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Cameo

An outlandish, in-your-face stage presence, a strange sense of humor, and a hard-driving funk sound that criss-crossed a few musical boundaries earned Cameo countless comparisons to Parliament/Funkadelic in their early days. However, Cameo eventually wore off accusations of being derivative by transcending their influences and outlasting almost every single one of them. Throughout the '70s and '80s, the group remained up with the times and occasionally crept ahead of them, such that they became influences themselves upon younger generations of R&B and hip-hop acts. By the time the group's popularity started to fizzle in the late '80s, a series of R&B chart hits -- ranging from greasy funk workouts to synthesized funk swingers to dripping ballads -- was left in their wake. Further separating Cameo from their forebears, they didn't have a diaper-clad guitarist. Instead, they had a codpiece-wearing lead vocalist.

That vocalist was Larry Blackmon. In 1974, the ex-Juilliard student and New York City club-goer instigated a funk band with a membership of 13 called the New York City Players. Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, and Nathan Leftenant formed the group's nucleus. The Casablanca label signed the group to their Chocolate City offshoot, and shortly after that, the group changed its name to Cameo. Their excellent debut album, 1977's Cardiac Arrest, was highlighted by four singles. Three of those hit the Billboard R&B chart: "Rigor Mortis" (number 33), "Funk Funk" (number 20), and "Post Mortem" (number 70). Although the group was clearly inspired by elder funk groups like Parliament, Funkadelic, and the Ohio Players, Cardiac Arrest made Cameo's case for belonging in the same division an open-and-shut one.

In an attempt to keep the ball rolling, 1978 saw the release of Cameo's second and third albums. Neither We All Know Who We Are nor Ugly Ego were as solid as the debut, but the group's singular characteristics were becoming increasingly evident. The winding, horn-punctuated "It's Serious" (from We All Know Who We Are) narrowly missed the Top 20 of the R&B chart, while "Insane" (from Ugly Ego) dipped just inside it, peaking at number 17. The best halves of these two albums would've made a fine sophomore LP.

1979's Secret Omen, featuring a disco-fied re-visiting of Cardiac Arrest's "Find My Way" and the magnificently funky and slightly loony "I Just Want to Be" (a number-three R&B chart hit), was stacked with fine album cuts and brought Cameo back as a group that excelled in the LP format. "Sparkle" was one of their best ballads, a sinewy number that hit the Top Ten. Five albums released between 1980 and 1983 (Cameosis, Feel Me, Knights of the Sound Table, Alligator Woman, Style) brought about a slight dip in quality on the album front. Despite an abundance of filler on each record, none of those albums were strict disappointments, delivering hot Top 20 R&B singles like "Shake Your Pants," "We're Goin' Out Tonight," "Keep It Hot," "Freaky Dancin'" "Just Be Yourself," "Flirt," and "Style."

One of the most significant ripples in Cameo's time line came during that period, in 1982, when they packed up and set up shop in Atlanta. Pared down to a quintet and located in a less hectic city, the group became bigger fish in a smaller pond. Blackmon even started his own label, Atlanta Artist. The label's first LP, Style, also marked a significant shift in sound, with synthesizers taking on a pronounced role. Paydirt was struck with 1984's She's Strange; the title cut, a late-night slithery smolder, topped the R&B chart and eclipsed the Top 50 of the pop chart, kicking off a remarkable three-album run that made Cameo one of the most popular groups of the '80s. Single Life and Word Up!, released respectively in 1985 and 1986, continued the hot streak. The singles from those two albums -- "Attack Me With Your Love," "Single Life," "Word Up," "Candy," and "Back and Forth" -- held down the Top Five plateau of the R&B chart. "Word Up" even went to number six on the pop chart, giving them their biggest bite of the mainstream. The song was everywhere.

What goes up must come down, and that's exactly what happened to Cameo. Despite the fact that two more singles -- "Skin I'm In" and "I Want It Now" -- scaled up to number five on the R&B chart, neither Machismo nor Real Men Wear Black performed well as albums. After 1991's Emotional Violence, the group's profile was lowered significantly, but they did tour sporadically to the delight of hardcore fans as well as plenty of misguided people who thought Cameo was all about "Word Up" and nothing more. Notably, Blackmon spent a few years of the '90s at Warner Bros., as the vice president of A&R.

