This 1987 album was a comeback for former 60’s singer Ronnie Spector, this is mid 80’s studio overkill and is pitched at radio friendly pop rock.
Written by: gdmonline
ARTIST: Ronnie Spector
ALBUM: Unfinished Business
SERIAL: BFC 40620
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Ronnie Spector – lead vocals *
Doug Worthington, Jimmy Vivino, Bruce Kulick, Tommy Rotella – guitars * Kenny Aaronson, Seth Glass, Will Lee – bass * Gregg Mangiafico – keyboards * Danny Lewis – keyboards, trumpet, backing vocals * Peter Scherer – synclavier * Douglas Berlent – piano synth programming, co-production * Paul Shaffer – organ, piano and organ arrangements * Kenny White – piano * David Prater, Jerry Marotta, Thommy Price, Michael Dawe, Anton Fig – drums
Kasim Sulton – tambourine, wind chimes * Robert Stern, Rick De Pofi – sax * Russ Palamino – alto and tenor sax * Larry Sarello – trombone * Eddie Money, Bob Christianson, Peppy Castro, Margaret Dorn, Desmond Child, Susanna Hoffs, Ada Dyer, Deva Gray, Janie Barnet, Lonie Groves, Janice Pendarvis – backing vocals * Ralph Schuckett, Desmond Child and Rouge, David Wolfert. – arrangements * Alan Gordon, Diane Warren, Desmond Child, Billy Steinberg, Tom Kelly, Dennis Linde, Gregory Abbott, Don Dixon, Gerard McMahon, David Palmer, Philip Jost – lyrics
TRACK LISTING: 01 Who Can Sleep * 02 Love On A Rooftop * 03 Dangerous * 04 Burnin’ Love * 05 Unfinished Business * 06 (If I Could) Walk Away * 07 Heart Song * 08 True To You * 09 When We Danced * 10 Good Love Is Hard To Find
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Ronnie Spector (her stage name, real name Veronica) is well known from the 60’s as part of the singing trio called The Ronettes alongside her sister and cousin. Splitting in 1967, Ronnie Spector continued on in the industry and formed an alliance with noted record producer Phil Spector who eventually became her husband for a period of 6 years between 1968 and 1974.
It was a tumultuous time for her because the couple ended up adopting three kids which effectively put a hold on Ronnie’s musical career during that time. It wasn’t until she was able to escape the clutches of her husband who was a bit of an obsessive maniac in 1972 that things began to repair. By the late 70’s Ronnie Spector had moved to a solo career that saw the release of four albums over the space of four decades. The first was the 1980 album ‘Siren’, followed up by this one ‘Unfinished Business’ in 1987 and that’s the one we will concentrate on for this article.
During 1986, Ronnie hooked up with AOR legend Eddie Money for the track ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ in which she shares the co-lead vocal. That song made it to number 4 on the Billboard charts and was a regular fixture on MTV. It reignited her career and resulted in this album being released by Columbia Records. Judging by the assembled cast, it looks like a boatload of money was thrown at this record.
The studio musicians lined up here is a who’s who of the New York recording scene back in the mid 80’s. The songs were contributed by many well-known songwriting figures in the industry including Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly, Dianne Warren, Desmond Child, and Gerard McMahon, among others.
Musically, it’s all about studio bound AOR, leading off with the radio friendly ‘Who Can Sleep’ with Ronnie and Eddie Money reprising their 1986 combination a second time around. ‘Love On A Rooftop’ is a Dianne Warren and Desmond Child co write that exhibits warmth throughout especially with the sultry sax in the background.
‘Dangerous’ is the Steinberg/Kelly tune which has been covered by Jim Jidhed on his 1990 solo album ‘Jim’. This one is much lighter and poppier. ‘Burnin’ Love’ is of course a cover of Elvis’ hit track, given a modern synthpop veneer sounding nothing at all like the original.
‘Unfinished Business’ is a track written by soul/funk exponent Gregory Abbott. Some of you might remember his 1986 breakout hit ‘Shake You Down’. For this version, it’s basically Ronnie and a backline of synths. Abbott would also release this track on his second album ‘I’ll Prove It To You’ during 1988. ‘(If I Could) Walk Away’ was written by Don Dixon, better known as the bassist of North Carolina power pop rockers Arrogance.
This sounds very mild, in the vein of Jennifer Rush. ‘Heart Song’ is the anthem song on the album, I can imagine Ronnie singing this one on a clifftop somewhere with a huge backing choir. ‘True To You’ with its song title sounds like a CCM track, and this is reinforced by the strong backing vocals shining through.
‘When We Danced’ is the poignant ballad on the album, it was surprisingly cowritten by former Steely Dan and Wha Koo alumni David Palmer along with keyboardist Phil Jost who was previously with early 70’s rockers Jake Jones. Both guys also co-wrote the song ‘She’s My Baby (And She’s So Outta Control)’ for the 1982 soundtrack ‘Fast Times At Ridgemont High’.
‘Good Love Is Hard To Find’ is the last track and comes over as a fun-filled affair where R&B and pop collide unceremoniously. Think Huey Lewis The News with female lead vocals.
The album was recorded in three sessions with three producers. Michael Young (refer Lori Chacko) did tracks 1, 3, 4 and 5. Desmond Child did track 2 while Gary Klein did tracks 6-10. Released in May 1987, the album featured two singles, ‘Who Can Sleep’ in April 87 and ‘Love On A Rooftop’ which followed in August 87.
Thankful for the opportunity, ‘Unfinished Business’ was not a roaring success however, and that would be it as far as Columbia Records was concerned. Ronnie Spector still maintained a low key profile with two further efforts (2006 and 2016) plus a 1999 EP ‘She Talks To Rainbows’.
An interesting woman, we could not conclude this review without mentioning Ronnie’s former husband Phil Spector. If you aren’t familiar with his history, he has led a sad tale of woe in terms of the women that he’s been involved with over the years. This culminated in his arrest for a 2003 shooting murder in which he was convicted for a life sentence in 2009, and in prison he remains. Click here for further reading.
Love On A Rooftop
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