This Thursday, I’m bringing a true throwback to the turntable. Millenials like myself may not be familiar with this LP, but their parents probably are. If you grew up in a black family in the 90s, it is possible that you’re familiar with the hit song from Patrice Rushen’s Straight from the Heart, “Forget Me Nots.”
Maybe you’re not familiar with the title, “Forget Me Nots,” but if you hear the song you’ll recognize it immediately, and probably start dancing. I’ve always known this song but didn’t figure out the title or who made the song until early this year. This is also the song in the background of the first video I’ve seen of young internet sensation, Jay Versace.
Accompanied with an impeccable groove and an infectious bassline, “Forget Me Nots” was extremely popular when it released in 1982 and climbed to #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, #4 in R&B and #2 in Dance. Straight from the Heart was also Rushen’s most successful album of her career.
I personally didn’t own this record, rather I picked it out from my parent’s vast collection after I figured out the song and what album it came from. Then I listened to the album, and though this was before my time, this album resonated with me heavily.
Patrice Rushen makes the type of music that influences my taste today, which is mostly centered around dance/funk/soul/groove type sounds. I also learned that not only is Rushen a vocalist, but she is a multi-instrumentalist who produces and arranges all her music as well, which always impresses me.
Aside from her smash single, Rushen keeps that groovy, funky vibe throughout the record and proves she can also slow it down like in “Where There Is Love,” “If Only,” and even a little in “Remind Me,” which has been sampled by the likes of Mary J. Blige, Grandmaster Flash, Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Aaliyah.
What impressed me the most about this record was probably the very last song (on the LP version), “(She Will) Take You Down To Love.” It’s a very mellow song with island vibes, backed by smooth guitar riffs, similar to something Sade would make.
There is no question Patrice Rushen is very talented and well accomplished, but I feel as though she was underappreciated as an artist. How come I knew about Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and Pattie Labelle, but not her? My dad told me she was mostly known for her musical arrangements, which makes sense. Something a lot of people may not know is that Rushen was the musical director for the Grammy’s three years in a row (2004-06). This Thursday I wanted to honor a somewhat hidden talent and an artist who will go down as one of the greats in R&B and Dance music. Spin Straight from the Heart below via Spotify: