Our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list looks at a legendary r&b singer. If you are a fan of r&b music, you have probably heard his classic jams at least once. Alexander O’Neal has 11 Top 40 hits in his career. He has 37 singles. He sings songs about losing and finding love. He has one platinum selling album and four gold albums. Some of his singles include “Fake,” “If You Were Here Tonight,” “Criticize,” “All True Man,” “Sunshine,” “What’s Missing” as well as others. He didn’t have an easy road to popularity because he had to compete with other male singers such as Babyface, Luther Vandross, Freddie Jackson, Peabo Bryson, Keith Washington, Christopher Williams, Keith Sweat, Johnny Gill, Al B. Sure!, Bobby Brown, Kashif, Jeffrey Osborne, Glenn Jones, New Edition, Prince, Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder as well as others. He faced personal demons which could have kept him from performing, but he overcame them.
Alexander O’Neal was born on November 15, 1953. He performed with several bands in the beginning of his career. He was in a band called Enterprise for a while and then joined the band Flyte Tyme. This is a decision that would help change his life. The band included Jam & Lewis and Monte Moir. He was supposed to be the lead singer in the group The Time, but he had an argument with Prince. The argument led to him being fired from the group. He kept in touch with Jam & Lewis, and they wanted to help him get a record deal. On the road to his solo career, he sang back up for the S.O.S. Band and Cherrelle.
Alexander O’Neal released his eponymous album was released in 1985. The album peaked at number 21 on the r&b charts and 92 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Innocent,” “If You Were Here Tonight,” “A Broken Heart Can Mend,” “What’s Missing” and “You Were Meant to Be My Lady (Not My Girl).” The album went gold. He would achieve greater fame with his next album. Hearsay was released in 1987. The album peaked at number two on the r&b charts and number 29 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “Fake”, “Criticize,” “Never Knew Love Like This,” “The Lovers,” “(What Can I Say) To Make You Love Me,” “Hearsay 89” and “Sunshine.” The album sold over three million copies. All True Man came out in 1991. The album peaked at number three on the r&b charts and number 49 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “All True Man” and “What is This Thing Called Love?” Love Makes No Sense came out in 1993. The album peaked at number 18 on the r&b charts and number 89 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “In the Middle,” “Love Makes No Sense,” “All That Matters to Me” and “What a Wonderful World.”
Lovers Again was released in 1996. The album features the single “Baby, Come to Me.” Saga of a Married Man came out in 2002. “You’re Gonna Miss Me,” “I’m There” and “Married Man.” Alex Loves… was released in 2008. This is a standards album. The singles on this album are “Secret Lovers,” “Unbreak My Heart” and “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Five Questions: The New Journey was released 2010. The album features the singles “I Found True Love,” “You Make Me Smile,” “It’s Your Night Tonight” and “Love Don’t Love Nobody.”
Alexander O’Neal has a lot of hits throughout his career. He missed an opportunity to be in The Time, but he was able to achieve solo success. He was hit with personal demons, but he was determined not to give up on his music career. Our list is a chance to give him the celebration he deserves. Our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list will feature his best songs.
# 10 – The Lovers
The first song on our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list is “The Lovers” from the album Hearsay. The song has an r&b beat. The reassuring song is about holding on to love. She is feeling insecure about love, and he lets her know that he’s going to be there for her. He will make her feel special. He assures her that love will always win in the end. He tries passionately to convince her to be with him. If you’re one of those people who is insecure about love, this song’s for you. This is the type of track that is written to put a smile on the faces of people who need one.
As soon as the music starts, you know this is a Jam & Lewis production. The melody is similar to “Never Knew Love Like This.” The tempo is slowed down, but there’s no mistaking the similarities between the songs. The production on the song is sleek. The music is bouncy and fits with the theme. You will be hooked to the beat as soon as it starts. Alexander O’Neal makes you believe that he will be there for you. He tries to seduce you with his voice. His tone is perfect for the beat. He sings the song in a persuasive way without sounding like he’s begging you to be with him.
# 9 – Innocent
The next song on our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list is “Innocent” from his eponymous album. The track has an r&b, funk and soul album. The adoring song is about a man looking for a woman who hasn’t been around. He doesn’t want to be with a woman who has been with a lot of men. He desires a woman who is “innocent.” He thinks he’s found the one he wants, but she isn’t sure she wants to be with him. She always turns him down when he wants to go out with her. He tries his best to convince her to give him a chance. She’s being coy with him because she doesn’t want to be with a guy with a reputation.
