Nevill, Robbie - 1986 Robbie Nevill

EricEric USA
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Nevil, Robbie
ALBUM: Robbie Nevil
LABEL: EMI/Manhattan
SERIAL: CDP-546390
YEAR: 1986


LINEUP: Robbie Nevil - vocals, guitar, keyboards * Tommy Faragher - bass, background vocals * John Van Tongren - keyboards, bass * Judd Lander - harmonica * Frank Ricotti, Alex Sadkin, Mike Nocito, Boris Williams - percussion * Ian Ritchie - sax * Chris Thompson, Elaine Griffiths, Stevie Lange, Fiona Griffiths - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Just A Little Closer * 02 Dominoes * 03 Limousines * 04 Back To You * 05 C'est La Vie * 06 Dominoes (Extended Vocal Remix) * 07 Wot's It To Ya * 08 Walk Your Talk * 09 Simple Life (Mambo Luv Thang) * 10 Neighbours * 11 Look Who's Alone Tonight * 12 C'est La Vie (Extended Version)


Whatever happened to Robbie Nevil?

Former songwriter for The Pointer Sisters and Earth, Wind & Fire among others; Nevil and his fashionably unkempt hair cut was all over MTV back in the late 80's as his debut disc rocketed to 37 on the American charts with no less than three top 40 singles.

The follow-up 'A Place Like This' while not nearly as successful, still gave him a respectable chart hit with the George Michael-ish 'Back On Holiday' and while his final 1991 album 'Day 1' failed both critically and commercially, I find it incredible talented people like Nevil are allowed to tumble into a pop music chasm, rarely to be heard from again.

The Songs

It's a tale repeated over and over again in 'the biz' but thank the gods we have what I consider one of the more interesting debut albums of 1986.

Like most connoisseurs at the time; the sultry video for 'C'est La Vie' was my first introduction to the music of Robbie Nevil although upon buying the album I was surprised to find a funky, hi-tech pop album full of colour, personality and charm.

'Just A Little Closer' kicks off the album and not all that surprising considering his soul pop background, there's a touch of Michael Jackson in Robbie's vocal style.

Not to fear it's all good and while the album from a production standpoint is very much a product of its time, it's the quality of the material and its percussive Caribbean vibe that tends to wash away a lot of the 'dated' after taste or at least I think so.

'Dominoes' was one of the albums chart burners, an up-tempo ditty recalling Hall & Oates and while 'Back To You' takes a softer atmospheric tone it's 'C'est La Vie' that shines as the record's best track.

Booming hooks, bursts of horns and massive miked-to-the-hilt drumming, it's classic overblown '80s pop but sounds great and deserved its number two spot on the Billboard charts.

'Wot's It to Ya' was the albums third single, another top 10 and was also released as a 12 inch dance track. I swear I remember this being used for a TV commercial at the time too, but for what product I can't recall.

With so many first class offerings, the album struggles near the end with 'Neighbors'; a quirky new wave bopper a few years too late and the wee-hours finale 'Look Who's Alone Tonight' once again bringing to mind Michael Jackson's impassioned balladry and hardly original.

In Summary

Yet despite the occasional weaknesses this is still a solid pop record and worth picking up as are his other two releases which are long out of print.

While Nevil hasn't disappeared entirely, still writing for other artists as well as projects for Disney, I think he had enough talent to become a major star had he gone beyond his deal with EMI. Oh, what might have been?

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