Out of New Jersey, P.M. Dawn was first founded in 1988 by brothers, Attrell and Jarrett Cordes. Fans may recognize Attrell better as Prince Be and Jarrett as DJ Minutemix. Prior to starting their own band that would blend a mix of genre music, the career path of Attrell began as a dj for parties where his younger brother, Jarrett, followed. Starting in 1991, through the Gee Street record label, the duo officially began their recording career as P.M. Dawn. Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience became was the title of the debut album, which became a platinum-selling success, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It was also certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Music Canada.
P.M. Dawn’s Run
While with Gee Street’s label, P.M. Dawn released a total of five studio albums, four of which came out between 1991 to 1998. However, the momentum came to a screeching halt in 1998 when the news story of Jarrett got out that he sexually abused his fourteen-year-old cousin. By the time the fifth album was released in 2000, P.M. Dawn’s name was already tarnished, so the sales were poor. This, plus the scandal, ultimately led Jarrett off of the P.M. Dawn band roster. He was replaced by Gregory Lewis Carr II, the brothers’ first cousin.
In 2005, older brother Attrell suffered a massive stroke that rendered him paralyzed on the left side. It was around this timing it was discovered he had diabetes, one that would lead to his death on June 17, 2016. This put an official end to the original P.M. Dawn. Carr, as well as his recruit, K.R.O.K. continued with the name of P.M. Dawn as of 2018, but that was a short-lived attempt at best. In addition to the five studio albums, P.M. Dawn also has four compilation albums to their name, as well as nineteen singles.
Top 10 P.M. Dawn Songs
#10 – You Got Me Floatin’
In 1993, the tribute album, Stone Free: A Tribute to Jimi Hendrix,” featured the single, “You Got Me Floatin’,” covered by P.M. Dawn. Although the single only charted in Australia, which peaked at number forty-three, the jazzier, psychedelic performance performed by the Cordes brothers made it one of the most respected tracks on the album.
# 9 – I Had No Right
In 1998, Dearest Christian, I’m So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad, became the final studio album recording before the death of Attrell Cordes, which occurred that same year. The album was released on October 27, 1998, which was four months after Cordes’ death. The piano rich ballad, “I Had No Right,” was a number forty-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and a number ninety-seven hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was the final single to chart in P.M. Dawn’s name, which seemed to serve as an eerie farewell by Attrell, as well as one of the best lyrical performances ever credited to the band.
#8 – A Watcher’s Point of View (Don’t ‘Cha Think)
On the US Billboard Dance Music/Club chart in 1991, “A Watcher’s Point of View (Don’t ‘Cha Think)” became a number forty-four hit, as well as a number thirty-six hit on the UK Singles Chart. This was the first single from P.M. Dawn’s debut album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience. Edgy and funky with nostalgia-style pop that beats retro from start to finish, A Watcher’s Point of View featured sample music from Feelin’ Down Farther from the Doobie Brothers, which also added to the overall appeal of the song.
#7 – The Ways of the Wind
In 1993, “The Ways of the Wind” became P.M. Dawn’s hit single from the group’s second studio album, The Bliss Album…? This easy-listening, rhythmic song was considerably more popular in Canada as it peaked as high as number twenty-four on its chart while it was a number fifty-four hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. Adding to this fast-paced song shared melodic similarities to some of Spandau Ballet’s music, along with a hint of Prince’s lyrical genius.
#6 – Downtown Venus
Using sample music from Deep Purple’s 1968 hit, “Hush,” the rap-meets-psychedelic single, Downtown Venus, was performed by P.M. Dawn in their third studio album, Jesus Wept. The single and the album were released in 1995, mainly targeting the adult alternative audience as opposed to the mainstream pop charts. On the charts, at best, “Downtown Venus,” received mediocre success as it peaked as high as number forty three on the Canadian Singles chart and at number forty-eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. In the UK, the single charted at number forty-eight and in Australia at number seventy-eight.
#5 – Gotta Be…Movin’ on Up (featuring Ky-Mani)
From the 1998 comedy, Senseless, “Gotta Be…Movin’ on Up” was a collaborated single that featured P.M. Dawn performing with Jamaican talent, Ky-Mani. With hip-hop meeting reggae, the song became a huge hit in Australia as it charted as high as number thirteen and became certified gold by the Australia Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Across the European nations, Gotta Be…Movin’ on Up also appeared on the music charts belonging to Belgium at number twelve, France at number eighteen, and at number sixty-eight in the UK. In New Zealand, the single climbed up to number twenty-three on its chart.
#4 – Paper Doll
From the debut album, Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, “Paper Doll” became its third official hit on the music charts. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song peaked at number twenty-eight, a number thirty-one hit on the Canadian Singles Chart, and a number forty-nine hit on the UK Singles Chart. With music classified as the hip-hop alternative to the brilliance behind Prince’s music style, Paper Doll served as P.M. Dawn’s statement that Attrell and Jarrett both possessed a world-class talent that deserved to be where they were as stars.
#3 – I’d Die Without You
“I’d Die Without You” was the second single from P.M. Dawn that peaked within the top ten of the US Billboard Hot 100 when it climbed up to number three in 1992. This beautifully rhythmic ballad came from the Boomerang soundtrack, as well as from the group’s second studio album, The Bliss Album…? On the Europe Dance chart, I’d Die Without You charted at number fifteen, and it was a number eighty-four hit on the Eurochart Hot 100 as a sensual, slow-dance favorite. It also earned a gold certification by USA’s RIAA for having over 500,000 copies sold.
#2 – Looking Through Patient Eyes
From P.M. Dawn’s second studio album, “Looking Through Patient Eyes” made reference to Joni Mitchell’s single, Help Me, as well as used sampled music from George Michael’s Father Figure. The deep-voiced lyrical performance, combined with the gentle, yet romantic, rap style, made this song a favorite among fans and critics alike. In 1993, on the Canadian music charts, the song peaked at number one while on the US Billboard it climbed as high as number six. Among the nations of Denmark, Iceland, and Portugal, Looking Through Patient Eyes was a top ten hit, whereas with the nations of Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the UK it was a top twenty hit. On the Eurochart Hot 100, the single charted at number thirty-four.
#1 – Set Adrift on Memory Bliss
The breakthrough single for P.M. Dawn was “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss,” which came out in 1991 as the debut album’s second single. This hypnotic hip-hop track used sample music from Spandau Ballet’s singles, “True,” “The Soul Searchers,” and “Ashley’s Roadtrip.” It also used the Bob James cover version of Paul Simon’s Take Me to the Mardi Gras. On the US Billboard Hot 100 and European Hot 100 Singles, Set Adrift on Memory Bliss peaked at the top, and it was also a number one hit in Canada, New Zealand, and the UK. Among the majority of the nations, it was a top ten hit on their respective music charts. With ARIA, the single was certified gold, as well as with USA’s RIAA.
Photo: Alexandra Lee, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 P.M. Dawn Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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