The music is reminiscent of The Time’s song “Get it Up.” In case you didn’t know, Jam & Lewis used to be members of the funk group The Time You can hear snippets of The Time’s jam throughout “Innocent.” The synths are lifted from “Get It Up.” The guitar solo is spectacular. The track has the classic r&b sound. It will make you get up and dance. This jam is something that can still get people moving today. Alexander O’Neal has exactly what it takes to pull the song off. He tests his versatility by singing in a lower key. Alexander O’Neal’s vocals are almost similar to Charlie Wilson. Cherrelle is singing the female’s part in the song. She can match the key of the keyboard without her voice breaking.
# 8 – Sunshine
The confessional is from the album Hearsay. The song has an r&b, funk and soul sound. The dreamy song is about confessing his love for the woman in his life. She is his “sunshine”, and he can’t live his life without her. She helps him get through his dark days. She supports him when he needs it. The woman he loves makes his life better. He can’t go a day without her because she completes him. Every man wants a woman in his life who can bring him “sunshine” on a dark and cloudy day. Men need to have supportive women in their lives to make them feel better. If you have a “sunshine” in your life, this is the song you should dedicate to her.
This is the first slow jam on our list. The music for this song is incredible. The melody is similar to New Edition’s song “Can You Stand the Rain.” The keyboard sounds sensual and seductive. This is the jam you can play for the bedroom. The music is exactly what you will hear on Quiet Storm radio. In fact, this song can still be heard on Quiet Storm radio today. Alexander O’Neal has the perfect voice for ballads. He is right at home romancing the ladies. Ladies love to hear a romantic slow jam so this is just the type of song that will make them happy. Hearing Alexander O’Neal sing these romantic lyrics, will drive women crazy. His smoky vocals are flawless. His phrasing is impeccable. He sings the vocals in a seductive way that would turn any woman on while he’s singing. This jam has a lot of radio airplay, but it was a bigger hit in the U.K. This is one of the songs that most of Alexander O’Neal’s fans love to hear.
# 7 – If You Were Here Tonight
The sorrowful song is from his eponymous album. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The melancholy song is about a relationship ending. He wishes she were with him tonight. He is lonely and needs the woman he loves back in his life. He misses her everyday and needs her to come home. He lets her know that he would love her if she stays. He didn’t want the relationship to end. He longs for her to come back to him. He knows that things went wrong in their relationship, but he wants to make them right. He wants her to understand how much he loves her. Their relationship wasn’t supposed to end.
The melody of the song sounds like our previous entry “Sunshine.” This jam is another ballad on our list. The song is smooth r&b at its finest. This sounds like something from Jam & Lewis’ playbook. You might be surprised to find out that they didn’t write this song. The songwriter has a similar writing style to the dream team. Monte Moir was a keyboardist for The Time so he worked with Jam & Lewis. Monte Moir also wrote Janet Jackson’s “Pleasure Principle.” He worked with Patti Austin and Thelma Houston. Alexander O’Neal has enough soul to bring these lyrics to life. He makes you feel the lyrics he’s singing. He belts out the chorus as if he’s screaming out to the woman to take him back. She would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by his vocals.
# 6 – All True Man
The comforting song is from the album of the same name. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The sentimental song is about being there for someone he loves. He wants to help her when she’s down. If she needs a strong and sensitive man, he will be the one she needs. He will give her anything she needs. He will be the one who treats her right. He loves her and wants to show her that he’s the man who will be there for her. No matter what she’s going through, he’s up for the challenge. Women want men in their lives who will help them when they are in need. He wants to be that man for her.
The song is his version of Ralph Tresvant’s song “Sensitivity.” Jam & Lewis wrote both songs so it’s not a surprise the themes are similar. If you listen to the music, the tempo is a little slower than “Sensitivity,” but they sound alike. The music is a midtempo jam, but you can move around to it. The song is classic r&b mixed with funk. The snare drums are fantastic. You can expect to hear snare drums in a Jam & Lewis track. The funky bassline makes the song stand out. Alexander O’Neal’s voice sounds impeccable. He sounds like he’s singing from the heart. He makes you believe that he will be there for you. He belts in the song, and he sounds soulful doing it.
# 5 – Fake
The next song on our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list is “Fake” from the album Hearsay. The song has an r&b and funk sound. The angry song is self-explanatory. The song is about a woman who is being fake. She never tells him the truth about anything. He always finds out something new about her. He can’t trust her because she’s a “fake.” The woman changes her identity and her look every chance she gets. She calls him by other men’s names. This sounds like the plot of a movie about deception. This is something that you haven’t heard before. Singers usually talk about falling in and out of love. They don’t usually talk about someone scamming people.
“Fake” has a dominating groove that will hit you like a truck. It has a sizzling synthesizer bass that sells the music. Terry Lewis provided the electrifying bass that will drive music fans crazy. The drumbeat is phenomenal. The music is just what clubgoers need to get on the dancefloor. The song channels Prince and The Time. This isn’t targeted to female listeners, but they can still enjoy it. This song is for the men, but women can enjoy the beat. Alexander O’Neal sings this song with a lot of aggression. He sounds angry on the track. He stays in character throughout the song. He makes you believe that he’s been fooled and doesn’t want to take it anymore. He convinced the listeners because this is one of his biggest hits.
