Shake You Down – Gregory Abbott (Shake You Down, 1986)
Now a mere footnote in music history, it’s hard to remember a time where Gregory Abbott took the pop and R&B charts by storm on his debut album with this, his debut single, dominating playlists for half-a-year. It went straight to #1 on both charts and was in every dentist office nationwide. While he’s been relegated to bargain bins and one-hit wonder status, in 1986 the sky was the limit.
The song itself was a great amalgamation of Marvin Gaye vocal approach (listen to ‘Sexual Healing’ and hear the resemblance), Stevie Wonder touches (the friendly harmonica) and 80’s production craft (the synthesizer work).
What made this tune stand out for me, however, was the chorus. I loved how passionate he’d get when he sang “you know you did!” with the reassuring background singers set it off into pop orbit. As a young pre-teen I bought this on 45 and loved every second of it. The spoken word bit was great and then he starts singing scat-style before giving us one last fantastic chorus while working “eeny meany miney moo”into his hook! It was totally absurd in the best way possible. At least for one song Mr. Abbott you read our minds about what a great song should sound like, and for that we salute you.