Our Top 10 Surface Songs list looks at a popular r&b group from the 80s and 90s. They are known for their love songs. They know how to write and record love songs that stand the test of time. During the group’s heyday, the members were Bernard Jackson (bassist and singer), David Townsend (guitarist and keyboardist) and David Conley (bass guitar, percussion, saxophone, flute and keyboardist). Their hits include “All I Want Is You,” The First Time,” “Shower Me with Your Love,” “Happy,” “Closer Than Friends,” “You Are My Everything” as well as other hit songs. Surface were able to achieve hit songs while competing against acts such as Atlantic Starr, Midnight Star, Lionel Richie, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, Force M.D.s, Levert, Ready for the World, New Edition, DeBarge, Hi-Five, Guy, The Whispers, Luther Vandross and Loose Ends.
Surface was formed in 1983. The members included David Townsend, David Conley, Everette Collins and Karen Copeland. David Townsend and David Conley wrote songs for other artists such as New Edition and Sister Sledge. After they found success as writers, they decided to form their own group. They wanted to record their own music. Karen Copeland was dating David Conley at the time they were working together. When they broke up she left the group. The guys met Bernard Jackson and they wanted to work with him. The guys had trouble finding another female lead singer so they asked Bernard Jackson to pick up the mic.
They released their eponymous album in 1986. It peaked at number 11 on the r&b charts and number 55 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Lately,” “Happy” and “Let’s Try Again.” 2nd Wave came out in 1988. The album peaked at number five on the r&b charts and number 56 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “I Missed,” “Closer Than Friend,” “Shower Me with Your Love,” “You Are My Everything” and “Can We Spend Some Time.” The album sold over one million copies.
3 Deep came out in 1990. It peaked at number 19 on the r&b charts and number 65 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “The First Time,” “All I Want Is You,” “Never Gonna Let You Down” and “You’re the One.” The album sold over 500,000 copies. Love Zone came out in 1998. The album features the singles “Love Zone,” “You’re My Lady” and “Falling in Love.”
Surface was a popular r&b group during the height of their fame. They may not have achieved crossover status the way they should have, but they did leave their mark on r&b music. Some of their hits are r&b staples to this day. Our Top 10 Surface Songs list will feature their best songs.
# 10 – All I Want Is You
The first song on our Top 10 Surface Songs list is “All I Want Is You” from the album 3 Deep. The song has an r&b beat. The passionate song is about the way he feels about the woman he loves. He talks about how she touched his heart immediately. He is head over heels in love with her. This is a story about love at first sight. He fell in love with her instantly and he wants her badly. She is the best thing that happened to him. He is in love with her and will never forget about her. She is the woman for him. He was able to see early that she’s the woman for him.
Fans of music will always hear love songs on the radio. Singers record love songs all the time. It’s a subject that will never get old. Surface is right at home talking about this subject. “All I Want Is You” is a smooth slow grind classic. This is something you can hear while you’re cuddling up with your lover. Let the music define how your night will go. If you want to get down on your knee and propose to the person you love, this song is the one to use for that purpose. Bernard Jackson’s vocals are extraordinary. He sings the song with raw emotion. He makes you believe he’s in love with the woman in the song. Regina Belle is a great addition to the song. She sings in the background of the track.
# 9 – Can We Spend Some Time
The next song on our Top 10 Surface Songs list is “Can We Spend Some Time” from the album 2nd Wave. The track has an r&b beat. The pleading song is about a man who wants to spend time with his woman. He wants to ask her out. The woman he’s attracted to has walls up because she gets asked out all the time. He knows she’s tired of men hitting on her. He wants to spend time getting to know her. He believes if she spends time with him, she will see what a good guy he is. She is the type of woman every other woman wants to be. She is the woman of every man’s dreams. He loves her and wants her to see that. He wants her to give him a chance.
Women love to hear songs about men asking them out. A lot of male r&b groups have that one singer who talks to the listeners with a sexy voice. He talks about what he plans to do to her if he gets her alone. Surface is no different from the other groups. “Can We Spend Some Time” is different though because he doesn’t want to just jump into bed with her. He wants to take the time to get to know her. There aren’t too many songs where they want to just get to know women. They talk about making love to them. It was a refreshing change to hear a song about wanting to get to know a person. Bernard Jackson’s smooth voice is just what we needed. He sings the song in a calm way. It will be enough to drive women crazy.
# 8 – Lately
The persistent song is from their eponymous album. The song has an r&b beat. The eager song is about a man who wants a woman to give him a chance. He tries his best to convince her to be with him. He tells her sweet nothings about how she makes him feel. He dreams about her every night. The feelings came over him out of the blue. He wants her to look into his eyes so she could see how much he wants to be with her. The goal is for her to see that he won’t lie to her. He is the real deal. He won’t hurt her. He only wants to love her. She is one of a kind and he wants her to be his lady.