# 4 – Saturday Love Cherrelle ft. Alexander O’Neal
The devotional song is from the album High Priority. The song has an r&b beat. The reminiscent song is about a couple who think about their time together. The spark is ignited once they see each other again. They haven’t seen each other in a long time. They thought they would be together forever until they broke up. They agree that they had the best time on Saturdays. It was the best day for them to get together. They believe their “Saturday Love” will never end. If you read our Top 10 Cherrelle Songs list, you know this track made an appearance on our list. This is a song that is popular for Alexander O’Neal as well so we had to include it on this list too.
Once you hear the hand claps and the days of the week, you know what this song is. The chant of the days of the week has become popular on classic r&b radio. This song still gets heavy rotation on r&b stations. Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle have incredible vocal chemistry with each other even when they aren’t singing love songs together. This song isn’t technically about love, but they make you believe they love each other. This is a testament to how talented they are. They can make you believe anything is true. Their voices were made to sing together. Their back and forth with each other is like vocal gold.
# 3 – Never Knew Love Like This
The amorous song is from the album Hearsay. The song has an r&b beat. The tenderhearted song is about a couple who love each other. They had to deal with people who treated them badly before and finally found people who care about them. The are expressing how they feel about finding love again. Being with each other made them realize they didn’t know love before they met each other. It’s a beautiful feeling to find a love that is like no other. Anyone who has ever been in love will enjoy listening to them talk about being in love. You might find yourself nodding along in agreement with the singers. This is another song that appeared on our Top 10 Cherrelle Songs list.
The hypnotic music will drive you crazy. Jam & Lewis know how to produce a song that delivers. The music is just as fantastic as their lyrics. The snare drums sound like the instrument used in Janet Jackson’s songs. This song could have easily been on the Rhythm Nation 1814 album. This could have been a track that was meant for that album. The song was recorded years ago, but it still gets played on the radio. The track will never get old. The classic gem is timeless. The song is easy to sing along with too. Alexander O’Neal and Cherrelle sing this song in a way that will make you want to sing along with them. “Never Knew Love Like This” is the track that you might find yourself singing while it’s on the radio. They sound magnificent together. They belt throughout the song.
# 2 – What’s Missing
The bitter song is from his eponymous album. The song has an r&b and funk beat. The questionable song is about how love can go from good to bad in the blink of an eye. Things were great time at the start of their relationship, but things took a bad turn. He lets her know that their love was good, but he wants to find out “what’s missing” from their relationship. He wants to know what it would take to fix things between them. He doesn’t want to see their relationship end even though the finish line is near. He wants to save their relationship.
There aren’t enough words to describe how great this song is. Jam & Lewis‘ production on this track is flawless. They created a fantastic beat for this song. We challenge you to get through this song without moving around to it. We think you will lose the challenge. Like the rest of Jam & Lewis‘ songs, this sounds like their other hit songs. One song you might notice is “Diamonds” by Herb Alpert. The drumbeat in the songs sound like each other. We couldn’t find a better singer for this song than Alexander O’Neal. His voice is perfect for this track. He sings in the right key for the beat. You can tell he is enjoying himself on this song. He reaches for the stars. You will most likely join him and sing along with him. You might lose control while you are singing it. This song is something you might want to keep playing so it won’t have to end.
# 1 – Criticize
The number one song on our Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs list is “Criticize” from the Hearsay album. The song has an r&b and funk sound. The nagging song is about a man who is tired of his lover criticizing everything about him. She nags him about everything. He goes into detail about the things she criticizes about him. She never stops going in on him about what he does wrong. He wants a break from the noise. Men can probably relate to this song if their girlfriends/wives nag them. They probably want to cheer him on as he begs his lady to leave him alone. This is an anthem for men. Women have anthems to listen to and this is the one for guys to enjoy.
This song is incredible. The music is flawless. It’s very upbeat and energetic. The song is easy to dance to because the beat is infectious. The snare drums are a highlight of the song. The keyboard is sizzling. The musicians deserve applause for creating this funky jam. Alexander O’Neal’s vocals are strong on this track. He sings this song as if there’s someone out there who nags him the way the woman does in this song. He pours his heart out while he’s singing about what she does to him. You are in for a treat when he starts belting the chorus as well as the bridge. Singer Lisa Keith (from “Making Love in the Rain” fame) sings the background of this track. She does an excellent job supporting Alexander O’Neal. Their voices complement each other very well on this song.
Feature Photo: Andrew Hurley, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Alexander O’Neal Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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