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Surface

When you think of the group Surface, the term disco dancefloor doesn't come to mind. The '80s soft soul vocal trio known for such lush ballads as "Closer Than Friends" and the million-selling singles "Shower Me With Your Love" and the number one pop hit "The First Time" had one of its first charting records as artists signed to dance music pioneer Salsoul Records. "Falling in Love," co-written by Surface member David Conley, doesn't have much in common with the aforementioned titles other than the group name and a (presumably) Conley flute solo. The single made it to number 84 R&B in summer 1983 and the U.K. pop charts. Singer Bernard Jackson who grew up in Stamford, CT, got into the music business through his cousin who lived in New York. Seizing the opportunity, he relocated to New York and began performing around the city. While doing a show in Stamford, his godfather suggested that he contact his nephew David Townsend who was also in the music business. Townsend, a former touring guitarist for the Isley Brothers, was the son of singer/songwriter/producer Ed Townsend who had a hit with "For Your Love" in summer 1958 and wrote the Impressions' "Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)" and co-wrote Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On." Around 1973, Townsend joined a band called the Port Authority where he met David "Pic" Conley. Townsend, whose father shared hit songwriting tips with him, began writing songs with Conley. After Townsend and Conley met Jackson it was decided that they'd write songs together. The trio became staff writers for EMI Music. Their songs were covered by New Edition ("Let's Be Friends" from their 1985 MCA LP All for Love) and Sister Sledge ("You're So Fine"). The trio became performers using the name Surface and moved to Los Angeles. An EMI Music executive brought one of their songs, "Let's Try Again," to the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records. Arnold's previous successes include Natalie Cole and Peabo Bryson. He signed the group to Columbia and their first single "Let's Try Again" charted number 80 R&B in late 1986. The debut album Surface included the smooth and sweet "Happy," which hit number two R&B for two weeks in early 1987, "Lately" (number eight R&B), and the reissued "Let's Try Again." The next LP, 2nd Wave yielded "I Missed" (number three R&B), "Closer Than Friends" (number one R&B for two weeks in early 1989), the wedding standard "Shower Me With Your Love" (gold, number one R&B/number five pop), "You Are My Everything" (number one R&B for two weeks), and "Can We Spend Some Time" (number five R&B). Jackson brought the sheet music to a song he had written in 1986 to his friend, songwriter Brian Simpson, who had a recording studio in his garage. After listening to the finished demo tape, Jackson thought that he had a hit. Hiring a mobile 24-track recording studio truck to capture his vocal in the best professional conditions, Jackson sang "The First Time" in Simpson's house. "The First Time" was the first single from Surface's 3 Deep album and went gold hitting number one R&B and holding the number one pop for two weeks in early 1991. While "The First Time" was topping the charts, Surface was one of the presenters at the American Music Awards and were enthusiastically congratulated. The hits continued with "All I Want Is You" (number eight R&B, early 1991) and "Never Gonna Let You Down." "You're the One" billed as Surface featuring Bernard Jackson made it to number 24 R&B, summer 1991. The group's last charting single was "A Nice Time for Lovin'" included on their 1991 greatest hits LP The Best Surface: A Nice Time for Loving. Conley and Townsend also produced sides on Rebbie Jackson ("Reaction") that are on The Rebbie Jackson Collection from U.K. label Expansion distributed by Sony/3MV. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi
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Comments

Life's 2 short 2 live lone.
My Jam
alghanees
Song of my life!!
#Unsung I remember this song growing up in the 80's
Surface, Soul for Real, soft sweet soul better times for music.
Luv this song !!!!!
This is my Jam!!!! : )
apettiford00 3
Beautiful, throwback love it:)
Beautiful song. Life is too short to live alone...Real Talk lidten to the words.
This sons brings back so many memories! I love it!
This is my favorite song from surface. My best friend used to sing it to me. Raymond Guarin the 4th. Miss you guy. God bless. RIP
WOW^^^^(( SURFACE ))
Damn this was my song I love it real music from the soul
mrazmeritsa
Aw, man...Happy, 1987...just moved out on my own...that year was definitely a learning experience.. . d e s p i t e the bad as well as good times, the music was on point that year!!! No doubt!
Remember this when me and my hubby were just Friends!!
Man I remember this cassette!!!. . . . . a l l that plus tax
Now it's time to sing to my girl......
smooth
SWEET!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Lately is one of their tightest cuts!!
smooth style
Memories. Dam
Now were jamming.Grea t dance song.And it tells the truth.
Omg!! Surface is/was the s**t!!! I mean dam they do not make music like this anymore smdh
Even til this day I still love this song.
CLOSER TO YOU BABY CLOSER THAN JUST FRIENDS.... STILL THE STUFF
I WAS LIVING IN GERMANY WHEN THIS DROPPED IT WAS THE S*** THEN AND STILL IS.
I LOVE SURFACE! REAL MUSIC!
way2tazzy200 0
I know the group personaly I want to get intouch with Bernard Jackson!!!!!
yo this waz the s**t.i remember when this came out.being in luv waz fun back then huh
tmt2000us200 0
One of the best groups in the 80's
One of the best groups to come out of the 80's!!
deach40
I LOVE SURFACE MY BRYANA HAYWOOD I AM 23 YEARS OLD
JAMES RODNEY SHOWER ME WITH YOUR LOVE
love this joint
fantastic melodic group, heart warming love songs, bernard is a great singer
Surface music just makes me feel so relaxed and calm....the beats are just the kind you can just sway to.......... s i t t i n g here at work and listening to Surface makes the day just a little bit easier to deal with....need more music like this group today.....
Happy,a better love song? mmmm,dont think so.
OMG Memories!!
aletha_dutte r 4
"The First Time" ..... Aaaah, STILL gives me chills!!!
lvn_mss
I Love there music so much.There music so smooth.
shower me w/ your love is the one i remember best.
best song-Closer Than Just Friends-Happ y -
all surface is on hit...even got there songs tatted on me...
I JUST LOVE "HAPPY" ON THE GREATEST HITS ALBUM.
hurukoe
I like the term Soul Music better than R&B...You got that RIGHT!!!!
absolutely adore this group!!!!
who writes these biographies Surface wasnt Disco by any means!!! They also had CeCe Peniston classified as a Disco queen when her music was clearly House Music!!!{ Disco had long faded when she came out!} Surface is just good ol' Soul Music! I like the term Soul Music better than R&B
rgirl4life
Love Surface. I recently found out that 1 of its members passed on.Don't know his name, but the one who always wears the hat & sunglasses. R.I.P my brotha.Your music will always be apart of those of us who truly appreciate REAL R&B.
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