In 1974, Cameo started out with 10 members, created by Larry Blackmon and called the New York City Players. They were signed by Casablanca Records to their Chocolate City imprint in 1976, the group soon changed its name to Cameo after concerns that “New York City Players” might cause confusion between them and the funk band Ohio Players. Prior to this, Blackmon, keyboardist Gregory Johnson, and the late Gwen Guthrie formed the band East Coast, together with James Wheeler (alto saxophone), Melvin Whay (bass), Michael Harris (percussion), and Haras Fyre (also known as Pat Grant) on trombone. They released one self-titled album in 1973 on the independent label Encounter.
However, by the mid-1980s, Blackmon and crew were ready to move on. With Alligator Woman in 1982, Cameo stripped down to “five main members”, still keeping a full band for shows. Then Gregory Johnson quit, making it a quartet: Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, Nathan Leftenant, and Charles Singleton; keyboardist Kevin Kendricks would later be brought more into the creative fold. Blackmon also moved from New York City to Atlanta, Georgia and started his own label Atlanta Artists, which was distributed by Polygram. Inspired by the edgy synthesizer arrangements being pushed forward by the new wave groups of the time, he moved the band in an electronic funk” direction. It utilized heavily sequenced drum machines (e.g. Simmons), bass and occasional horn arrangements. He put his trademark “Ooow!” into the forefront of Cameo’s mixes and markedly changed their sound.
Cameo’s 1983 release Style was one of the first to come from this new label and was the first disc to capitalize on Cameo’s new sound. She’s Strange came out in 1984 and its “12-inch mix” was a major smash in the R&B clubs. The title track and its follow-up, “Talkin’ Out the Side of Your Neck”, were minor successes on the pop charts. 1985’s album Single Life, with the song “Word Up!”, hit the radio airwaves in mid-1986. Critically acclaimed with large amounts of club and radio airtime, the resulting album Word Up! turned Cameo into superstars. The follow-up tracks, “Candy” and “Back and Forth”, were also huge hits for the funk trio.
Back And Forth (12″ Remix) 6:20
Back And Forth (Dub Mix) 6:01
Candy (Remix) 5:46