“Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards & Siedah Garrett (1984)

“Don’t Look Any Further” is Dennis Edwards’ biggest solo hit. It went all the way to #2 on Billboard’s R&B charts. It didn’t cross over, because even in the age of Thriller, “Don’t Look Any Further” was way too black for top 40 radio. Thanks to a long life as a hip-hop sample (providing the backbone to songs by Eric B. & Rakim, Milli Vanilli, Junior M.A.F.I.A. and way too many others to name), “Don’t Look Any Further” is also probably the best known (or at least most fondly remembered) solo song by a member of the Temptations. Edwards, who was the primary lead singer of the Tempts during their early ‘70s “psychedelic soul” period) had just left the group the year before (and, after not scoring another major solo hit, would return to the group barely three years later.)

“Don’t Look Any Further” is a smooth mid-tempo groove, with a vague tropical feel, accented by some African chanting in the chorus. It’s the perfect two-step song. Edwards’ chesty voice is balanced by the girlish coo of guest vocalist Siedah Garrett. Although she’s better known for being Michael Jackson’s duet partner on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” (and later one of his touring background singers), Siedah got her first chart ink with this song.

Siedah was not the first choice to co-star opposite Dennis, however. Apparently, “Don’t Look Any Further” was supposed to feature Chaka Khan as the female vocalist, but Chaka backed out. Now that I’m aware of this fact, I can hear Siedah sort of trying to sound like Chaka in a way that’s not apparent on her subsequent solo recordings. Apparently, there’s also a version of “Don’t Look Any Further” that features Jermaine Jackson and Whitney Houston. I’d love to hear that.

If you are reading this entry and are already fairly familiar with “Don’t Look Any Further”, you don’t want me to talk about the song, though. You want me to talk about the video. Oh, that video. Motown was late to the video game, and they apparently used up all of their late ‘83/early ‘84 budgets on Lionel Richie clips and the Rick James/Smokey Robinson debacle “Ebony Eyes”. Because the “Don’t Look Any Further” video is just about the cheapest thing I’ve ever seen filmed. And the unintentional comedy is off the motherfucking charts. There’s the night sky green screen. There’s the awkward, borderline disturbing flirty behavior between the two principals. There’s Dennis Edwards’ crazy eyes. And finally, and weirdest of all, there’s the fact that Dennis decided to chew gum throughout the entire video. I’ve read that he’s not actually chewing gum and that the constant masticating was a result of “coke mouth” (look, I know nothing about cocaine and I’d like to keep it that way). Either way, think someone should’ve been, like, “look man…either spit the gum out or let’s wait a couple days till your mouth problem sorts itself out and let’s try to shoot this again”?

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