Jaki Graham was born in Birmingham. She originally sang in a band called Ferrari, and then went on to the band Medium Wave, before becoming a backing vocalist for UB40. She appeared on their version of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” as well as UB40’s own “Sing Our Own Song” (1986). She was also in a band called White Lines with former Bakerloo and Little Acre sax player George Northall in 1977.
She went on to achieve notable solo chart success in 1985, including two singles in which she duetted with the former Linx vocalist David Grant. The first, a cover of “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” reached #5, and the duo had a second hit the same year with the song “Mated” which reached #20.
Graham also had several hits by herself, including “Round and Around” (#9), “Set Me Free” (#7), “Step Right Up” (#15) and “Breaking Away” (#16).
Graham also continued to work as a backing vocalist, and in 1990 she provided backing vocals on Kim Wilde’s, “I Can’t Say Goodbye”. In 1993 she also provided vocals for “Dreams” and “Jack & Jill”, two singles released by the dance music outfit, ‘Essence’.
Despite her star status in the UK, Graham’s success in the United States failed to cross over from the dance/club audiences, though she scored a number one hit on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart in 1994, with her cover version of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody”.
In 1986, Les “Mix Doctor’ Adams supplied this Megamix of three of Jaki’s biggest hits, Set Me Free, The Closest One and Step Right Up.
Step Right Up 4:01
The Closest One (Duet With Derek Bramble) 4:37
Jaki Graham originally sang in a band called ‘Ferrari’, and then went on to the band ‘Medium Wave’, before becoming a backing vocalist for UB40. She appeared on their version of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” as well as UB40’s own “Sing Our Own Song” (1986). She was also in a band called ‘White Lines’ with former ‘Bakerloo’ and ‘Little Acre’ sax player George Northall in 1977. She went on to achieve notable solo chart success in 1985, including two singles in which she duetted with the former Linx vocalist David Grant. The first, a cover of “Could It Be I’m Falling in Love” reached #5, and the duo had a second hit the same year with the song “Mated” which reached #20.
In 1986, Jaki released her second album, titled “Breaking Away”, it would become her most successful release with four singles that all reached the UK Top 20 and a fifth single which only managed the #83 spot in the UK.
“Step Right Up” was a #15 UK hit, written by Derek Bramble and mixed by Michael Brauer and unfortunately not managing to make the re-release of the “Breaking Away” album in 2010.
The “Pure Dance Mix” appeared on the Street Sounds Edition 20 LP back in 1987.
Step Right Up (Pure Dance Mix) 7:22
Step Right Up (Dub Mix) 6:15
The Closest One 4:33
In 1989, after a string of UK hits including “Set Me Free” and”Step Right Up”, Jaki Graham released her third album, titled “From Now On”. The album failed to recapture the chart success of her first two albums and the release of the title track as a single continued the chart decline which saw her previous two singles hit #83 and #60 in the UK charts.
Shep Pettibone added his magic to the 12″ mixes and its disappointing that this isn’t one of Jaki’s better known tracks, only managing to reach #73 in the UK charts.
From Now On (Here And Now Mix) 6:20
From Now On (Doomsday Dub) 4:25
From Now On (Accadub Mix) 5:21
Jaki Graham is an English singer who had a number of UK chart hits between 1985 and 1995. The most successful were “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” (duet with David Grant) (#5 UK) and “Round And Around” (#9 UK), both in 1985. Before these chart successes, Jaki released three singles which failed to chart, the first of these “What’s The Name Of Your Game” was written by Derek Bramble and mixed by Francois Kevorkian.
There have been some re-releases of Jaki’s albums in the UK with many of the 12″ singles added, well worth looking into.
What’s The Name Of Your Game (Extended Version) 5:58