The Singer: Released in 1986, Gregory Abbott’s “Shake You Down” is softer in tone and more synthesized in sound than other slow jams, but the song helped the genre cross over into adult contemporary radio. Based on a simple 808 drum pattern, some jazzy guitar and what sounds like an electronic melodica, “Shake You Down” glides on its simplicity – that, and Abbott’s cloud-bursting falsetto.
The Song: Like most R&B singers, Gregory Abbott is a man given to claims – his sly, come-hither flirtations of the first verse become hardened with the bravado of an A-1 lover man. Not only will he shake you down, he’s gonna rock you down, while (of course) giving you all the loving you need. “Shake You Down” is notable not only for its use of pseudo-science as a pick-up line (“I’m glad you picked up on my telepathy”) but for its spoken third verse. Abbott may not have been the first crooner to implore his lady-love with such a bald-faced monologue, but damn if he doesn’t embody the time period’s airbrushed cheese with his lispy declarations. Budding Casanovas, take note: when the lights are low and the mood is right, start every other sentence with “Girl, I’ve been missing you.” It’s virtually bulletproof.
The Video: Abbott dances and sings while beautiful ladies pass by. It’s a beautiful thing.
Hipster Cachet. Abbott was married to Freda Payne, singer of the wonderful “Band of Gold.” (vid after jump)
-- Christian Schaeffer