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Articles Home » 1982 Articles » Hancock, Herbie - 1982 Lite Me Up
Hancock, Herbie - 1982 Lite Me Up

ARTIST: Hancock, Herbie
ALBUM: Lite Me Up
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: FC 37928
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1997, Columbia, COL 486573 2


LINEUP: Herbie Hancock - lead and backing vocals, keyboards, synthesizers, synthesizer drums, vocoder

Additional Musicians: David Foster - piano, guitar, rhythm arrangements, vocal arrangement * Rod Temperton - rhythm arrangements, vocal arrangement * Jay Graydon, David Williams, Steve Lukather - guitars * Randy Jackson, Louis Johnson, Abraham Laboriel - bass * Jeff Porcaro, John 'J.R' Robinson, Narada Michael Walden - drums * Frank Martin - vocals * Wayne Anthony, Patrice Rushen - vocals, vocoder * Michael Boddicker, Corrado Rustici - synthesizer * Paulinho Da Costa - percussion * Jerry Hey - flugelhorn, horn arrangements, string arrangements, trumpet * Chuck Findley - trombone, trumpet * Gary Herbig - saxophone, woodwind * Bill Reichenbach Jr - trombone * Patti Austin, Bill Champlin, Richard Page, Paulette McWilliams, John Lehman, Linda Lawrence, Jim Gilstrap, Venette Gloud - backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Lite Me Up * 02 The Bomb * 03 Gettin' To The Good Part * 04 Paradise * 05 Can't Hide Your Love * 06 The Fun Tracks * 07 Motor Mouth * 08 Give It All Your Heart


As one of the greatest musicians of all time there was little Herbie Hancock hadn't done up to this point in his career. In fact this was supposedly his thirty third album in what was then a 20 year career, an amazingly prolific output which featured few if any poor releases. Through the 70's Hancock had blazed a trail with seminal jazz, funk and fusion releases, many of which deserve mention here also. But seeing as we're dealing with the early 80's here that means only one thing, AOR naturally. Of all Hancock's work this is perhaps the most commercial, with none of the sprawling instrumentals that usually dominated his work. Instead the emphasis was purely on regular radio style material of the time, which as you'd expect Hancock pulls off with ease. The bulk of the material was written by English native Rod Temperton, who had been responsible for Michael Jackson's success on 'Off the Wall' and 'Thriller'. Assisted by an able cast of familiars (too many to mention above) this firmly sits in that glorious periods easy listening melodic framework. With surnames involved like Graydon, Lukather, Champlin, Foster, Page and Boddicker there's no conceivable way this album could ever go wrong.

The Songs
The album sits on the fringe of the extreme 'lite' side of AOR as the title indicates. The use of really melodic guitar work is limited, but Steve Lukather turns in a memorable display on the title track, which musically is the most upbeat here. Hancock's overload of keyboards and excellent vocals by Wayne Anthony result in some tasty AOR which as you might assume inhabits the same ground as George Benson, Lionel Richie, Al Jarreau and company. 'The Bomb' is pure funk, lurking in the same areas that Ray Parker Jr did on his solo debut that same year. At six minutes 'Getting To The Good Part' is one of the longer tracks, this one with Hancock on vocals with his usual use of vocoder to assist him. 'Paradise' sees the songwriting convergence of Hancock, Champlin, Graydon and Foster, a dream quartet if there ever was one. This is a West Coast masterpiece and doesn't disappoint, full of the tangents each artist is known and loved for by AOR purists. Jeff Porcaro and Richard Page also feature, adding more credence to the dream team element of this song. All that's missing is guitar, somewhat of a shame. The horns are in full force on 'Can' Hide Your Love' and 'The Fun Tracks' could be a Commodores track from the late 70's with the chorus on this one especially memorable. 'Motor Mouth' has the George Benson vibe everywhere, clearly a product of its time, especially with the abundant use of female backing vocals. The seven minute 'Give It All Your Heart' is a lengthy way to end the album, with Hancock again adding his vocoder vocals, this one a sultry slice of lush West Coast with a mammoth piano solo towards the end.

In Summary
This was Hancock's last real flirtation with anything resembling straight AOR, with 1983's acclaimed 'Future Shock' veering off into synthesizer infused madness and in some style. Although not as commercial as 'Lite Me Up' 1981's 'Magic Windows' is another album worth investigating for those leaning towards West Coast, with Hancock's compositions here far longer but just as inspired. In my opinion almost all of the great man's work should be checked out, but for those looking for soothing sounds of early 80's AOR this is a compulsory stop.

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#1 | gdazegod on January 15 2014 12:13:02
Wow, Herbie Hancock at GDM.. wonders never cease!
#2 | Eric on January 17 2014 17:24:26
Never got into Hancock the way I did with Metheny, Miles, Weather Report and ECM stuff but some of his fusion albums were mind-blowing in places. Anyone remember him jamming with Journey in 1979 on the TV show 'Midnight Special'? They covered 'Roadrunner', might be a YouTube clip somewhere...
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