Cameo's presence continued to be felt throughout the early 2000s, not only through extensive sample use and less tangible influences upon younger artists and producers. Several retrospectives have kept the group's music alive: Casablanca's 1993 compilation The Best of Cameo is an excellent point of entry. Mercury's 12" Collection & More, released in 1999, covers the group's best dancefloor moments. 2002's spectacular Anthology, a double-disc set also released by Mercury, covers a lot of ground and does the group justice as a total package. ~ Andy Kellman
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Keep It Hot

1. Intro

2. Flirt

3. She's Strange

4. Back & Forth

5. Skin I'm In

6. Why Have I Lost You

7. Sparkle

8. Candy

9. Shake Your Pants (Intro)

10. Shake Your Pants

11. I Just Want To Be

12. Keep It Hot

13. Word Up

14. Come Fly With Me

15. Nasty

x

Track List: The Definitive Collection

1. Word Up! (Single Version)

2. Single Life

3. Candy (7" Version)

4. She's Strange (Single Version)

5. Sparkle

6. I Just Want To Be

7. Shake Your Pants

8. Rigor Mortis

9. Attack Me With Your Love

10. Back And Forth

11. Why Have I Lost You (Version 2)

12. Flirt

13. Skin I'm In (Single Edit)

14. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck

15. Keep It Hot

16. Freaky Dancin' (Edit)

17. Just Be Yourself

x

Track List: Cameo: Gold

Disc 1

1. Rigor Mortis

2. Post Mortem

3. Funk Funk

4. Find My Way (TGIF Version)

5. It's Serious

6. We All Know Who We Are

7. Insane

8. I Just Want to Be (12'' Version)

9. Sparkle

10. Shake Your Pants

11. We're Goin' Out Tonight

12. Why Have I Lost You [Version 2]

13. Keep It Hot

14. Feel Me

Disc 2

1. Freaky Dancin'

2. Don't Be So Cool

3. Just Be Yourself

4. Flirt

5. Alligator Woman / Secrets of Time

6. Style (Single Version)

7. She's Strange

8. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck

9. Hangin' Downtown

10. Attack Me With You Love

11. Single Life

12. Word Up

13. Candy

14. Back And Forth

15. Skin I'm In (Single Version)

16. I Want It Now (Single Version)

x

Track List: 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of Cameo

1. Word Up

2. Single Life

3. Candy (7" Version)

4. She's Strange

5. Attack Me With Your Love

6. Back And Forth

7. I Just Want To Be (Edit)

8. Why Have I Lost You (Version 2)

9. Sparkle (Edit)

10. Keep It Hot (Edit)

11. Freaky Dancin' (Edit)

x

Track List: The 12" Collection And More

1. I Just Want To Be (Original 12" Extended Mix)

2. Word Up! (Original 12" Club Mix)

3. Shake Your Pants (Original 12" Club Mix)

4. She's Strange (Original 12" Club Mix)

5. Candy (Original 12" UK Mix)

6. Back And Forth (12" Larry Blackmon Mix)

7. Single Life (Original 12" UK Mix By Larry Blackmon)

8. Attack Me With Your Love (Original 12" Club Mix)

9. Rigor Mortis (Original 12" Mix)

10. Room 123 (She's Strange) (Original 12" Rap Version)

x

Track List: Cameo Greatest Hits

1. Word Up

2. Single Life

3. Candy

4. She's Strange

5. Attack Me With Your Love

6. Back and Forth

8. I Just Want To Be

9. Sparkle

10. Skin I'm In

11. Freaky Dancin'

12. Keep It Hot

x

Track List: The Ballads Collection

1. Why Have I Lost You? (Version 1)

2. Sparkle

3. It's Over

4. Feel Me

5. We All Know Who We Are

6. Hangin' Downtown

7. Love You Anyway

8. Don't Be Lonely

9. I Owe It All To You

10. I'll Always Stay

11. I Never Knew

12. Why Have I Lost You? (Version 2)

x

Track List: Nasty

1. Intro

2. Flirt

3. She’s Strange

4. Back And Forth

5. Skin I'm In

6. Why Have I Lost You

7. Sparkle

8. Candy

9. Shake Your Pants (Intro)

10. Shake Your Pants

11. I Just Want To Be

12. Keep It Hot

13. Word Up

14. Come Fly With Me

15. Nasty

16. Mega-Mix

x

Track List: The Best Of Cameo

1. Word Up

2. Single Life

3. Candy

4. Shake Your Pants

5. Rigor Mortis

6. Attack Me With Your Love

7. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck

8. Sparkle

9. Back And Forth

10. Flirt

11. She's Strange

12. I Just Want To Be

13. Skin I'm In

14. It's Over

x

Track List: Word Up!

