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Through It All

Bill Champlin

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Album Review

On his third solo album, Burn Down the Night (1992), Bill Champlin made a far more personal and serious statement than he had on his two more commercially oriented efforts from a decade or more earlier. Through It All, following two years later, seemed to split the difference. On the one hand, Champlin deliberately looked back to his days of the late '70s and early '80s, when he was spending his time in Los Angeles recording studios as a background singer and getting his songs covered by a variety of performers. At the album's outset, he took back for his own his compositions "I Must Have Been a Fool," initially cut by Al Jarreau on his 1988 album Heart's Horizon, and "Turn Your Love Around," a Top Five hit for George Benson in 1981-1982 that won Champlin his second Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song. Later, he presented a new version of "In the Heat of the Night," the 1967 movie title song written by Quincy Jones and Alan and Marilyn Bergman, which he had been heard singing week after week on the 1988-1994 TV series (making it probably his best-known vocal performance even if, as usual, most people didn't know it was him). Elsewhere, however, he continued with some of the more socially conscious music he had performed on Burn Down the Night, particularly "Proud of Our Blindness," the lengthy "Sound of the Rain" (an attack on televangelists), and the caustic album closer, "Light Up the Candles." He also found room for some effective ballads, however, notably the melodic title song, which was easy to imagine as an adult contemporary hit, if it had the right promotion. On a limited budget, he used fewer extra musicians than on previous albums and relied more heavily on synthesizers (for example, no drummer was credited). But that didn't keep him from turning out a quality effort.

Biography

Born: 21 May 1947 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer/songwriter/keyboard player/guitarist Bill Champlin has been a rock journeyman in a career dating back to the 1960s. Starting in 1966, Champlin was the pivotal figure in a San Francisco-based group called the Sons of Champlin that existed and made records off and on for over a decade without gaining a great deal of notice. In 1981, Champlin became a member of Chicago, with whom he has recorded and toured ever since, while releasing the occasional solo album, sometimes only in Japan. He scored...
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Through It All, Bill Champlin
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