Reggie Calloway

Producer, writer, and one of the founding members for Midnight Star, Reggie Calloway grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. His father was a trumpet player, his aunt sang opera, and his uncle played keyboards. As a child, he pecked out tunes on his grandmother's piano. As a teen, Calloway began writing songs and formed his first bands. While attending Kentucky State University, he picked fellow students to form the band Midnight Star in the mid-'70s. The lineup was Reggie Calloway on flute, trumpet, and percussion; Vincent Calloway on trombone, trumpet, and percussion; Bo Watson on lead vocals and keyboards; Belinda Lipscomb on lead vocals; Melvin Gantry on lead vocals; Jeffrey Cooper on lead guitar and keyboards; Kenneth Gant on bass and vocals; Boby Lovelace on drums; and Walter Simmons on saxophone, keyboards, and percussion. They began performing around Ohio and Kentucky. Moving to New York, the band began to build a strong reputation. Based on this word of mouth, Dick Griffey signed the band to his Los Angeles, CA-based Solar Records. Their first two LPs for the label were Standing Together (1981) and Victory (1982).

Their third LP, No Parking on the Dance Floor, was the career maker, selling over two million copies, parking at number two R&B for ten weeks in summer 1983. The LP's singles were "Freak-A-Zoid" (number two R&B for four weeks), "Wet My Whistle" (number eight R&B), and "No Parking on the Dance Floor."

Reggie Calloway produced and co-wrote the group's "Operator" with Bo Watson and Belinda Lipscomb. The funky track, which features an actual telephone operator, held the number one R&B spot for five weeks in late 1984. It was included on the gold LP Planetary Invasion, which peaked at number seven R&B in late 1984. Their next album Headlines went gold, going to number seven R&B in summer 1986 and was bolstered by the singles "Headlines" (number three R&B), "Midas Touch" (number seven R&B), and "Engine No.9," not to be confused with the Wilson Pickett hit (number 11 R&B). Their self-titled album Midnight Star hit number 14 R&B in fall 1988 and listed "Don't Rock the Boat" featuring Ecstacy of Whodini, a number three R&B hit in fall 1988, and "Snake in the Grass," a number ten R&B hit in late 1988.

In 1988, Reggie Calloway's manager Shep Gordon suggested that he work with another client of his, Teddy Pendergrass. After meeting with Pendergrass to see if they could work together and to see if he could still sing after being involved in an auto accident on March 18, 1982, that left the singer as a quadriplegic. Based on that meeting, Calloway co-wrote "Joy" with Joel Davis and Vincent. The mid-tempo groover held the number one R&B spot for two weeks in summer 1988.

Reggie and Vincent began doing outside production for other Solar acts: Klymaxx's "Meeting in the Ladies Room," the Whispers and the Deele (which included future mega-producers LA and Babyface), as well as Natalie Cole (Everlasting). The brothers left Midnight Star to concentrate on songwriting and production. Forming the duo Calloway ,they had a gold smash with "I Wanna Be Rich" (number five R&B, number two pop in late 1989) and issued two Solar albums, All The Way (1990, with "I Want to Be Rich") and Let's Get Smooth (1992, with "Let's Get Smooth").

Reggie Calloway-related releases are Soul Survivors: The Best of Gladys Knight & the Pips 1973-1988, Keepin' Dah Funk Alive by Bootsy Collins, Levert's The Big Throwdown, and Pieces of a Dream's Goodbye Manhattan. ~ Ed Hogan

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