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Yarbrough & Peoples

The singing duo of Yarbrough & Peoples burst on to the music scene with the million-selling single "Don't Stop the Music," a sinewy slab of synth-based R&B/funk that was ahead of its time and had a far-reaching influence in the years following. The sizzling track held down the number one R&B spot for five weeks and hit number 19 pop on Billboard's charts in the spring of 1981. Calvin Yarbrough and Alisa Peoples first met when they were small children, growing up in Dallas, TX; he was six-years-old and she was four. They were both taking lessons from the same music teacher and attended the same neighborhood church, where both sang solos in the church choir. After their college years, Peoples worked a regular job while Yarbrough played keyboards and sang in a band called Grand Theft. Tulsa, OK, musicians Robert, Ronnie, and Charlie Wilson were in the audience for one of the band's shows and offered the keyboardist/singer a background vocals job on the Leon Russell tour that they were a part of. Once the tour was over, Yarbrough returned to Dallas, playing local gigs with Grand Theft. Around 1977, Peoples sang a song with the band during one of their club dates. Everyone there knew it was the beginning of musical magic. The Wilson brothers, then known as the Gap Band, were having hit after hit ("Shake," number four R&B, spring 1979, "Steppin' (Out)," number ten R&B, late 1979, "I Don't Believe You Want to Get up and Dance (Oops, Up Side Your Head)," number four R&B, early 1980). When the group came to Dallas to perform, Yarbrough had them listen to an audio tape he and Peoples had recorded. Impressed, Charlie Wilson enthusiastically woke up their manager/producer Lonnie Simmons in his hotel room. Wilson, followed by the singing duo, entered the room and stayed while Simmons listened to the tape. Simmons was taken by the couple's humble, genteel manner and good attitudes. Exchanging phone numbers, he bid them all a good night. One day while in the lobby of his Los Angeles-based label Total Experience Records, Simmons was surprised to see Yarbrough & Peoples. He suggested that the duo make a record demo and teamed them with staff producer Jonah Ellis. They recorded seven songs, the last of which was "When the Music Stops." Ellis felt the song was a filler; if they had enough studio time left, they would record it on the demo, if not it was no big deal. Yarbrough liked the song, so Ellis recorded a track with both a drum machine and drummer Jonathan Moffett. Retitled "Don't Stop the Music" and co-written by Peoples (producers Jonah Ellis and Lonnie Simmons, issued on Mercury), the song inherited the number one R&B spot from the Gap Band's "Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)" during February 1981. Their debut album The Two of Us went gold, peaking at number 16 on Billboard's album charts. The follow-up, The Third Degree, peaked at number 74 R&B, summer 1981. The next LP, Heartbeats, was issued on Total Experience as part of a distribution deal producer Simmons had with Polygram in spring 1982. Two singles were released with strong "Don't Stop the Music" leanings: "Heartbeats" (number ten R&B, late 1982) and "Feels So Good" (number 20 R&B, spring 1983). Their next album, Be a Winner, produced by Yarbrough, Ellis, and Oliver Scott, and released spring 1984, yielded another number one R&B single. Mixed by Nick Martinelli and David Todd (who co-mixed Evelyn Champagne King's "Shame" with Al Garrison), "Don't Waste Your Time" clocked in at number one R&B, spring 1984. The LP's title track climbed to number 20 R&B in summer 1984. Guilty was the name of Yarbrough & Peoples' best album, issued in late 1985. The title track "Guilty" -- not to be confused with the Alexander O'Neal hit -- went to number two R&B around the time of the LP's release. The track was written and produced by Jimmy Hamilton and Maurice Hayes of the band Prime Time, who had a hit on Total Experience with "I Owe It to Myself," number 21 R&B, fall 1984. The Hamilton/Hayes follow-up, the percolating "I Wouldn't Lie" went to number six R&B in spring 1986. The gentle ballad "Wrapped Around Your Finger" peaked at number 46 R&B, summer 1986. Although they're known for their up-tempo hits, "Guilty" proved that Yarbrough & Peoples could handle ballads. Listen to the airy, ethereal ballad "I'll Give Anything to Have You Back." Another standout track is the Oliver Scott-produced "Anytime," with its rumbling, tumbling, comin'-to-get-ya funk groove. The duo worked with the other acts signed to Total Experience including the Gap Band and Penny Ford. On the singer's Pennye LP, the singing duo co-wrote and produced the heart-tugging ballad "Never Let Go." Ford was featured on the Gap Band's "I Found My Baby," number eight R&B, spring 1985 (available on Smooth Grooves: Vol. 1-New Jack Ballads, Rhino, 1998), and was the lead vocalist on Snap's 1990 multi-platinum worldwide hit "The Power" and its gold follow-up "Ooops Up." Yarbrough & Peoples sang "Christmas Dreams" on the 1984 multi-artist LP A Total Experience Christmas on Total Experience/RCA. Sometime during the '80s, Yarbrough & Peoples became a married couple. Total Experience folded in the late '80s and the couple returned to Texas. PGD/Polygram Pop/Jazz issued Best of Yarbrough & Peoples (which includes the 12" version of "Heartbeats") in May 1997, and "Don't Stop the Music" is on the label's compilation Dance Funk, released November 1997. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi
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Comments

The Big Hommie, Canine!
