This is a singer who definitely added some sparkle to the chart in the mid-80s. Birmingham born-Jaki Graham is someone who I know that my sister was fond of at the time, and that’s no surprise really because she made a lot of great singles, and most of them did well, meaning that for a year or two at least she was a fairly big name on the UK pop music scene.
After being tipped to do well, Jaki first had success in March 1985 with “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love”, a duet with David Grant, which became her first Top Ten hit single. And then in June 1985, “Round And Round” went on to become her second, and I would have to say that this is my favourite single of hers. In September 1985, the first of her ten albums “Heaven Knows” was released, but this didn’t make the Top 40.
Jaki finished off her successful 1985 with “Mated”, which was another duet with David Grant, because, well, it worked the first time, so why not again, and this was a Top 20 hit too. Going into 1986, Jaki had three more great hit singles with “Set Me Free” (her final Top Ten single), “Breaking Away”, and “Step Right Up”, along with her second album “Breaking Away” making the Top 30.
All of these songs were up to standard, and two years on from her debut, Jaki had now established herself as a great soul voice. But then… that was it. Jaki had no more Top 40 hit singles. After a break in 1987, she did have a minor hit in July 1988, and another in June 1989, when “From Now On” made only no. 73. Jaki was then absent from the chart for about five years.
When she did return (I presume that this could be classed as a “comeback”, although I don’t know how long you have to go between hits for them to go from being a follow-up to a “comeback”) in July 1994 with a cover of “Ain’t Nobody” (a song that has been a hit for several acts over the years). Jaki then had two more minor hits in 1995, but a decade on from her peak, she really did conclude her chart career for good at this point, and she is still on the nostalgia circuit.
And this is my final entry in the “Down The Dumper” series. Although more pop music pieces are planned, they will be about something else. It is a surprise to realise just how quickly some acts fell out of favour rather unfairly, it is a familiar story that has repeated several times over the decades. I hope that I have brought back some memories and shared some interesting stories.