Welcome to the Thursday edition of the Morning Groove! We’re continuing with one-hit wonders week. For how this all started, take a look at this post.
Yesterday was the birthday of the late Luther Vandross. Had he lived, he would have been 65 years old. He was one of the great singers of his generation. But this Morning Groove doesn’t feature a song from him. It features a song from one of his longtime background singers.
Lisa Fischer began her singing career as Xena, cutting a freestyle single called “On The Upside,” that has been remembered as an early 80s dance classic. From there, she became a background singer, most notably for Vandross, and she sang with him on record and on tour until his death in 2005.
In 1991, she released her only solo album So Intense, which contained today’s featured song. “How Can I Ease The Pain” was a #1 R&B song, but also peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. Fischer’s performance of the song also won a Grammy award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. A second single, “Save Me,” was released, but did not make the top 40 on the Hot 100.
I had written about Fischer briefly in a post about the Christmas song “Breath Of Heaven” that she performed with Grover Washington, Jr. In that post, I noted that Fischer never recorded another solo album. In fact, in the movie 20 Feet From Stardom, she talks a bit about how she preferred to remain in the background, singing with others, than being out front. And it’s in the background she continues to perform, working with Tina Turner, and most famously, the Rolling Stones on their tours.
But every now and then, she will step out for a bit. Here is a performance of her one top 40 hit from a summer festival in Brooklyn a couple years ago:
I hope you enjoy today’s Morning Groove/one-hit wonder. And as always, thanks for reading and listening.
Tomorrow, Lisa A. returns to Flashback Friday to give her spin on one-hit wonders! Stay tuned!