Shalamar is an American R&B and soul music vocal group active since the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s. Shalamar's classic line-up on the SOLAR label consisted of Howard Hewett, Jody Watley, and Jeffrey Daniel, together with dancer Jermaine Stewart. It was originally a disco-driven group created by Soul Train booking agent Dick Griffey and show creator and producer Don Cornelius. They went on to be an influential dance trio, masterminded by Cornelius. As noted in the British Hit Singles & Albums, they were regarded as fashion icons and trendsetters, and helped to introduce "body-popping" to the United Kingdom. Their name was created by Griffey.
The first hit credited to Shalamar was "Uptown Festival" , which was recorded at Ike & Tina Turner's studio Bolic Sound in 1976. It was released on Soul Train Records. Its success inspired Griffey and Don Cornelius to replace session singers with popular Soul Train dancers Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel, to join original Shalamar lead singer Gary Mumford. Gerald Brown took over the spot vacated by Mumford for the group's second album, Disco Gardens , which featured the hit "Take That to the Bank". After conflicts over lack of payment from Griffey and SOLAR , Brown left the group.Howard Hewett replaced Brown in 1979. The group was joined up with producer Leon Sylvers III in 1979, signed with SOLAR, and scored a US million seller with "The Second Time Around" . The "classic" lineup of Hewett, Watley and Daniel would be the most successful.
In the UK, the group had a string of hits with songs such as "Take That to the Bank" , "I Owe You One" , and songs from the Friends album: "I Can Make You Feel Good" , "A Night to Remember", "There It Is", and the title track "Friends". The album, which crossed the genres of pop, disco, and soul, was also a big seller in the UK in 1982. The band's record sales in the UK increased when Daniel demonstrated his body-popping dancing skills on BBC Television's music programme, Top of the Pops, which had premiered the moonwalk on television for the first time. Michael Jackson was a fan of Shalamar, particularly Daniel and his dance moves, after watching him on Soul Train. Jackson and Daniel met afterward, and Jackson took his then 12-year-old sister Janet to see Shalamar perform at Disneyland. Daniel and Jackson co-choreographed Jackson's "Bad" and "Smooth Criminal" videos from the album Bad .
The Hewett-Watley-Daniel lineup of Shalamar scored a total of five gold albums in the U.S.: Big Fun ; Three for Love , which eventually went Platinum; Friends , which also went Platinum; The Look and Heartbreak . In 1983, prior to the release of The Look, Watley and Daniel left Shalamar due to conflicts within the group as well as issues with Dick Griffey and SOLAR. Although The Look wasn't as successful as Friends had been the previous year, it still yielded a number of hit singles in the UK, including "Disappearing Act", the Grammy-nominated "Dead Giveaway", and "Over and Over", and featured more of a new wave/synth-pop sound than previous albums.
After Micki Free and Delisa Davis replaced Daniel and Watley in the group's lineup, Shalamar reached #17 on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Dancing in the Sheets", featured on the Footloose soundtrack album, and contributed "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills," written by Hewett, Free, and David "Hawk" Wolinski, to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, which won the 1985 Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special; the award was given to all 14 of the soundtrack's songwriters. Both "Dancing in the Sheets" and "Don't Get Stopped in Beverly Hills" were included on Shalamar's eighth album, the gold-selling Heartbreak, released in November 1984.
Hewett departed the group in 1985 to begin a solo career. Sydney Justin took over as lead vocalist for Circumstantial Evidence , coproduced by Babyface and L.A. Reid, and Wake Up , Shalamar's final pair of albums before they disbanded.