Friday, May 7, 2010

Champaign

Champaign are an interracial R&B\adult contemporary band whose members originally consisted of singers Pauli Carmen & Rena Jones, keyboardists Dana Walden & Michael Day, guitarist Howard Reeder, bassist Michael Reed and percussonist\drummer Rocky Maffitt from Champaign, Illinois.
In 1981, they released their debut album "How Bout Us?" which peaked at #53 on the Billboard 200 and #14 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The title song became a hit, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, topped Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart for two weeks and peaked at #4 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for 22 weeks. It also managed to reach the top 5 in the UK.
 The follow-up single "I'm on Fire" managed to peak at #73 on Billboard's Hot Soul Singles chart, staying on the chart for only 5 weeks.
In 1983, the band released their sophomore album "Modern Heart" which peaked at #64 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single "Try Again" became another pop hit for Champaign, peaking at #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, #6 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and #2 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 25 weeks.
The follow-up single "Let Your Body Rock" peaked at #62 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 7 weeks.
In 1984, Champaign released their third album, "Woman in Flames" which peaked at #184 on the Billboard 200 and #45 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.
The first single "Off and on Love" peaked at #10 on Billboard's Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 14 weeks.
The follow-up single from the album "This Time" peaked at #43 on Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart, staying on the chart for 12 weeks.

During the mid-80s, Pauli Carman left Champaign to start a solo career. He released two moderately successful solo albums. During that time, not much had been heard from Champaign throughout the rest of the 80s.
In 1991, Champaign released their last album to date, "Champaign IV" which failed to peak on the Billboard 200, but managed to peak at #72 on Billboard's R&B Albums chart.

The album was unsuccessful and the only single to chart was "Trials of the Heart" which only peaked at #64 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, staying on the chart for 8 weeks.

After that, it seemed as if Champaign faded into obscurity, but since 2008, the band has reformed with a new line-up featuring original lead vocalist Pauli Carman, vocalists Leah, Carma & Diana, guitarist Terry Richmond, bassist William Dale III, saxophonist Dean Knox and drummer Noel.

As for the original line-up, drummer Rocky Maffit continues to be active in the music business these days. and was reported to be working on a memoir.  Sadly in 2001, keyboardist Michael Day passed away from cancer. It's unknown what the other original members of the band are up to these days.

To see the official website for Champaign, go to:
http://www.champaignband.com

To see the music video for "How Bout Us," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBUqDr14DEw

To see a fan-made video for "I'm on Fire," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV_gRMtjBAs

To see a fan-made video for "Try Again," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pW269hoXys

To see a fan-made video for "Let Your Body Rock," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-wd3BpHST8

To see a fan-made video for "Off and On Love," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXV_-4a-VZs

To see the music video for "This Time," go to:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0quh5RDOLc

[Updated on 04\15\2016]

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