Although I want to continue my Down The Dumper series, I thought I’d also start to look back at some musical acts who had a very brief moment of fame, having just the one hit single. I’ll pick out some of my favourites from various decades, because whether they were a chart-topper or missed the Top 40, they’ve all come from somewhere and have a story to tell, and it’s disappointing that they didn’t have further success. I’ll start off with this one from the 80s.
Now I do enjoy a good mystery. I don’t remember this one from first time round, but I became a fan when I heard it on the radio, and I wanted to find out more about the group, but there is almost nothing at all about Royalle Delite (not to be confused with Deee-Lite) online, and I started to wonder if they actually ever existed at all. Firstly, the actual song. I’ve always enjoyed soul music from the mid-80s, and this really does contain everything that I like, including a noise that has been compared to “chattering teeth”, plus lots of buzzy keyboards and plenty of bass, “I’ll Be A Freak For You” was five excellent minutes. I’m not sure if I’ve described it that well, so to really experience it, have a listen for yourself.
It seems that the song had been around for about a year when it was released in the UK in September 1985, and it eventually reached no. 45 and spent seven weeks in the Top 100. They did manage to gain a little publicity at the time, including being reviewed by Record Mirror, feeling that it was something of a disco floorfiller. It was also reviewed in Number One by Ursula Kenny, who said…
It seems that it was also played rather a lot on pirate radio, and they were often grouped with the likes of The SOS Band and Lisa Lisa who were also big on the soul scene at the time. But who exactly were they? They’re surprisingly elusive. They have no Wikipedia entry, there seems to have been no music video made, and there are no TV performances on YouTube either, even their biography in the Official Charts books is rather brief and vague. The only proof of their existence is the picture of them on the sleeve which at least reveals that they were an all-female quartet, long before Destiny’s Child came along.
But the story doesn’t end there. At the start of 1986, their second single “Spend A Little Time With Me” was released, but this wasn’t a hit. The sleeve features two members instead of four. Did two quit, or are these two totally different women from the original line-up? The back promotes the opportunity to join the Royalle Delite fan club, although I doubt that a huge amount of people took up the offer unfortunately.
However, in January 1986 they were interviewed in Record Mirror, where it is revealed that they were called “Porsha and Parris”, and they were American, from Brooklyn to be precise. It seems that they might have then made one more song called “I’ll Come When You Call”, but that’s it. I’m not aware of an album, but they can’t have literally recorded only three songs, that’s all there is out there though.
The legacy of “I’ll Be A Freak For You” is that it was covered by Lindy Layton (of “Dub Be Good To Me” fame) in 1992, but it wasn’t a hit, and there were a few remixes released around 1996. Whoever they were, I’m very grateful to them, as this is one of my favourite singles from the mid-80s. Anybody who does have any more information on them is welcome to let me know.