I stumbled upon this truly forgotten tune (I can't remember having heard it at any particular time in my musical memory even though I instantly knew and loved it upon reacquaintance) while researching one of my new favorites, Spooky Tooth, the amazing keyboard-heavy blues-rock band that gave eventual pop singer Wright his start in the late '60s. The trailblazing hard rock sound of that band may be galaxies away from the space-age synthesizer pop that brought Wright major chart success a decade later, but the singer's melodic inclinations and songwriting prowess can be easily detected in vintage Spooky Tooth.
Fans of 1976 pop hits "Dream Weaver" and "Love Is Alive" certainly know Wright's familiar, keening vocal style, but if they're anything like me they're far less aware of the sonic pleasures that emanate from 1981's lovely "Really Wanna Know You," a song that made it into the Top 20 only to drift into near-permanent obscurity. It's really nearly equal to the delights found in Wright's better-known pair of No. 2 smashes, so it seems only right to try and rectify its limited appreciation among music fans. Of course, the tune does sometimes sound like it could have easily been written by Foreigner mastermind Mick Jones, but that may not be a problem or even a surprise given Jones' membership in an early '70s reformation of the Tooth (I don't know if that abbreviation has precedent, but I dig it). Maybe Wright's timing was a bit off if he sought a long-term career in the pop spotlight, as the rise of new wave and ever more popular forms of heavy metal in the early '80s tended to render his kind of slick, romantic pop somewhat obsolete as the decade progressed. Still, this one's well worth digging up.
- Sample or download "Really Wanna Know You" here.
- Compare prices on Gary Wright CDs here.
- Official Spooky Tooth Website
Album Cover Image Courtesy of Rhino/Warner Bros.