Sunday, June 26, 2011

The #45 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Rapture" by Anita Baker

Longevity earned this album a spot in the Top 100 Albums*.  We're up to #45 and it's by soul great Anita Baker.

The album was up against tough competition and peaked at #11.  But it refused to go away and the more that listeners discovered about the album, the more word got around and the more it continued to sell.  It's a perfect example why you can never go by chart performance alone.  Rapture remained a fixture in the Top 40 albums for an incredible 125 weeks (over two years!) and spent over three years (157 weeks) on the chart.  All told, it sold five million copies for her.  Great airplay on Top 40, Adult Contemporary and R&B radio stations from singles "Sweet Love", "Watch Your Step", "Caught Up in the Rapture", "Same Ole Love" and "No One in the World" didn't hurt either, and the album scored out a 9.1 Track Rating* as well.  "Mystery" is one of The Top Unknown/Underrated Songs of the Rock Era* and "Been So Long" is a good cut as well.  That means, essentially, that the album is a home run; it can be tracked through without skipping a song.

You add in those impressive numbers plus the fact that it won numerous awards and that places Anita Baker up high at #45.  Baker won Grammies for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Female (recognized for the entire album) and Best R&B song (for "Sweet Love").  She won Best Single, Female at the Soul Train Awards.  Baker was also nominated for Favorite Album and Favorite Female Artist, both in the R&B/soul category, at the American Music Awards.

1.  "Sweet Love" (Anita Baker, Louis A. Johnson, Gary Bias) --4:26
2.  "You Bring Me Joy" (David Lasley) --4:24
3.  "Caught Up in the Rapture" (Garry Glenn, Dianne Quander) --5:07
4.  "Been So Long" (Baker) --5:07
5.  "Mystery" (Rod Temperton) --4:56
6.  "No One in the World" (Ken Hirsch, Marti Sharron) --4:10
7.  "Same Ole Love" (Marilyn McLeod, Darryl K. Roberts) --4:05
8.  "Watch Your Step" (Baker) --4:54

Baker also played piano on "Watch Your Step".  She gets help on Rapture from Lorenzo Brown, Ricky Lawson, Arthur Marbury, John Robinson and Lawrence Fratangelo on drums and percussion, Jimmy Haslip, Neil Stubenhaus, David B. Washington and Freddie Washington on bass guitar, Donald Griffin, Paul Jackson Jr., Greg Moore, Dean Parks and Michael J. Powell on guitars, Paul Chiten, Vernon D. Fails, Sir Gant and Greg Phillinganes on keyboards, piano and synthesizers and Don Myrick and Donald Albright on sax. 

Anita Baker recorded this superb album from 1985 to 1986. She was also the Executive Producer with Michael J. Powell, Marti Sharron & Gary Skardina producing Rapture. Skardina, Robert Feist and Barney Perkins were the engineers, Powell mixed the album and Barry Diament and Bernie Grundman mastered it. The album was released in March of 1986 on Elektra Records.

Anita Baker's memorable Rapture checks in at #45.

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