Cameo: Give Our Legends Their Flowers

Members: Larry Blackmon • Anthony Lockett • Aaron Mills • Jeff Nelson • Tomi Jenkins • Nathan Leftenant • Jeryl Bright • Greg Johnson • Arnett Leftenant • Charlie Singleton • Robert Branch • Kenni Hairston • Michael Burnett • Thomas Campbell • Wayne Cooper • Merve de Peyer • Gary Dow • Eric Durham • Gregory Johnson • Kurt Jeter • John Kellogg • Kevin Kendrick • Damon Mendes • Stephen Moore • William Morris • Eric Nelson • William Revis • Charles Sampson • Robert L. Smith • Melvin Wells • Paul Andrews • Azza Meah • Arnold Ramsey • Dominic Christie • Harold Gander • Pat Buchanan

Years active: 1974-2001, 2016-present

Labels: Chocolate City • Atlanta Artists • Reprise

Genres: R&B • funk • soul

There’s not a lot of funk bands around where I truly appreciate their catalog, but one of the bands I do appreciate is Cameo. With a career that spans almost 50 years, Cameo has always remained consistent in regards to giving their devoted fans quality music.

They are beyond deserving of their flowers due to the fact that their funk influenced records and their soulful ballads are just timeless records. The newer school has paid homage to the amazing group by sampling, interpolating or covering their amazing work.


The 70s:

Albums released: Cardiac Arrest • We All Know Who We Are • Ugly Ego • Secret Omen

1974 was when the legendary Larry Blackmon created the group under the name of the New York City Players. The group’s name was eventually changed to Cameo after being informed that there was a band already under the original name.

The early years of Cameo started with music that had a “deep, funk sound” with many more dance influenced gems. Some of their earlier were songs like Find My Way, Funk Funk, It’s Serious & Insane.

It was their Secret Omen album for me! I Just Want to Be was the group’s first top 5 hit on the Billboard R&B charts.

& don’t get me started on the immaculate Sparkle!! A top ten hit for the group, Sparkle is truly one of the best R&B songs you’ll ever hear. Just top notch!

The 80s:

Albums released: Cameosis • Feel Me • Knights of the Sound Table • Alligator Woman • Style • She’s Strange • Single Life • Word Up! • Machismo

The 80s were a huge decade for the group. They reached mainstream success with the release of their 1980 album Cameosis. It became the groups first number one album on the Billboard R&B albums chart and was supported by the hits We’re Goin’ Out Tonight & Shake Your Pants.

The group kept the momentum going and eventually gained their first number one hit on the R&B charts with 1984’s She’s Strange.

I love everything about 1985’s Single Life. A SONG!

The release of Word Up! Made Cameo one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and gave them two of their biggest hits with the title track and the illustrious Candy 🍭

The 90s:

Albums released: Real Men… Wear Black • Emotional Violence • In the Face of Funk

The work the group put out in the 90s wasn’t as successful as their earlier music, but it was still good music!

The 00s:

Albums released: Sexy Sweet Thing

The group’s most recent album is Sexy Sweet Thing, and eventually they went into hiatus. Cameo was also featured in Mariah Carey’s 2001 hit single Loverboy, which she had sampled their most known single..Candy. Being featured on the song, gave the group another number one single on the R&B charts, and number two on the Hot 100 charts, which outpeaked Word Up!

Cameo will go down in history as one of the greatest bands to ever exist, and rightfully so. Simply amazing. -MW.

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