Our top 10 The Brand New Heavies songs list presents ten of the best songs released by a London-based band known for its amalgam of acid jazz with urbane ‘70s funk grooves. Inspired by The Meters and James Brown, school buddies Jan Kincaid, Simon Bartholomew, and Andrew Levy established the band as an instrumental unit in 1985. Initially, the band went under the moniker Brothers International only to take up a new name, The Brand New Heavies, a while later. The Brand New Heavies boasts of an emphatic music career, remaining on the airwaves since its first studio album in 1990. While the band has endured for over thirty years, the ‘90s remain its most definitive moment in the music scene.
The Brand New Heavies’ Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After successfully entering the London club scene, The Brand New Heavies went on to sign a recording contract with Cooltempo Records, an imprint of Chrysalis Records. The record label has once been home to other reputable artists including Milli Vanilli, Mica Paris, Kenny Thomas, and Shara Nelson. Under Cooltempo Records, the band recorded its debut single “Got to Give” in 1988, featuring Jay Ella Ruth on the vocals.
The Brand New Heavies’ big break came in 1990 after the band signed to the fledging Acid Jazz Records. In the same year, The Brand New Heavies issued its debut eponymous album, which catapulted the band into mainstream and commercial success. The album featured some of the best The Brand New Heavies songs including “Dream Come True,” “Stay This Way,” and “Never Stop.” The Brand New Heavies featured the impressive N’Dea Davenport on the vocals. The album was Silver-certified in the UK, rising to position twenty-five on the UK Albums Chart.
The Brand New Heavies’ Album Releases over the Years
The Brand New Heavies gave the band a perfect start in the acid jazz music scene. The band would later return in 1992 with its sophomore album, Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol.1. Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, saw the band explore an amalgam of acid jazz, funk, and hip-hop sonic influences. The album finds the band collaborating with reputable artists including Masta Ace, Main Source, The Pharcyde, Gang Starr, Kool G. Rap, and Ed O.G. among others. Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, was the band’s first album to make it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number forty-nine. The album is home to musical gems including “Bonafied Funk,” “Soul Flower,” and “Death Threat.”
In 1994, The Brand New Heavies released its most successful album to date, Brother Sister. Brother Sister is the band’s highest-charting album, peaking at number four on the UK Albums Chart and number ninety-five on the Billboard 200. The album is home to some of the best The Brand New Heavies songs including “Dream On Dreamer,” “Spend Some Time,” “Brother Sister,” “Back to Love,” and a cover of Maria Muldaur’s hit “Midnight at the Oasis.” Brother Sister went on to become The Brand New Heavies’ first Platinum-certified release in the UK.
The band returned in 1997 with its fourth studio album, Shelter. Shelter marked The Brand New Heavies’ second album to be Platinum-certified in the UK after it became a commercial success. The album saw the band blend acid jazz and funk tunes. Shelter managed to rise to position one hundred and eighteen on the Billboard 200, peaking at the fifth spot on the UK Albums Chart. “Sometimes,” “You Are the Universe,” and a cover of Carole King’s 1971 hit “You’ve Got a Friend.”
After a rather passive fifth studio album, We Won’t Stop, issued in 2003, The Brand New Heavies issued two albums, Allaboutthefunk in 2004 and Get Used to It in 2006. Allaboutthefunk boasts of acid jazz/funk classics including “Boogie” and “Surrender.” On the other hand, We Won’t Stop, is home to some of the best The Brand New Heavies songs including “Let’s Do It Again” and a cover of Stevie Wonder’s hit “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You).” The band later released four studio albums including Dunk Your Trunk in 2011, Forward in 2013, Sweet Freaks in 2014, and TBNH in 2019. Forward and TBNH are the only albums to make it to the charts amongst the last four albums by the band.
The Brand New Heavies’ Accolades and Legacy
The Brand New Heavies lacks a huge catalog of awards to account for its successful run in the music scene. However, the band remains one of the most significant acid jazz outfits in the UK. Together with D’Influence, Incognito, and Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies helped maintain acid jazz in the UK mainstream, especially in the ‘90s. Here we present the ten best The Brand New Heavies songs of all time.
# 10 – Saturday Nite ft. Carleen Anderson
Opening our top 10 The Brand New Heavies songs list is the dazzling hit “Saturday Nite.” The song was issued on the 1999 compilation album Trunk Funk – The Best of The Brand New Heavies. “Saturday Nite” features the vocals of Carleen Anderson, who is also renowned as a member of the acid jazz band Young Disciples. The song sampled “Got to Give It Up,” a 1977 hit by the legendary Marvin Gaye.
“Saturday Nite” brings the true glitter of Carleen Anderson’s vocals. In this hit, Carleen blends crunchy upper-range and infectious blues-influenced mid-range vocals. The song was a success on the charts, peaking at number five on the UK R&B Singles Charts, and thirty-fifth on the UK Singles Chart. “Saturday Nite” was remixed in 2000 with this version featuring the American rapper Mos Def.
# 9 – I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)
In 1968, Stevie Wonder released the successful soul/pop hit “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You) featuring it on the album For Once in My Life. At the time of this song’s release, Stevie Wonder was just eighteen. However, his vocal abilities were already monumental, telling of a young teenager who seemed to be changing the trajectory of soul, R&B, and pop music. David Ruffin was among the first artists to cover this masterpiece in 1969 followed by The Jackson 5 in 1970.
