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One on One With Bo Watson As Midnight Star Set To Headline Tulsa Juneteenth 2018
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One on One With Bo Watson As Midnight Star Set To Headline Tulsa Juneteenth 2018

By Fred L. Jones, Jr.

fjones@theoklahoma.net

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For many Tulsans that love and grew up on R&B music of the late 70’s and 80’s, Midnight Star will be in Tulsa for Juneteenth 2018 on Saturday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on the Juneteenth Greenwood mainstage. It will be a time to celebrate and remember.

The legendary group has a countless number of hit songs that will take you back down memory lane for sure.

Juneteenth event coordinator Jamaal Dyer stated, “I’m super excited about Tulsa Juneteenth 2018, these events and the concert lineup are going to be phenomenal.”

The Oklahoma Eagle caught up with the original Midnight Star keyboard and vocalist player Bo Watson:

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Eagle: How did you become a member of Midnight Star?

Watson: I came from Flint, Michigan to HBCU (Kentucky State University), I had sent a demo to Warren Swindell and was offered a musical scholarship to attend the school. I really didn’t want to go that far away from home, but my mother encouraged me to attend. I had a great friend Melvin Gentry (also an original Midnight Star band member) and we had musical plans for the future. As you can imagine I was feeling a little blue at first, but after I joined the jazz band and hooked up with a few other musicians and we started playing together, I felt a lot better. One day we were jamming and we loved what we were doing so much, that we decided to start the band and called it Midnight Star.

Eagle:  What has given Midnight Star staying power over the years?

Watson: We do real songs with good melodies and great stories. We have always been leaders and not followers. We respect each band member in regard to what they bring to the band. Midnight Star is a team with an excellent relationship among ourselves and that has been the key to our success and staying power.

Bo Watson co-wrote “Midas Touch” and “Operator” with other members of Midnight Star which was Midnight Stars first number #1 song. He co-wrote the Babyface duet “Give U My Heart” and “Love Shoulda Brought You Home” from the Boomerang soundtrack as well as the song “Spending My Time With You” on Toni Braxton’s self-titled debut which he co-wrote with Gentry. Watson also helped write other songs such as “Turn Down the Lights” for Shanice with Gentry, and “Rock Steady” for The Whispers and co-wrote on “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room” for Klymaxx with other Midnight Star band members.

See Also
Eva Coleman, National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ, NABJ Tulsa, All-Black Towns, Black Towns, Oklahoma Black Towns, Historic Black Towns, Gary Lee, M. David Goodwin, James Goodwin, Ross Johnson, Sam Levrault, Kimberly Marsh, John Neal, African American News, Black News, African American Newspaper, Black Owned Newspaper, The Oklahoma Eagle, The Eagle, Black Wall Street, Tulsa Race Massacre, 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

Midnight Star released their debut album “The Beginning” (1980) with some guest studio musicians. In 1981 their second album, released on Solar Records, “Standing Together”, reached position #54 on the U.S. R&B chart. In 1982 they released a third album, “Victory”.

Midnight Star hit the U.S. R&B chart with early singles “Hot Spot” and “I’ve Been Watching You”. Drummer Bobby Lovelace joined the group in late 1982, freeing Gentry to sing and play guitar exclusively. Their fourth album, “No Parking on the Dance Floor”, was released in 1983, and its first single, “Freak-A-Zoid”, went to number two on the U.S. Black Singles chart. Other singles from the album included “Wet My Whistle”, and the title track. These singles, along with the hit album tracks “Slow Jam” (co-written by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds) and “Electricity” led the album to double platinum status. Their next album, “Planetary Invasion” also went platinum and made the pop Top 20 and the number one spot on the R&B chart with its first single, “Operator“. This song remains the band’s only Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hit to date.

In 1985, Kool & The Gang, Midnight Star, Shalamar and Klymaxx performed at the Marriott Convention Center in Oklahoma City. The band continued on to concerts in San Antonio, Tex., and Little Rock, Ark. Then in 1986 the band released their sixth album, “Headlines”, which was their third album to sell at least gold. It was to be their last with the Calloway brothers. Due to irreconcilable differences with the other members, Reggie Calloway was out of the group and Vincent left shortly thereafter. They achieved their biggest success in the UK with “Midas Touch“, which made #8, and “Headlines”, a #16 hit earlier the same year. Without the Calloways (who would go on to form the group Calloway and release an album that spawned the 1990 hit single “I Wanna Be Rich“), Midnight Star recorded two more albums, the self-titled “Midnight Star” and “Work It Out”. These two albums did bear fruit with Top Ten R&B singles such as: “Don’t Rock The Boat” and “Snake In The Grass”. The group went on a long hiatus, though they never officially broke-up.

The group reunited in 2000 with many of the original members (including all of the singers) and released the album “15th Avenue” two years later. Since then, the group has toured sporadically, most recently with a lineup that includes Belinda Lipscomb, Kenneth Gant, Melvin Gentry, Bo Watson, and Bobby Lovelace with Bill Simmons sometimes joining as well.

 

 

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