lo_smith67
If I could go back in time....I'd leave today!
This was the best times ever
I just LOVE their music soo much
Classic soul...
This is BRAIN BEATN MUSIC DONT STOP THE MUSIC K-TOWN GERMANY!!!
iknightu
Is this Stevie Wonder? CopyCats
My favorite all time jammy jam! Representing the OC Orange City child to adult now what NEVER stop the music!
The greatest memories of the skating rink in Pensacola at take skating rink on warringtonl blvd
Don't stop the music ever.
Like it
afrokimono
One of the first posters I ripped from the pages of Right On! magazine and plastered on my wall - Yarborough and Peoples!
The song is all about reality. Goddee1962
Nothing but the best. Goddee1962
Just because I'm 60 yrs, don't mean that I have to stop lovin this song! LOL
roc10312
This has been one of my favorite songs since I was a child!!! And still rocking to it as a 40ish adult!
I love this song.
Man their nothing like old skool ♥
Don't Stop The Music is my favorite song by Y&P!
real music. all day ehhh day :-D
Bring back good old memories!!!!
payginaplz
2013 and the music still hasn't stopped! !!!
Always the LAST song played at the clubs back in the day!
All i can say is Rolling on the skates
this is the JAM!
love it , it never gets old .
Has anyone heard the new Yarbrough & Peoples song I'm In...All The Way In?
Party jam don't u stop the music
my jam now!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
my jam back in da day
So many good memories of 8th grade dances when this was the jam. Langley AFB, VA. This was the only cut that gave me the guts to ask that cute girl to dance, LOL.
Remember, this group on Soul Train with the puppets
Big bad stocktone califaz en la p**che casa?!?!
This is one of hottest jams of back n da day they just don't make thid kind of music anymore. Life was good back n those days Dont Stop the Music literally
DON'T SSTOP THE MUSSIK!!! MR.SMOKEY VARRIO HARDTIMES cuidad de GRANDE GROVE ORANGE*COUNT Y ! ! !
This Song reminds me of the Cal Skate $1 days!!! We had it so good in the Bay Bk N the Dayyy!
life was soooo good then.....no worries...gr e a t music...
maynormerida
Play I wouldn't lie.
jenrand9
yeeesss! feel like i am at the skating rink again...my good mood just got better
traviswhite8 3 4 7
This was the tip of the iceberg when I was in High School. They don't make music like this anymore and that is a shame...
Ironic church singers! That's my problem w/my Church I don't sing good due to a stygma or mental block I made for myself at a church I left. I'm glad scars are not forever! I have to fight myself everyday w/my own thoughts, I'm glad I like challenges everyday or I would easily give up, and tell God for me to "die and start over"!
this song reminds me of when my family would have get togethers and this song would play...what great memories!!!
"Guilty" just an over all lovely and dance song, haven't heard it for like 20 years! For sure don't stop the music!
junnb
This is what Iam talking about Don't Stop The Music by Yarbrough & Peoples just made my day.
what the funk is going on,the DJ has my brain!
tracymann196 7
Got to love my music
sexty8
This is my jam!!!!!!!!! ! !
cityview6
Inktown Jam For Real!
I was at Mother's Disco In San Jose Ca, when this song hit number 1 this song was the Jam!
honeychild.. . e x p l a i n "puppets" they were a great duo...this was a great song.
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