Saturday, August 9, 2008

Surface

Surface was an R&B group from the 80s and early 90s that consisted of singer/bassist Bernard Jackson (born on July 11, 1959 in Stamford, Connecticut), David Townsend (born on May 17, 1955 in Inglewood, California), and David Conley (born on December 27, 1953 in Newark, New Jersey).

David Townsend was the son of late singer/songwriter, Ed Townsend. He was also a member of the band, Port Authority in the 70s along with David Conley, who was the bassist of funk band, Mandrill from 1978 to 1981. Bernard moved from Stamford to New York to pursue a music career.

While he was in New York, his godfather said that he should contact his nephew, David Townsend, who played guitar with the Isley Brothers, who produced their band, Sunrize with David, drummer/writer, Everett Collins, and long-time friend & bassist, Tony Herbert from David's high school in Englewood. Townsend and Conley met when he was in a 70s band in Los Angeles.

Conley, Townsend, and Everett Collins started writing back in New Jersey and began performing under the name "Surface" featuring lead singer Karen Copeland.

After a brief break from recording, Townsend and Conley met Bernard and reformed Surface in 1983 with Bernard as the frontman/bass guitarist. Then, they became songwriters for EMI, writing songs for New Edition, Gwen Guthrie, and Sister Sledge.
In 1983, Surface released their debut single, "Falling in Love" which peaked at #84 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 4 weeks. In the U.K., the song peaked at #67 on the U.K. Singles chart.
A year later, they released their second single, "When Your Ex Wants You Back" which peaked at #52 on the U.K. Singles chart, but didn't make the charts in the United States. Surface later moved to Los Angeles to search for more mainstream success.
In 1986, Surface's song, "Let's Try Again" caught the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records, who signed the band to the label and released the song as a single.

The song first peaked at #80 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 5 weeks, but a year later, the song charted at #22 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.

During that same year, Bernard met a friend, Brian Simpson and recorded a demo tape of a song he had written called "The First Time." He believed it to be a hit and hired a recording studio to get the best professional conditions for the track.
During that same year, Surface released their debut album, which peaked at #55 on the Billboard 200 and #11 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The follow-up single from the album, "Happy" became a hit, peaking at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100, #16 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, #24 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and #2 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 22 weeks. In the U.K., the song peaked at #56 on the U.K. Singles chart.
The last single from the album, "Lately" peaked at #8 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks. "The First Time" did not appear on Surface's debut album and remained unreleased.
In 1989, Surface released their sophomore album, "2nd Wave" which peaked at #56 on the Billboard 200 and #5 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The album was certified Platinum by the RIAA.
The first single, "I Missed" peaked at #3 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 17 weeks.
The second single from the album, "Closer Than Friends" peaked at #57 on the Billboard Hot 100, #39 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales chart, and topped Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart for 2 weeks in March of 1989, staying on the chart for 23 weeks.
The third single, "Shower Me With Your Love" peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, and became Surface's second #1 R&B hit, topping Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart for a week in July of 1989, staying on the chart for 20 weeks.
The fourth single from the album, "You Are My Everything" peaked at #84 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Surface's third #1 R&B hit, topping Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart for 2 weeks in November of 1989, staying on the chart for 16 weeks.
The last single from the album, "Can We Spend Some Time" peaked at #5 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 17 weeks.
In 1991, Surface released their third album, "3 Deep" which peaked at #65 on the Billboard 200 and #19 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart. The album was certified Gold by the RIAA.
The first single, "The First Time" (which was originally recorded in 1986) became Surface's biggest hit to date, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks, topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and topped Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart for a week in January of 1991, staying on the chart for 22 weeks.
The second single from the album, "All I Want Is You" peaked at #8 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 15 weeks.
The third single, "Never Gonna Let You Down" peaked at #17 on the Billboard Hot 100, #17 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and #24 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 13 weeks.
The last single from the album, "You're the One" peaked at #35 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 11 weeks.
In 1991, Surface released their compliation album, "The Best Of Surface...A Nice Time 4 Lovin'." It's unknown how or if the album made the charts.

The only single to chart was "....A Nice Time For Lovin'" which peaked at #52 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 7 weeks. In 1994, Bernard and Townsend left Surface and they later broke up.
In 1998, Surface reformed and released their last studio album to date, "Love Zone" which didn't appear to make the charts at all.

A few years later, Surface announced a return to live appearances, but they were cancelled when David Townsend was found deceased in his home from unknown causes on October 26, 2005 at the age of 50, two years after the death of his father.

In 2000, Bernard released his self-titled solo album. He appears to still be active in the music business, dabbling in reggae music.

David Conley also continues to be active in the music business, working with artists such as Blackstreet, the Spice Girls, Victoria Beckham, Isaac Hayes, Olivia, George Benson, R. Kelly, and many more. He continues to compose, produce and market many of his own projects.

To see a fan-made video for "Falling in Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b91YqHJfqUA

To see a fan-made video for "When Your Ex Wants You Back," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lq2nAB7KCKE

To see a fan-made video for "Let's Try Again," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-OJWw6brkg

To see the music video for "Happy," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7_dAYT4TgA

To see the music video for "Lately," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tnTDr7QlSA

To see a fan-made video for "I Missed," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7jhbXNk_yY

To see a fan-made video for "Closer Than Friends," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cXNKxb6aco

To see the music video for "Shower Me With Your Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Ua835sudU

To see the music video for "You Are My Everything," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WemYkwGjik

To see the music video for "Can We Spend Some Time," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKtH__iVQkM

To see the music video for "The First Time," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sz2HOAb54w

To see the music video for "All I Want is You," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X7-7yJNS4M

To see a fan-made video for "Never Gonna Let You Down," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTL4hibNrcU

To see a fan-made video for "You're the One," go to:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KvWz7y-_kw


[updated on 02/28/13]

1 comment:

NYBRUH said...

Bernard has put out several solo cds and has been dabbling with reggae.