ABC: When Smokey Sings / Chicago


Format: 12″

Label: Phonogram

Country: Canada

Year: 1987

Paid: $1

Purchased at: Books and Melodies, Syracuse NY


Elegance in eloquence for sale or rent or hire

Should I say yes I match his best then I would be a liar

Symphonies that sooth the rage

When lover’s hearts catch fire

‘When Smokey Sings’ is from ABC’s fourth album ‘Alphabet City.’ It reached number 11 on the UK singles chart and went all the way to number 1 on the US Billboard Billboard Dance/Club Chart.

This release features ‘The Miami Mix’ and ‘The Detroit Mix’ of the song, plus ‘Chicago: Parts 1 and 2’ on the B-side.

The song is a tribute to Smokey Robinson. Smokey himself was in the charts at the time (with ‘One Heartbeat’, #10 on the Billboard hot 100) marking a rare occasion where both an artist and a song about that artist shared top ten charts simultaneously.

The sleeve was designed by Keith Breeden and Mike Owen. Both have extensive back catalogs in music design- Breeden has designed for such bands as The Cult, Pink Floyd, and many other ABC projects while Owen has worked with Lene Lovich, Fun Boy 3, and Duran Duran. Not surprising then that the artwork is a classy and effortless affair.

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