filled out by 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. Influenced by the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores, New Birth, and L.T.D., Atlantic Starr started playing around the northeastern U.S. 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, Radiant. It was a wise move; Radiant and its hit single "When Love Calls" established Atlantic Starr as a supergroup in the R&B market. It was on Radiant 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.

Although Bryant was never Atlantic Starr's only lead singer -- Wayne and David Lewis also provided their share of lead vocals -- she was a major asset. So it came as quite a disappointment when she left Atlantic Starr in 1984 to pursue a solo career. But all was not lost. The talented Barbara Weathers was hired as a replacement and 1985's As the Band Turns -- Atlantic Starr's first post-Bryant album and sixth album overall -- found the outfit unveiling a smaller lineup that consisted of Weathers, the Lewis Brothers, and Phillips. Sudderth, Daniels, Archer, and Carroll were all gone, but despite those personnel changes, Atlantic Starr was still distinctive and recognizable. As the Band Turns, which contained the major hit "Secret Lovers," turned out to be Atlantic Starr's last album for A&M; in 1987, they moved to Warner Bros. and fared well with the album All in the Name of Love and the smash hit "Always." A syrupy adult contemporary ballad, "Always" reflected the Lewis Brothers' desire to have the type of crossover success that Whitney Houston and Lionel Ritchie had been enjoying in the '80s; they got their wish when "Always" soared to number one on both the pop and R&B charts.

After All in the Name of Love, Weathers left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Porscha Martin, who was featured on 1988's We're Movin' Up. Martin was around for a few years before being replaced by Rachel Oliver (Atlantic Starr's fourth female vocalist) in the early '90s. Atlantic Starr's relationship with Warner Bros. ended after 1991's Love Crazy, and in 1994, the band recorded one album for Arista: Time. That album was a commercial disappointment and the single "I'll Remember You" only made it to the fifties on Billboard's R&B and pop singles charts. Time (which was David Lewis' last album with the band) found a fifth female singer, Aisha Tanner, replacing Oliver. And when 1999's Legacy was distributed by the small, independent Street Solid label, Atlantic Starr unveiled yet another lineup -- one that consisted of two Lewis Brothers (Wayne and Jonathan) as well as Oliver (who had returned and replaced Tanner) and a new male singer named DeWayne Woods. Although Legacy received very little attention, Atlantic Starr hung in there and was still performing for die-hard fans when the 21st century arrived.

Wikipedia:

Atlantic Starr was an American R&B band. Among their biggest hits were "Always" and "Secret Lovers."Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).

History[edit]

The group was started in 1976, in Greenburgh, New York, by trumpeter Duke Jones (who left the band prior to their first recordings), along with drummer Porter Carroll Jr., bassist Clifford Archer, percussionist and flutist Joseph Phillips, Sheldon Tucker (Guitar; parted ways with the band before the first recordings), and three brothers: David Lewis (vocals/guitar), Wayne Lewis (keyboards and vocals), and Jonathan Lewis (percussion and trombone). The band's membership eventually stabilized around Carroll, Archer, Phillips, the three Lewis brothers, lead singer Sharon Bryant (who was later replaced by Barbara Weathers), trumpeter William Sudderth, and saxophonist Damon Rentie (who was later replaced by Koran Daniels). In 1977, the band came to Westwood, California, and performed on the nightclub scene under the name "Newban," which they agreed to change at the request of A&M executive Herb Alpert when they were signed. Having already agreed to keep the Starr part of an early idea for a new band name, the members decided to add the word Atlantic, because of their East Coast roots. The nine-member band were now A&M employees.

Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Atlantic Starr scored several hits on the R&B charts. However, significant crossover success (onto the pop charts) did not come until halfway into the 80s, with the release of their As The Band Turns album, and the single "Secret Lovers." By this time, the band had pared itself down to a quintet, consisting of the three Lewis brothers, Phillips, and Weathers. In 1987, the band solidified their pop success by scoring a #1 pop (and R&B) hit with "Always," a slow jam off their album All In The Name Of Love. Following this success, Weathers left for a solo career, and she was replaced by Portia Martin for the band's next album, 1988's We're Movin' Up. Although this album was not quite as successful as its predecessors, it did produce another #1 R&B hit with "My First Love."

The band would continue to score hits on both the R&B and Pop charts into the early 90s. 1991 saw the introduction of yet another new female lead singer, when Martin was replaced by Rachel Oliver for the album, Love Crazy. This album featured the band's biggest hit of the 90s, with "Masterpiece" reaching #3 on both the pop and R&B charts in early 1992. The Group toured to Japan in 1992 with yet another female vocalist at the helm, Crystal Blake, a studio vocalist for Stevie Wonder who had also sung the female lead parts on the minor hit title track for Eddie Murphy's How Could It Be album and Young MC's "Bust a Move."

Following the release of Love Crazy, Atlantic Starr's relationship with Warner Bros. Records dissolved, and in 1994, the band recorded one album for Arista: Time. That album was a commercial disappointment and the single "I'll Remember You" only made it to the fifties on Billboard's R&B and pop singles charts. Time (which was David Lewis' last album with the band) found a fifth female singer, Aisha Tanner, replacing Oliver. And when 1999's Legacy was distributed by the small, independent Street Solid label, Atlantic Starr unveiled yet another lineup—one that consisted of two Lewis Brothers (Wayne and Jonathan) as well as Oliver (who had returned and replaced Tanner) and a new male singer named DeWayne Woods. Although Legacy received little attention, Atlantic Starr still continues to perform today.

Original Members[edit]

After leaving Atlantic Starr, original drummer and founding bandmember Porter Carroll, Jr. released a self-titled solo album (Porter Carroll II) in 1986. This album featured contributions from several prominent musicians, including Marcus Miller, David Sanborn, and former Starr bandmate Sharon Bryant. He has continued to do session work since that time, and is currently playing percussion in Daryl Hall's live band.

Following her exit from Atlantic Starr, singer Sharon Bryant embarked on a solo career and released an album in 1989, scoring several big hits on the R&B charts, as well as a minor Pop hit from the project.

Original saxophonist Damon Rentie went on to a solo career of his own, releasing his first solo album, Designated Hitter in 1985. His second and third solo albums followed in each successive year (1986 and 1987, respectively). He had also previously done session work with DeBarge.

Original trumpeter William Sudderth continues to follow an active schedule in the music business, performing in many diverse settings and having become one of the most sought-after horn players in the industry.

Bassist Clifford Archer and early member, Albert "Duke" Jones have both remained involved in the music industry as well.

Joseph Phillips, original percussionist and flautist is currently working with the Reverend Bryan Oakley, producing Gospel music.

Cameos[edit]

In April 1992, Atlantic Starr appeared as themselves on an episode of the daytime soap opera Another World. They sang at local nightspot Sassy's during the episode.Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).

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