Atlantic Starr was among the top urban contemporary acts of the '80s and fared well in the adult contemporary market as well, but their roots were '70s soul and funk. The East Coast outfit was formed in White Plains, NY, in 1976 by three brothers: lead singer/guitarist David Lewis, lead singer/keyboardist Wayne Lewis, and trombonist/percussionist Jonathan Lewis. After the Lewis Brothers hired lead singer Sharon Bryant, trumpeter William Sudderth, saxophonist Damon Rentie (who was replaced by Koran Daniels in 1981), bassist Clifford Archer, drummer Porter Carroll, Jr., and percussionist/flutist Joseph Phillips, Atlantic Starr's original nine-person lineup was in place. Influenced by '70s funk/soul bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, the Commodores, New Birth, and L.T.D., Atlantic Starr started playing around the northeastern U.S. They had only been together for about two years when they signed with A&M and started working with Bobby Eli, a well-respected producer/songwriter from Philadelphia. Produced by Eli in 1978, Atlantic Starr's self-titled debut album wasn't a mega-platinum blockbuster but did reasonably well and contained the funk hit "Stand Up" (which made it to number 16 on Billboard's R&B singles chart). Eli went on to produce the band's second album, Straight to the Point; while that 1979 release did OK, A&M knew that Atlantic Starr could be bigger. So in 1981, the band changed producers and enlisted James Carmichael for their third album, Radiance. It was a wise move; Radiance and its hit single "When Love Calls" established Atlantic Starr as a supergroup in the R&B market. It was on Radiance that the charismatic Bryant (who was featured on "When Love Calls") really blossomed as a singer and her lead vocals played a major role in the band's success. Carmichael went on to produce 1982's "Brilliance" (which contained the number two R&B single "Circles") and 1983's Yours Forever; the latter includes "Touch a Four Leaf Clover," another major hit featuring Bryant.
Although Bryant was never Atlantic Starr's only lead singer -- Wayne and David Lewis also provided their share of lead vocals -- she was a major asset. So it came as quite a disappointment when she left Atlantic Starr in 1984 to pursue a solo career. But all was not lost. The talented Barbara Weathers was hired as a replacement and 1985's As the Band Turns -- Atlantic Starr's first post-Bryant album and sixth album overall -- found the outfit unveiling a smaller lineup that consisted of Weathers, the Lewis Brothers, and Phillips. Sudderth, Daniels, Archer, and Carroll were all gone, but despite those personnel changes, Atlantic Starr was still distinctive and recognizable. As the Band Turns, which contained the major hit "Secret Lovers," turned out to be Atlantic Starr's last album for A&M; in 1987, they moved to Warner Bros. and fared well with the album All in the Name of Love and the smash hit "Always." A syrupy adult contemporary ballad, "Always" reflected the Lewis Brothers' desire to have the type of crossover success that Whitney Houston and Lionel Ritchie had been enjoying in the '80s; they got their wish when "Always" soared to number one on both the pop and R&B charts.
After All in the Name of Love, Weathers left the band to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Porscha Martin, who was featured on 1988's We're Movin' Up. Martin was around for a few years before being replaced by Rachel Oliver (Atlantic Starr's fourth female vocalist) in the early '90s. Atlantic Starr's relationship with Warner Bros. ended after 1991's Love Crazy, and in 1994, the band recorded one album for Arista: Time. That album was a commercial disappointment and the single "I'll Remember You" only made it to the fifties on Billboard's R&B and pop singles charts. Time (which was David Lewis' last album with the band) found a fifth female singer, Aisha Tanner, replacing Oliver. And when 1999's Legacy was distributed by the small, independent Street Solid label, Atlantic Starr unveiled yet another lineup -- one that consisted of two Lewis Brothers (Wayne and Jonathan) as well as Oliver (who had returned and replaced Tanner) and a new male singer named DeWayne Woods. Although Legacy received very little attention, Atlantic Starr hung in there and was still performing for die-hard fans when the 21st century arrived. Allmusic by Alex Henderson
01 Stand Up 02. Keep It Comin' 03. Visions 04. Being In Love With You Is So Much Fun 05. The Love I Never Had Love 06. Gimme Your Lovin' 07. With Your Love I Come Alive 08. We Got It Together 09. Don't Abuse My Love 10. Where There's Smoke, There's Fire
01. One Lover at a Time 02. You Belong With Me 03. Females 04. Don't Take Me for Granted 05. Always 06. Armed and Dangerous 07. Let the Sun In 08. Thankful 09. I'm in Love 10. All in the Name of Love 11. My Mistake 12. Interlude
01 Under Your Spell 02. Bring It Back Home Again 03. I'm In Love With You 04. Don't Start The Fire 05. Love Ain't Fair (track is missing) 06. My First Love 07. Woman's Touch 08. Friends 09. We'Re Movin' Up 10. My Sugar 11. I Can't Wait 12. You Deserve The Best
01. I Can't Wait 02. If You Knew What's Good For You 03. Love Crazy 04. Hold On 05. Lookin' For Love Again 06. Come Lover 07. You Hit The Spot 08. Masterpiece 09. Girl, Your Love's So Fine 10. My Special Lover 11. Unconditional Love
01. I'll Remember You 02. Everybody's Got Summer 03. My Best Friend 04. Time 05. Baby Be There 06. Let's Just Sneak Around 07. So Good To Come HomeTo 08. Lovin' You All Over Again 09. Animal Attraction 10. Along The Way
01. Where Have You Been All My Life 02. Stand! 03. I've Fallen In Love 04. On The Other Side 05. Love To The Rescue 06. Mary 07. Dad 08. When Was The Last Time 09. The Mirror 10. Reach Higher 11. Legacy
01. Always 02. When Love Call (Single Version) 03. Secret Lovers (Single Version) 04. Touch A Four Leaf Clover (Single Version) 05. Silver Shadow (Specially Remixed Version) 06. Love Crazy 07. One Lover At A Time 08. Cool, Calm, Collected 09. Circles (Single Version) 10. Love Me Down (Single Version) 11. Send For Me (Single Version) 12. More, More, More (Single Version) 13. If Your Heart Isn't In It 14. Stand Up (Single Version) 15. (Let's) Rock 'N' Roll (Single Version) 16. Freak-A-Ristic 17. Masterpiece (Single Version) 18. My First Love
Album: The Best of Atlantic Starr, 20th Century Masters Of The Millennium Collection (2007)
01. Stand Up 02. When Love Calls 03. Send For Me 04. Circles 05. Love Me Down 06. Touch A Four Leaf Clover 07. More, More, More 08. Freak-A-Ristic 09. Silver Shadow 10. Secret Lovers 11. If Your Heart Isn't In It 12. Always