This guest post is by Tom Cooney of a.tom.called.cooney.

Thirteen original band members formed the New York City Players in the early 70s.  By 1974 they had changed their name to Cameo to avoid confusion between them and a similar funk band, The Ohio Players.  By this time the band was carrying 24 members led by Larry Blackmon.  They were eventually signed to Casablanca Records in 1976.

Cameo started out as a funk band with singles such as “I Just Want To Be”, “Find My Way” and “Rigor Mortis”.  When synthesizers became big in the 80s, Cameo capitalized on the movement.  They changed their style to a more disco/dance genre and saw huge success with songs “She’s Strange”, “Single Life”, and their two biggest hits; “Word Up” and “Candy”.

The band’s success faded in the late 80s and into the 90s.  Although they were still releasing albums major labels Mercury and Reprise, they had pretty much fallen off.  They released their most recent album Sexy Sweet Thing in 2000.

Several members of the band are still making music today.  Aaron Mills (bass), Jheryl Bright (Trombone) and Kevin Kendrick have been hired by the hip hop group OutKast for live and studio sessions.  Aaron Mills actually recorded the bassline for “Ms. Jackson”, one of Outkast’s big hits.

Hip hop artists such as Brand Nubian, Above The Law, The Beastie Boys, King Tee and Kool Moe Dee have sampled Cameo.

I became a Cameo fan back in the day when I first heard “I Just Want To Be”.  That jam is so funky!  After a little break, the release of “Candy” and “Word Up” had me hooked once again.  I play at least one Cameo joint every time I play out.  No matter what the crowd is, I always get a good response.  Ooow!

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