1. Word Up

2. Candy

3. Back And Forth

4. Don't Be Lonely

5. She's Mine

6. Fast, Fierce & Funny

7. You Can Have the World

x

Track List: She's Strange

1. She's Strange

2. Love You Anyway

3. Talkin' Out The Side Of Your Neck

4. Tribute To Bob Marley

5. Groove With You

6. Hangin' Downtown

7. Le Ve Toi

x

Track List: Knights Of The Sound Table

1. Knights By Nights

2. Freaky Dancin'

3. I Never Knew

4. Use It Or Lose It

5. The Sound Table

6. Don't Be So Cool

7. I'll Always Stay

8. I Like It

x

Track List: Cameosis

1. Cameosis

2. Shake Your Pants

3. Please You

4. We're Goin' Out Tonight

5. I Care For You

6. On The One

7. Why Have I Lost You

x

Track List: Secret Omen

1. Energy

2. I Just Want To Be

3. Find My Way

4. Macho

5. The Rock

6. Sparkle

7. New York

x

Track List: Ugly Ego (Reissue)

1. I'll Be With You

2. Insane

3. Give Love A Chance

4. I Want You

5. Ugly Ego

6. Anything You Wanna Do

7. Two Of Us

8. Friend To me

x

Track List: We All Know Who We Are

1. Inflation

2. C On The Funk

3. Why Have I Lost You

4. Stand Up

5. We All Know Who We Are

6. It's Serious

7. It's Over

x

Track List: Cardiac Arrest

1. Still Feels Good

2. Post Mortem

3. Smile

4. Funk Funk (2012)

5. Find My Way

6. Rigor Mortis (2012)

7. Good Times

8. Stay By My Side

Comments

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Cameo, Rick James the first concert I ever attended while I was in high school...oh my goodness what a show!! Forever one of my all time favorite concerts I ever attended!!! Why Have I Lost You? (c'mon man, you know why, lol)......
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No way you sit still to this song!!!
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Candy hahaha why that song because of past.
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Cameo use to put it down back in the day.......
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Yes Iam real talk
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Every high school dance when this was played equaled floor packed. Did the roger rabbit and the smurf to this song
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Back in the day , If you wanted to get the party started, You played Cameo
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Jamming..... t o CAMEO~~Candy ~ ~ partied hearty on this groove back in the day.
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Yes that music omg still lit
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Sexy sexy sexy ������������
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F $/^ing awesome is all I can say about these brothers! !!!! Just illing!
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Still Rockin to It 30 years later ♫��#GoodMusi c
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As we go....
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Cameo...just like candy
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My college band Tuskegee University, played Cameo's music to a T... i became the most popular drummer there and in Atlanta, using my North drum set...just like larry had. Flirt and she"s stra ge, set me apart from the average drummer. Thankz
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I saw cameo/club neveau...tog e t h e r live preform in Massachusett s in the early 80's...those were that days!!! :) I miss being a teen sometimes.
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FUNK FUNK
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I look at wat they wearing an say to myself, history just repeats itself.
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Cameo was nice back in the day!
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...afternoon jam Back & Forth by Cameo...yess s s s s getting up to do my lil two step and dip...lol
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Kiss your hand 5 x say a color then post on 2 other songs then look under your pillow
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Cameo aka King Billy now has done for the world what God the Lord's have command him to do and shown the peoples of the world's that the rulings of God's is now in motion for all the peoples "salute "
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johnsonlynis e
Sexyme
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Lov this song real strong
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The music was hot.
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CAMEO PLEASE TELL ME WHAT R U 2 NOWADAYS. YOUR MUSIC HAVE EVERYONE JUMPING ALL OVER THE PLACE. ITS ALWAYS SOO ENJOYABLE LISTENING 2 YOUR. SONGS . U WILL HAVE EVERYONE ON THEIR FEET. PLEASE COME BACK T
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RIP Wayne Cooper. One of the baddest falsettos in Why Have I lost you and What you want me to be......
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When I first saw you there was sparkle in your eyes....I love this song.
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This is my jam rite here Classic
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cherokeeprin c e s s 1 2 7
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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Love them!
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Funky bro
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Block Parties in the 80's Good Times
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Cameo aka King Billy now has proven history and the future that he is the best!!!
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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cynthiadent
Sec 1 3rd row seat 10 come give me a hug and kiss? Bossier
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rataza.iwad
Checkout: www.thecomfo r t e r . i n f o
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Strange
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five thumbs up
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I saw cameo in las Vegas. In may. I got to meet the group after their performance great guys so down to earth.
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Cameo main concern is that it is important for him to get as many people going forward In God the Lord's way"salute
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Cameo aka King Billy and his Queen Teresa are prepared in any way to get the best way for each of you who wants change to achieve the desired results just do "TRUST"
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Cameo is not asking for the same as he all at once just take the steps he has outlined for each to follow and you will get there "Trust in the words"
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Cameo aka King Billy and his Queen Teresa are the world's God like models of history and today's world for the future we now are facing up with for the new changes now we have in the World's God the Lord's way"salute"
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Cameo aka King Billy now has proven history of greatest to the highest standards for the world's leader that he is for all of mankind's needs today ,yest
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WORD---UP!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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ATTACK ME WITH YOUR LOVE, BUSHWHACK ME WITH YOUR LOVE...BABEE E E E - - - - E N H A N C E ME WITH YOUR LOVE, I'M HAP-PEE WITH YOUR LOVE BABEEEEE!!!
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Wow brings back memories
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Atl always love cameo
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duranball3
Word up. still sound funky today
Show more

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