Surface knew the right songs to record to make women feel special. They stop at nothing to make you feel loved. The lyrics to this song will make you feel loved. They find an enticing way to convince a nonbeliever that she’s loved. You would have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the touching lyrics. Their sweet words will find a way to melt your heart. If a woman hears these lyrics, she will most likely change her mind and get together with you. The music is similar to their other love songs. You may find yourself thinking of their other songs while this is playing.
Surface always manages to deliver when it comes to the instrumentation in their songs. Bernard Jackson’s voice and the group’s instrumentation are the perfect match. He knows what to do to control his vocals while the rest of the group plays sexy music. Bernard Jackson sounds like he’s channeling another Jackson. He sounds like Michael Jackson on this song. He also sounds like David Lewis from Atlantic Starr.
# 7 – Let’s Try Again
The persuasive song is from their eponymous album. The track has an r&b beat. This track is a song about reconciliation. He wants to get back together with someone. They didn’t make it and they broke up. He gave their relationship some thought and realized that he missed her too much to let her go. He believes they were meant to be together. He promises he will make things better for them. He’s not the same when he’s not with her. He’s lonely and his heart is broken. The best thing for them to do is to start over. When they broke up she said that she would always love him. He hopes that she still feels that way.
Surface record songs about being in love. This song is on the same realm of love. It talks about the other side of love. Now the group wants to talk about reconciling. This subject gives them a chance to be reflective on a relationship. The lyrics go into detail about how hurt a man is because he lost the woman he loves. You will know the pain that’s being discussed if you have been in the same position.
You might be nodding your head in agreement while Bernard Jackson talks about trying to get the woman he loves back in his life. The music is breathtaking. The beat is appealing. It sounds upbeat like it would be for a couple in love and not for a couple trying to get back together. “Let’s Try Again” gives Bernard Jackson a chance to stretch his vocal chops. He reaches high notes that you might not expect him to perform on the song. He gets an A+ for effort on this song.
# 6 – Never Gonna Let You Down
The promising song is from the album 3 Deep. The banger has an r&b sound to it. A man wants his woman to know that he will be there for her. He will never let her down. He promises that he will always fulfill her every need. She may be used to men treating her as an afterthought, but he’s a different type of man. He will value her as if she were a priceless heirloom. He treats her like she’s gold. If she needs him, she can call his name. He’s there if she needs a friend. This magnificent jam will make you want a man like the one in the song. All women want a man who won’t let them down. This track will give you hope that someone will always be there for you.
The lyrics are uplifting. They tell a remarkable tale of hope. The lyrics don’t come across as corny. They sound optimistic that they will always be there for the person they love. The lyrics are universal. They don’t necessarily have to be about a romantic relationship. Bernard Jackson does say a couple of lines that indicate it’s romantic, but this song could be dedicated to a family member or a friend. This song is for anyone who needs to hear it. This song deserves a chance to be recognized for the beautiful song that it is. The music is soft and soothing. It’s simple and that’s all it needs.
The song features the keyboard and the drums. It will make your heart jump for joy. Bernard Jackson could sing the alphabet and make it sound good. He doesn’t do any vocal mechanics. He sings the song straight. He does a few runs, but he keeps it simple. He sounds more sincere without doing any vocal tricks. He sings the song in a way that will remind you of their hit “Shower Me with Your Love.” He channels his inner Michael Jackson, Howard Hewett and David Lewis.
# 5 – Closer Than Friends
The next song on our Top 10 Surface Songs list is “Closer Than Friends” from the album 2nd Wave. The song has an r&b beat. The hopeful song is about a man who wants to be more than friends with someone. He has played the friend role, but it’s time for their relationship to move to the next level. He can’t continue to stand on the sidelines and watch her be with someone else. He wants to be the one standing by her side. He doesn’t want to rush her. He wants her to know that he will be there when she’s ready to take that leap of faith. He wants to be “closer than friends.”
He doesn’t want to put all his cards on the table by telling what he feels. He does want her to know that his feelings are getting stronger. If a woman hears these lyrics, they won’t want to stay friends for very long because they will want more. It’s hard to find a man who is romantic like this so there’s no way she wouldn’t change her mind about where she wants the relationship to go. Love songs like this one don’t come around often. You don’t hear too many songs about someone who wants to be more than friends so this song is what we needed. It’s a pleasant surprise to hear about a man trying to win a woman’s affection. He’s even willing to put his love aside and be friends with her if that’s what she wants. This hit song helps define Surface as a quintessential r&b group.
