Wipe Off The Dust: 'Lonely' No More, Recalling Val Young

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"If You Should Ever Be Lonely" is one of THE best songs of the 80's that you've probably never heard, or heard and thought [insert 70's and 80's singing diva of your choice here] did it. And no you crazy Lambs, Mariah Carey didn't do this song first...Never do some realize (even myself, at one point) who Val Young is, and what a fantastic song her biggest single is. You'll find out, and soon...and you'll thank me later. 

Young was a subsidiary project of the late Rick James back in 1985 when her debut album, Seduction was released. Young was another addition to the James' protege camp, that at the time was rivaling with Prince's spin-off tribe, with the inclusion of the Mary Jane Girls and Teena Marie. Young had previously been apart of George Clinton's Brides of Funkenstein where James got wind of her. He dubbed her the "Black Marilyn Monroe" (only a few sistas can rock a stark blonde 'do) and got her signed to Motown. Young's sound got high chart positions in the R&B/Hip-Hop and Dance charts, as the title track reached #7 and "If You Should Ever Be Lonely" got the #1 mark, but she didn't chart in the Hot 100. To me, "If You Should Ever Be Lonely" had every right to be a massive crossover pop hit especially since it embodied lots of electric guitars and a driving rock-pop beat. It favors on a slight Pat Benetar vibe or Madonna during her Chic-Like A Virgin days, and strangely on Seduction it's the oddball song that sounds less influenced by Rick James. Still there is no telling what effect the song would've had if it had entered the pop charts, especially on Young's career. The song is also oftly ignored on those 80's countdown lists, which is understandable, but it has every right to be there ready to knock off the repeated finds of Toni Basil's "Mickey" and Culture Club's "Karma Chameleon". 

Young's Motown reign ends with 1986's Private Conversations, the last solo effort and one that was poorly received. There is a rumor that the album contained tracks that were meant for the proposed third Mary Jane Girls album, (similarly called Conversations) that never saw the light of day. Talk about messy. It's also music nerdery knowledge that the Girls and Young dissolved from the charts due to the troubles that Rick James' had with Motown around that time. Talk about double messy. After her solo career stalled, Young's voice has been lent to numerous back-up gigs, especially a bushel of rap collaborations, including some with 2Pac and Nas. Still she's always known for "If You Should Ever Be Lonely", and it's a great song to be associated with.

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