Today’s Song of the Day is a deep track duet by James “J.T.” Taylor and Regina Belle that is underappreciated. James “J.T.” Taylor had been the lead singer of Kool & the Gang. This song is off of his debut solo album, Master of the Game, which was released in 1989. It also appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Tap, which starred Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis Jr. (in his last film role).
Taylor joined Kool & The Gang in 1979, and remained with the group for 11 years. His tenure as lead singer was the most successful era in the band’s history, with the albums Ladies’ Night (1979), Celebrate! (1980), and Emergency (1984), and hit singles including “Ladies’ Night“, the US No. 1 “Celebration“, “Get Down on It“, “Joanna“, “Misled“, and “Cherish“.
Taylor left the group in 1989 to begin a solo career, but has reunited with the band a few times in concerts, and recorded one last album with them in 1996. He has released four solo albums to date.
Regina Belle had a couple of solo single hits with “Baby Come to Me” (1989) and “Make It Like It Was” (1990). But, she his probably best well known for two hit duets, both with Peabo Bryson: “Without You“, the love theme from the comedy film Leonard Part 6, recorded in 1987 and “A Whole New World“, the main theme of the Disney’s animated feature film Aladdin, recorded in 1992, with which Belle and Bryson won the Grammy award. The theme song “Far Longer than Forever” from the animated movie The Swan Princess, performed with Jeffrey Osborne, was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1995 for Best Original Song.
This is a great duet, written by the legendary Diane Warren, that needs more attention. Each of these singers sound incredible on their own. But, together they are magic. There were a lot of incredible duets throughout the ’80s, and this fits in well.