# 4 – Happy
The joyful song is from their eponymous album. The song has an r&b beat. The song is self-explanatory. It tells a story about a man who is “happy” with the love of his life. He expresses how happy she makes him. He never thought he would find anyone like her. She makes him feel hypnotized because of what she does for him. He professes that he will never love anyone else but her. She makes him happy. He’s convinced she was sent from up above and makes his life better. She makes his life better by being in it. He believes she’s all he needs to be “happy.” He doesn’t need anyone else in his life because she’s the one who makes him “happy.”
This is one of Surface’s signature songs so it’s hard to believe they didn’t record it first. Hi-Tension recorded the song a couple of years before they did. Most fans recognize Surface’s version of the track. Surface wrote the song, but Hi-Tension recorded it first. Surface’s version is a little slower than Hi-Tension’s version. The music is upbeat and will put a smile on your face. Bernard Jackson’s vocals are so inviting that you can’t help singing along with him. He sounds like he’s smiling on the track and it’s contagious. The only problem is the talking in the bridge section. The talking could have hit the cutting room floor, but it doesn’t hurt the song.
# 3 – You Are My Everything
The encouraging song is from the album 2nd Wave. The song has an r&b beat. A man is thankful to have someone to help him go on with his life. When he is feeling down and nothing is going his way, she is there for him to lift him up and give him courage to go on another day. He’s happy when he sees her. He is reminded how lucky he is to have her by his side when he needs someone. She’s always there when he needs a friend to talk to. She gives him tough love when he needs it. When he needs someone to hold him she is there for him. She never asks for anything in return. He wants to show her how much he loves her because she deserves it.
This warm song has a mix of r&b with a hint of jazz. The music is great to hear on a rough day. It will calm your nerves because the beat is soothing. When you hear the first bars you will be enchanted. It may make you want to ask someone to dance. The musicians do an excellent job on the music. The drums are a good touch because it gives the song tempo. You can slow dance to this song with your lover. Bernard Jackson sounds vulnerable on this track. He stays in character throughout the song. He makes you believe that he’s enamored with her for being there when he needs her. It’s nice to hear a man sing about how happy his woman makes him. It will put a smile on your face. Regina Belle is along for the ride once again. Their voices sound so great together. They should record more songs together.
# 2 – Shower Me with Your Love
“Shower Me with Your Love” is from the 2nd Wave album and has an r&b beat. The dreamy song is about a man who dreams about a woman in his life. He wants to have her in his life. His heart is open for love and he wants to fall in love with someone. He doesn’t want to be alone. Most of us don’t want to be alone so we hope to find someone to love. He prays that his wish comes true and that the woman he loves will fall in love with him too. He will continue to dream about her until she becomes his love. He believes in fairy tales so he is hopeful that she will be with him.
He lowers the walls as he talks about showering his lover with love. This song will speak to anyone who has ever been in love. Everyone who has dreamed about falling in love with the ones they care about will understand this song. The song is told from a man’s point of view, but women can relate to the song too. Women dream about getting the men of their dreams. The story teaches you about biding your time and being patient. If you believe in love, it will happen for you. You are manifesting your love to come to you. Surface tell a deep story about getting the women of their dreams. This song was recorded decades ago, but it remains on the radio today. This is a timeless tale about love. “Shower Me with Your Love” will never be old. It’s a song that you never get tired of hearing. Bernard Jackson is the highlight of the track. His voice will reel you in from beginning to end. He can captivate the listeners with his smooth and tender vocals. His runs are crisp and clean. He holds little notes in the song. This song could have been number one, but we had to toss a coin to decide the top spot.
# 1 – The First Time
The number one song on our Top 10 Surface Songs list is “The First Time” from the album 3 Deep. The song has an r&b beat. The reminiscent song is about a man thinking back on his past relationship. He remembers how they first met. The narrator talks a walk down memory lane and thinks about happy times. He thinks about how he felt when he first fell in love with her. He recalls the joy he felt when he looked into her eyes. He was so moved that he started to cry. As the song progresses, we learn about his feelings for her. He loves her more than he did when he saw her for “the first time.” He wonders if she remembers when they met “the first time.”
If you were to think of Surface’s songs, will this one be one of the first to pop up? It would be a shock if it weren’t on your list. This song has everything it needs to be a masterpiece. The music is sensational and hypnotic. It will stir up emotions inside of you that you might not know you had. The music will be great to walk down the aisle to at a wedding. You can picture a beautiful bride walking down the aisle while Surface serenades her. If you weren’t a fan of Surface before, this song will make you a fan of their music. This is one of the best songs in their catalog. Bernard Jackson does some of his best vocal work on this jam. He holds notes towards the end of the song that are impressive. His smooth vocals will make you wish this song could go on forever.
Top 10 Surface Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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