Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, July 15th

On this day in 1989: Simply Red scored their second U.S. #1 single with ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’, a 1973 hit for Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. It would spend one week in the top spot.

“If You Don’t Know Me by Now” is a song written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and recorded by the Philadelphia soul musical group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. It became their first hit after being released as a single in September 1972, topping the U.S. R&B chart and peaking at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

“If You Don’t Know Me by Now” was originally written for Labelle (a trio led by Patti Labelle) but they never recorded it. Much like the issue with “I Miss You” and The Dells passing on it, the song’s composers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff gave it to Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, which featured Teddy Pendergrass as lead vocalist. In addition to the single release, the track was included on their debut album ‘I Miss You.’ Patti Labelle later made the song part of her concert repertoire in 1982; a live version appears on her 1985 album, Patti.

“If You Don’t Know Me by Now” has since been recorded by a number of other artists, most notably the English pop and soul band Simply Red, who took their version #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1989. The song was chosen as one of the “Songs of the Century” by the RIAA.

Simply Red’s version of “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” was a major commercial success on the charts in 1989, giving the band their second U.S. #1 (also topping the Adult Contemporary chart), and peaking at #38 on the R&B chart. This version also won the Grammy Award for the Best R&B Song of 1989. The track was also a #1 hit in Australia and New Zealand; in the latter country, it was the best-selling single of 1989.

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1989:

1 3 IF YOU DON’T KNOW ME BY NOW –•– Simply Red – 11 (1)
2 4 EXPRESS YOURSELF –•– Madonna – 7 (2)
3 1 GOOD THING –•– Fine Young Cannibals – 11 (1)
4 5 TOY SOLDIERS –•– Martika – 9 (4)
5 2 BABY DON’T FORGET MY NUMBER –•– Milli Vanilli – 12 (1)
6 12 BATDANCE –•– Prince – 5 (6)
7 7 MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY –•– Natalie Cole – 14 (7)
8 10 WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW –•– Expose – 9 (8)
9 11 THE DOCTOR –•– The Doobie Brothers – 9 (9)
10 15 SO ALIVE –•– Love And Rockets – 9 (10)

11 6 I DROVE ALL NIGHT –•– Cyndi Lauper – 11 (6)
12 19 ON OUR OWN –•– Bobby Brown – 6 (12)
13 16 LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME –•– Bon Jovi – 7 (13)
14 8 SATISFIED –•– Richard Marx – 11 (1)
15 18 CRAZY ABOUT HER –•– Rod Stewart – 10 (15)
16 20 ONCE BITTEN TWICE SHY –•– Great White – 10 (16)
17 13 I WON’T BACK DOWN –•– Tom Petty – 12 (12)
18 23 I LIKE IT –•– Dino – 10 (18)
19 22 WHO DO YOU GIVE YOUR LOVE TO? –•– Michael Morales – 12 (19)
20 9 BUFFALO STANCE –•– Neneh Cherry – 16 (3)

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