Bodies and Souls

1983 – Atlantic



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Bodies And Souls, released in September 1983, was the first Manhattan Tranfer album to have an impact on the Rhythm & Blues charts. In the fall of 1983, “Spice of Life” climbed to #32 on Billboard’s R&B chart, while hitting #40 on the Pop chart. The song was writen by Rod Temperton & Derek Bramble and features a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder. In Spring of 1985, “Mystery” (also written by Rod Temperton) hit #80 on the R&B chart and #102 on the Pop chart. Frankie Valli makes a special guest appearance on the song “American Pop.” The song “Why Not!” earned the group another Grammy for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group.”

“We teamed up with producer Dick Rudolph,” says Alan. The album took The Manhattan Transfer into somewhat of a different direction, or as Tim described it, “it encompasses a revised style of our music.” In an interview with the group shortly after the album’s release, Cheryl felt that the making of Bodies and Souls was “a growing experience for the group, which resulted in a stronger unit.” Alan felt the same way. “It took longer than we anticipated, due to the group’s inner struggle to maintain perfection in our work,” he said, adding, “It was a great growth experience for the group.” Tim said, “We worked a lot longer on this album than any previous album. It’s finally out and the thrill is so great because of the hours, the energy and emotions that were spent to create a product that gave all of us such satisfaction.”

A few things worth mentioning about Bodies And Souls. Janis points out that there were “lots of interesting collaborations – Stevie Wonder, Rod Temperton, Jeremy Lubbock.” The first single, “Spice Of Life,” was a hit on both the R & B chart (#32) and on the Pop chart (#40). It featured the distinctive harmonica solo of Stevie Wonder. Also appearing as a guest artist on the album was Frankie Valli, who sang on “American Pop.” “I love Dick Rudolph’s choice of guest singers and writers who worked on the album. I still get a warm feeling when I remember working in the studio with the great Stevie Wonder and the legendary Frankie Valli,” said Cheryl in an interview after the album’s release. Another track, “Mystery,” also hit on both charts, ranking at #80 on R & B and #102 on the Pop chart. Alan wrote two songs on the album, “Malaise En Malaisie” and “Code of Ethics.” Even so, he says today that Bodies And Souls is “Not one of my favorite albums, but we won a Grammy for ‘Why Not!’ (Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group).” And speaking of the song, Janis adds “Cheryl and I did a ridiculous outtake of ‘Why Not!'”

Comments 1

  1. Spice of Life – Beautiful composition, the delivery, lyrics & smooth harmonic vocals all encapsulate the joy this song produces. Enhanced even further by the way Stevie comes in with the harmonica; so clear, precise and sweet it collectively leaves you wanting more and more. You can’t sit still & listen to this. Even if I was physically restrained, I’d still be grooving on the dance floor of my mind. It is so edifying. Essentially & typically a gorgeous, warm, uplifting song. Endogenous, soulful, Manhattan Transfer. Here’s a thought …. Amoeba to this? No way! There is a God, & we have all been blessed.

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