TV One's Unsung Episode Reveals The Pain Behind The Fame
1980s R&B singers Alexander O'Neal and Cherrelle had a number of hits that performed very well on the charts. They were solo artists, but their names became intertwined as their label Tabu Records paired them for songs with super-producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and other notable production talent.
It resulted in big R&B hits "Saturday Love" "Never Knew Love Like This" and "Innocent." The gifted vocalists with impressive range, also experienced the down side of fame. However, with the money and hits, came tragedy and depression.
On his own O'Neal is known for hits such as "Fake" "Criticize" and "All True Man." The money started coming in. O'Neal, who had grown up in poverty in Natchez, Mississippi, became addicted to cocaine when he hit the big time. His lack of sobriety and admission thereof, led to Hollywood turning its back on him.
As a result of not being promoted well by the recording industry in Hollywood, he moved to London, England for 14-years, where his popularity had not diminished. O'Neal had been the first artist to sell out Wembley arena 8 nights in a row. His concert featured a bed in the middle of the stage, something he publicly complain thief Madonna stole from his show shortly after (that's been Madonna's whole career, one theft after another).
Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal
Cherrelle, real name, Cheryl Anne Norton, by contrast grew up in Beverly Hills the daughter of a wealthy entertainment industry lawyer. Her dad helped her get a record deal with Tabu Records and she was placed with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. She had many R&B hits such as "Everything I Miss At Home" "Artificial Heart" "Where Do I Run To" and "You Look Good To Me." She also had a hit with cousin Pebbles on the song "Always" which also featured soulful singer Johnny Gill.
However, her life fell apart soon after beginning in 1992. She split with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and her career began to fade. Her sister died and her father went to prison for financial fraud in relation to his clients. Then the father of her two children, Randy Ran, was beheaded in a motorcycle accident, which devastated her.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis
Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal in the 1980s