The ‘80s: Lillo Thomas

Lillo ThomasLillo Thomas had a sound that was synonymous with the 1980s.  His funky, syncopated, melodic grooves and silky smooth voice kept music listeners jamming from the early to the latter part of the decade.  Thomas is a native of Brooklyn, New York and like many artists, began singing in church.  Fun Fact: As a teenager, Thomas was a track star and qualified for the U.S. Olympic Games in 1984.

Lillo Thomas 2After building a reputation as a session singer with artists ranging from Melba Moore, Kashif, George Benson, and James Ingram, Thomas signed a deal with Capitol Records and released his 1983 debut album Let Me Be Yours, which included the tunes “(You’re A) Good Girl,” “Trust Me,” and a cover of the Temptations classic “Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me).” Let Me Be Yours peaked at #23 on the R&B chart and led way to Thomas’ sophomore release, All Of You, which included the single “Settle Down,” a tune which struck a chord with the U.K. audience and increased Thomas’ popularity across the pond. It was during this time that Thomas hit the road selling out tours in Europe, Brazil, and the U.S., including a 64-city tour as the opening act for comedian Eddie Murphy.

Thomas’ 1987 album would prove to be the pinnacle of his commercial success.  Simply titled Lillo, it included the single “Downtown,” which peaked at #11 on the R&B chart, and the singles “I’m In Love,” “Sexy Girl,” and the ballad “Wanna Make Love (All Night Long).” All three songs hit the Top Ten on the R&B chart and helped the album catapult to the Top Ten on the R&B Albums chart as well. These days, Thomas continues to record and perform.  He released the album Come and Get It in 2010 and regularly performs in Europe, where he enjoys a large cult following, as well as in the states.

—Montrose Cunningham

Montrose Cunningham is a Dallas, Texas-based, independent funk/rock/soul artist and devoted music aficionado, with a Master of Science degree in Marketing. When he isn’t digging through the crates–digital and analog–he’s jamming with his band or hanging with his daughters, sometimes at the same time. Purchase his release Inertia at www.cdbaby.com/cd/montrose, follow him on Twitter @MontroseC and check out his blog, Daddy Rock Star.

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