Ladies and Gentlemen…THE TIME.
- 80s & ’90s
- Live Band
Morris Day, along with Prince and André Cymone, formed Grand Central in high-school. The band was managed by Day‘s mother. The trio later was renamed to Champagne. However the band that would change R&B & Funk forever was assembled under a deal in Prince‘s contract with Warner Bros. that allowed him to recruit and produce other artists for the label. Inspired by the 1980 film “The Idolmaker,” Prince decided to put together a pop-funk group that would serve as an outlet for material in the vein of his early albums, while he explored other genres and styles in his own career.
The band; THE TIME was assembled with Jellybean Johnson on drums, Jimmy Jam and Monte Moir on keyboards, and Terry Lewis on bass. Jesse Johnson on guitar and Morris Day on lead vocals.
Prince had originally tapped Alexander O’Neal, of the Minneapolis funk scene, for the lead vocalist slot but that fell through. Sue Ann Carwell did a stint as lead singer before going solo. Jerome Benton also became a member of The Time, a percussionist, as well as the “mirror” hype man.
Morris Day & The Time soon burst onto the public scene with the self-titled album The Time in July of 1981. The album reached #7 on the Billboard R&B charts and #50 on the Billboard Hot 200. Three singles were released: The debut single “Get it Up” went to #6 on the R&B charts, the second single “Cool” made it to #7 and #90 on the Hot 100. The third single “Girl” reached #39 on the R&B charts.
Prince once described THE TIME as
“the only band that he was afraid of.”
Their sophomore album was released in 1982 almost a year to date from their debut, entitled “What Time Is It?” The album went gold as did their debut. “What Time Is It?” reached #2 on the Billboard R&B chart and #26 on the Hot 200. Three singles were released, “777-9311” reaching #2 on the R&B charts and #88 on the Hot 100. “The Walk” made it to #24 and “Gigolos Get Lonely Too” reached #77.
In the summer of 1984, The Time‘s third album release “Ice Cream Castle” was released. Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis nor Monte Moir was apart of that release and were replaced by three other members. This was their first platinum album reaching #3 on the Billboard R&B charts and #24 on the Hot 200. Again three singles were released, the title-cut reached #11 on the R&B charts. The Time‘s most prolific and visible period came then, when Morris Day played the antagonist to Prince in his feature film “Purple Rain.” The release of “Jungle Love” from the soundtrack became The Time‘s biggest hit at the time. The song went #6 on the R&B charts and #20 on the Hot 100. “The Bird,” was the third single, reaching #33 R&B and #36 Pop.
“Corporate World” was originally scheduled to be released in November of 1989. However the album was later reworked to include all of the original 7 members and was renamed to “Pandemonium” and released July of 1990.
The “Graffiti Bridge” soundtrack was released by Paisley Park Records / Warner Bros. Records in summer of 1990 in support of the film, which also co-starred The Time. Four tracks from The Time were included; “Love Machine” was a duet with Morris and Elisa Fiorillo with saxophone by Candy Dulfer. “Shake!,” “Release It” & “The Latest Fashion” featuring Prince.
That was followed by the album “Pandemonium” which was a big commercial success, outselling all previous albums by the band. The first single “Jerk Out,” their biggest hit, reaching the top #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and #9 on the Hot 100. The second single “Chocolate” didn’t chart as well. At the video shoot for the single, frictions between certain band members while they were shooting signaled the end of the original Time.
All of The Time‘s albums were generally light and humorous in tone, and the first two were composed and arranged entirely by Prince under the name Jamie Starr. In combined sales of The Time & Morris Day‘s solo work, is in excess of 10 million units sold.
Morris Day, Jesse Johnson, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Jellybean Johnson, Jerome Benton and Monte Moir were legendary for enhancing their exciting funk/rock/pop Minneapolis Sound out of the studio and to the stage. The group pulled frenetic energy and warmth from synthesizer-laden technology for their live concerts. Their brash, fresh and inventive talent has driven every single member of the band since then to innovative careers and success.