The Rolling Stones would in 1975 feature their cover of this hit on the album, Metamorphosis. Thelma Houston, Yami Bolo, and John Mellencamp followed suit, each delivering an impressive rendition of the song. The Brand New Heavies would bring back the thrill of this 1968 hit in 2006 after releasing its cover on the album, Get Used to It. “I Don’t Know Why (I Love You)” by The Brand New Heavies became an instant hit, peaking at number twelve on the UK R&B Songs Chart. The song also made it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number one hundred and eighty-eight. This was the band’s last charting hit on the UK charts.
# 8 – You Are The Universe
Coming in at number eight on our ten best songs by The Brand New Heavies is the stunning hit “You Are the Universe. The song was penned by Andrew Levy and Siedah Garrett and featured on the band’s third studio album, Shelter. “You Are the Universe” blends the band’s usual acid jazz influences featuring a funky soul that makes it a perfect club hit. The song made it to number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart, settling for the third spot on the UK R&B Singles Chart. “You Are the Universe” was covered by Full Flava featuring CeCe Peniston.
# 7 – Spend Some Time
“Spend Some Time” is one of the musical gems released by The Brand New Heavies on the album, Brother Sister. The song features some groovy acid jazz sound blended with some disco/funky melodies. N’Dea Davenport’s vocals on this song stand out proving her significant role in the success of the band’s musical pursuits. “Spend Some Time” went on to peak at number eight on the UK R&B Singles Chart.
It also made it to the twenty-sixth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “Spend Some Time” sampled the 1991 hit “Together Forever” by Lisette Melendez. In 1994 Brothers in Rhythm released a club mix to the song while the duo Ritchie Malone and Sam Mollison released a piano mix to the hit “Spend Some Time.”
# 6 – You’ve Got a Friend
Number six on our top 10 The Brand New Heavies songs list is the outstanding hit “You’ve Got a Friend.” Initially, the song was released by Carole King in 1971 and featured on her album, Tapestry. The Brand New Heavies took this soft rock jam and transformed it into one of their best covers, featuring heavily some acid jazz and house sonic influences. “You’ve Got a Friend” by The Brand New Heavies is featured on the band’s album, Shelter.
The song was a success on the charts, peaking at number nine on the UK Singles Chart. Other notable artists who have released a cover to the 1971 Carole King hit “You’ve Got a Friend” include Dusty Springfield, Michael Jackson, Al Green, James Taylor, Anita Bryant, Donny Hathaway, and Ella Fitzgerald.
# 5 – Dream Come True
In 1990, The Brand New Heavies released the hit “Dream Come True,” featuring it soon after on its debut eponymous studio album. The first time the song was issued, it became The Brand New Heavies’ first song to make it to the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart. After reissuing the song the following year, The Brand New Heavies saw “Dream Come True” rise to number forty-two on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart.
The song would also rise to the UK Singles Chart for the first time, peaking at number twenty-four. English DJ and house music producer Joey Negro released two remix versions of this hit in 1992. “Dream Come True” was among the first songs by the band to receive major airplay on MTV in the early ‘90s.
#4 – Stay This Way
We return to the band’s eponymous debut studio album, home to the fourth pick of our top 10 The Brand New Heavies songs “Stay This Way.” Like “Dream Come True,” “Stay This Way” managed to receive massive airplay on MTV, helping the band earn a cult following in the US. The song was the band’s first hit to make it to the German Singles Chart, peaking at number eighty-eight.
“Stay This way” also made it to the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles Chart, peaking at number nineteen. The song was a success in the UK, peaking at number forty on the UK Singles Chart. “Stay This Way” was remixed by the Scottish producer/DJ duo Slam and the American DJ David Morales.
# 3 – Sometimes
The third pick on our ten best songs by The Brand New Heavies is the brilliant hit “Sometimes.” “Sometimes” is featured on the band’s fourth and Platinum-certified album, Shelter. The song sampled the 1972 hit “Jungle Fever” by the Belgium-based vocal group The Chakachas. “Sometimes” was a commercial success in the UK where it was Silver-certified. Siedah Garrett takes on the lead vocals on this hit.
The song peaked at number three on the UK R&B Singles Chart, rising to number eleven on the UK Singles Chart. “Sometimes” is the last song by The Brand New Heavies to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number eighty-eight. The song also made it to the Canadian, Scottish, and New Zealand Singles Charts.
# 2 – Dream on Dreamer
“Dream on Dreamer” is an infectious acid jazz/funk musical gem from the band’s third LP, Brother Sister. The song brings out the flexibility of vocalist N’Dea Davenport. “Dream on Dreamer” has been lauded by critics and fans of the band for its luscious instrumental which saw it become the most sought-after hit on the band’s third LP. “Dream on Dreamer” was a success on the charts, peaking at number fifteen on the UK Singles Chart.
The song also made it to number nineteen on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Dream on Dreamer” was the second song by the band to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number fifty-one. The song was nominated for the Best R&B Video accolade at the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards ceremony. However, it lost to “Whatta Man” by Salt-N-Pepa with En Vogue. Other songs that were nominated for the award include “Breathe Again” by Toni Braxton and “Bump n’ Grind” by R. Kelly.
#1- Never Stop
Number one on our top 10 The Brand New Heavies songs list is the alluring hit “Never Stop.” The song is featured on the band’s debut eponymous studio album. “Never Stop” was the band’s first song to make it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number forty-three. Additionally, the song was the band’s first song to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number fifty-four.
“Never Stop” rose to become the band’s signature song almost imminently in 1991. The song was covered by 8 Bit Arcade, Paris Match, and Chipper. “Never Stop” has been sampled in multiple songs including “Too Funky” by George Michael and “Poppa Large” by Ultramagnetic MC’s.
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