The late 1980s brought a few gems from the past back into vogue – like the classic song Lean on Me by Club Nouveau.
Written by Bill Withers, Lean on Me was released by the singer/songwriter as the first single from his second album Still Bill in 1972. It was his first and only number one single.
In the wake of the break-up of Timex Social Club, producer/singer Jay King formed Club Nouveau, mixing pop and swing to focus on a new vocally-driven sound to the ’80s pop sounds.
Singers Valerie Watson, Samuelle Prater, Denzil Foster and Thomas McAlroy made up the group, produced by Jay King and signed with Warner Bros. Records.
Releasing their debut album Life, Love & Pain in 1986, the third single was a cover of the Withers song, mixing pop, a cappella and ’80s beats. Lean on Me the ’80s version hit number two on the Billboard R&B charts.
Listen to their version here. The music video combines classic footage of dance with the band’s performance.
With the success of radio and music video, the song continued to be strong, and the group was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song and Song of the Year for Lean on Me, winning for Best R&B Song.
Club Nouveau went on to complete a second studio album but never achieved the same success, and still exist in the 21st century as performers.