Lead vocalist Morris Day is a triple threat performer of Stage, Screen and Television. He is also an accomplished drummer who played on many of The Time’s biggest hits. His singing career includes five albums with The Time as well as four solo albums. Day wrote and produced the smash dance hit “The Oak Tree” and followed that up with the #1 hit “Fishnet” with fellow alums Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
World class Guitarist Jesse Johnson, who co-wrote The Time’s smash “Jungle Love,” also found critical and commercial success as a songwriter/producer working with Janet Jackson, After 7, Paula Abdul and Chaka Khan. Johnson also contributed music for film soundtracks including The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, The 5 Heartbeats and A Time To Kill. His solo projects include Jesse Johnson’s Revue (1985), Shockadelica (1986), Every Shade of Love (1988), Bare My Naked Soul (1996) and the critically acclaimed Verbal Penetration (2009).
Keyboardist Jimmy Jam and Bassist Terry Lewis are five time Grammy award winners who have more Billboard Hot 100 #1’s than any songwriting/production duo in music history. Recognized as one of the most innovative and successful production teams in music, Jam & Lewis are responsible for an entire era of music including Janet Jackson’s string of hits, as well as recent songs by Usher, Mariah Carey and New Edition.
Keyboardist Monte Moir is a songwriter, singer, producer and classically trained musician who has written and produced a number of hits including Janet Jackson’s #1 smash “The Pleasure Principle” as well as Alexander O’Neal’s classic “If You Were Here Tonight”. Other notable artists Moir has worked with include Gladys Knight, Thelma Houston, Deniece Williams, Force MD’s and Patti Austin.
Drummer Jellybean Johnson has contributed his songwriting/producing and Guitar skills on numerous hits. Most notably with Janet Jackson to create the #1 rock-driven anthem “Black Cat”. Johnson also scored top charting hits with artists including New Edition (“Crucial”), Alexander O’Neal (“Criticize”), Nona Hendrix (“Why Should I Cry”) and Mint Condition’s #1 smash “Breakin My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes).” Jellybean was also instrumental in Mint Condition getting signed and worked on their entire debut album.
Mirror & Percussionist Jerome Benton, (the half brother of Terry Lewis) is an audience favorite for his playful interaction and delightful chemistry with Morris Day onstage. As an actor he starred in Prince’s films “Purple Rain” and “Under the Cherry Moon” and stole scenes in music videos with Prince, Janet Jackson, Herb Alpert and most notably when he performed with The Time. Benton was also a member of the group The Family and has written several scripts for the stage and screen.
In 2011, the original line-up of the band reformed as, The Original 7ven, in order to release a new album. Prince for whatever reason wouldn’t allow them to use the name The Time for recordings. The album “Condensate” featued the single, “#Trendin“, both received critical praise. They disbanded in 2013 and Morris Day has resumed touring as “Morris Day and The Time“.
In 2015 the band received major attention again when British artist Mark Ronson used The Time‘s work as inspiration for his hit “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars. After receiving the prestigious best British Single Award at the 2015 BRIT ceremony, Ronson directly thanked Morris Day and The Time alongside artists such as James Brown and others on air for trailblazing the “Uptown Funk” sound.
Music legend Prince died on April 21, 2016. Since then Morris Day and The Time, have been apart of the big Prince tribute last year as well as perform many solo tribute shows in honor of Prince. The Time had just performed a show in January 2016 at Paisley Park, that was hosted by Prince months before he passed.
Bruno Mars and Morris Day and The Time performed together this year at the 59th Grammy Awards. In an amazing tribute to Prince. The Time opened the performance with “Jungle Love” and “The Bird.” The Time then stayed on stage and rocked out with Bruno as he performed Prince’s huge hit “Let’s Go Crazy.”
The Time‘s next performance is scheduled for April 22nd, at Prince’s Paisley Park. A four-day Celebration for Prince, that starts April 20th.
Watch THE TIME LIVE: Capitol Theatre (Passaic, NJ) 01/30/1982
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