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The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
25 April 2019, 08:56
George Benson is one of the greatest soul singers and guitarists of his generation.
He was a former child prodigy and first performed jazz in the 1960s, before launching a hugely successful solo career in the 1970s and 1980s with his unique mix of pop, soul and R&B.
Here are just a handful of his very best and most famous songs, to kick off a perfect George Benson playlist, ahead of his UK tour in 2019:
A true Smooth favourite, this 1982 track is a fantastic combination of pop, soul and funk.
Amazingly, it only peaked at number 14 in the UK charts, and only 52 in the States!
George was the first to release this ballad back in 1976, reaching the top 30 in both the UK and US. It was written to be the main theme of the 1977 film The Greatest, a movie about boxer Muhammad Ali.
Eight years later, Whitney Houston released her own version of the song, and it became a humongous hit as part of her debut album.
Taken from his 1980 album of the same name, this song was written and composed by Heatwave's keyboard player Rod Temperton (who also wrote Michael Jackson's 'Thriller') and produced by Quincy Jones. Patti Austin also provided backing and scat vocals heard throughout the song.
It was a top 10 hit in the UK and US, and was arguably one of the last disco singles to be a success.
This track was co-written by Toto singer David Paich and Grammy Award-winning film composer James Newton Howard. Impressive!
It was a bigger hit in the UK than the US, reaching a peak of 11 in 1983.
This song was co-written by Michael Masser and 'Sometimes When We Touch' singer Dan Hill.
It was another decent hit in the UK for George, reaching number 7 in 1983.
Yet more amazing songwriters for this one: it was written by Bill Champlin of Chicago, Steve Lukather of Toto and producer and guitarist Jay Graydon.
The original inspiration for the song came to Graydon in a unique place: "I was in the bathroom when I came up with the melody, and I was sitting down, if you get my drift. Well, I got off the can as fast as I could and got to a cassette machine so I wouldn't forget it. George Benson was coming in town Tuesday, so I had four days to come up with a song. And then bang!"
Written by Masser and Gerry Goffin, George scored a mild hit with it in 1985.
However, it is perhaps better known as a cover by Glenn Medeiros, who hit number one with it in the UK in 1988.