Alexander O’Neal
15 November 1953, Natchez, Mississippi, USA. O’Neal was one of the best-known soul crooners of the late 80s. In 1978, he joined Flyte Tyme with future producers Jimmy Jam And Terry Lewis. The group (as Time) became the backing band for Prince, although O’Neal was soon dismissed for insubordination. During the early 80s, he began a solo career as a vocalist, making his first recordings with Jam and Lewis producing in 1984. The resulting album was issued by the local Tabu label, and contained R&B hits with ‘A Broken Heart Can Mend’, ‘Innocent’ (a duet with Cherrelle) and ‘If You Were Here Tonight’. The latter reached the UK Top 20 in 1986, after Cherrelle’s ‘Saturday Love’ (which featured O’Neal) had been an even bigger success there. His career was interrupted by treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, but O’Neal broke through to the mainstream US audience in 1987/8 with his second album and the singles ‘Fake’, ‘Criticize’ and ‘Never Knew Love Like This’, another collaboration with Cherrelle. He remained very popular in the UK with live performances (including a Prince’s Trust concert) and a BBC Television special, and ‘Criticize’ reaching the Top 5. When, in 1991, O’Neal released his first album of new material for three years, it went straight into the UK Top 5. Jam and Lewis were again the producers. O’Neal’s popularity steadily waned during the mid-to-late 90s, and by the time of 1996’s Lovers Again (released in America in 1998) he was no longer working with Jam And Lewis. After an extended hiatus from the recording scene, O’Neal returned in 2002 with Saga Of A Married Man.

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