Flashback Friday – George Benson “Give Me The Night”

Cause there’s music in the air | And lots of lovin’ ev’rywhere | so give me the night.” – George Benson

On a Saturday afternoon in the fall of 1980, a young jazz lover went to Evergreen Plaza (aka Everblack Plaza) in Chicago and purchased his first album, George Benson’sGive Me The Night” and also a really fly cream-colored velour v-neck sweater. Fast forward 23 years, wow!! I still have the album and I am listening to it right now. As for the sweater, let’s just that time brings about a change in all of us. This album feels as new as did in 1980 and it is definitely one of my favorites. I was no stranger to Benson’s music as loved to play my dad’s copy of “Breezin” featuring the classic hit “Masquerade.”

The title track “Give Me The Night” and “Love X Love” were quite popular on the R&B radio stations while “Star Of The Story”, “Love Dance”, “Turn Out The Lamplight”, and “Midnight Love Affair” were a favorite of the late evening quiet storm formats. Benson’s soulful remake of “Moody’s Mood” introduced me to a woman I would later love, Patti Austin. His instrumentals “Dinorah, Dinorah” and “Off Broadway” showcased his masterful guitar playing. Benson is backed on this album by some of the finest musicians and vocalists of the day including George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Greg Phillinganes on keyboards, Lee Ritenour on guitar, Paulinho da Costa on percussion, and Diva Gray, Jocelyn Brown, Jim Gilstrap, and Patti Austin on backing vocals.

At the helm of all of this wonderful music was producer Quincy Jones who wrote this about Benson in the liner notes:

If George had never sung a note in his life, his guitar could have done his singing for him and certainly no one would have thought there was anything lacking. But sing he did, and on this record he shows that he is light years beyond being a guitar player who also sings.”

Give Me The Night” was also the debut album on Jones’ new record label, Qwest Records and won 3 Grammy Awards for Benson and Jones picked up a Grammy for his arrangement of “Dinorah, Dinorah.”

13 Responses to “Flashback Friday – George Benson “Give Me The Night””

  1. kevinrscott says:

    you know…growing up, it took me a while to realize that George Benson the singer was the same as George Benson the guitarist. i identified the ‘two georges’ by the music….years later i am happy to be able to know the TWO as ONE great musician.

    This is by far one of my favorite disks. Damn, you. Now, I wanna leave work early so I can go home and pop it in (if EJ has returned it). Oh, and his stuff with Masters At Work is genius, too.

  3. nakachi says:

    i’m ’bouta play it RIGHT NOW!
    that’s my jam.

  4. Tubba says:

    *rubs the fur of the cat the wrong way*
    I like Randy Crawford’s version, especially the Chill Night mix found at the end of her album Naked and True. Mm Mm Mmmm.
    all I’ll have to comment is..
    “badubbee doobie doobie doobie doobie doobie doo!”
    “ah-huh! ah-huh!”

  5. e j says:

    I do have to say that Randy did put her foot in it. And as quiet as it’s kept, I love that entire CD and actually purchased a copy of my own. I remember sitting in junior high loving his songs. Wow.

  6. j-notes says:

    Yes, ej and tubba, I enjoy and also have the Randy Crawford versions of “Give Me The Night.

  7. js says:

    My, oh my! I screamed when I saw that beloved album cover! A wonderful recording from an amazing artist. “Star of the Story” still makes me swoon. Good to see Greg Phillinganes name again. His keyboard playing can be found on many great recordings crossing all genres.

  8. DD says:

    George Benson is the MAN. “Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You” is the jam… 🙂

  9. bp says:

    I LOVE this album – Love X Love and Give me the Night are both hot, hot, hot! As for Randy’s version – this is about George, not about Randy. And I find it hard to put them in the same conversation anyway! BUT, George is the bomb and this album is one of his classics!!!

  10. Antonio G says:

    George Benson is wonderful — I’m still in love with his work on Mary J. Blige’s “Seven Days,” — I would have to say that’s when Mary J. Blige matured when it came to music.

  11. gwen says:

    Hee hee, ‘Give me the night’ was one of the first 45s I bought, and I would like to send a shout-out to the long-gone Musicland at Hilltop Mall and their rack of 99¢ singles. I miss those.

  12. Rick says:

    ‘Coming home has always joyed me….ain’t a place that I would rather be….I need 2 the heaven in your eyes.’ Just Turn out the Lamplight and dream for awhile. How I miss those days when dreams were so important to have, and to make come

  13. Nita says:

    I love George. I had just purchased “TheBest of Randy Crawford” so it’s really good to see this dialogue going on.

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