Peabo Bryson

  • R&B and soul singer and songwriter born Robert Peapo Bryson in 1951 in Greenville South Carolina.
  • Bryson sang backup for local artists as a teenager, beginning at the age of 14. They often had difficulty pronouncing his middle name, so he changed it to Peabo to make it easier. In 1967, he joined Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display and toured on the Chitlin’ Circuit. The band self-released an album titled Now!, with Bryson taking lead vocals on several songs. Entering the 70s, the group recorded for a couple of record labels, including Bang Records in Atlanta. The label didn’t care for the group, but they liked Bryson, and he was signed to a contract to write, produce and arrange music.
  • After working behind the scenes for several years, Bryson started a career as a solo artist, releasing a single titled Disco Queen in 1975. He collaborated with the Michael Zager Band on the single Do It With Feeling, his first to chart, reaching #25 on the R&B chart. The following year, he released his debut album, the self-titled Peabo. It began a long run of singles that charted on the R&B chart in the 70s. He reached #6 on the chart with Reaching For the Sky, #2 with I’m So Into You and #8 with Gimme Some Time, a duet with Natalie Cole.
  • His duet with Cole began a string of numerous romantic ballads sung with women artists during the 80s and 90s. In 1983, he released an album with Roberta Flack titled Born To Love. It included the hit Tonight, I Celebrate My Love, which reached #5 on the R&B chart, #4 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #16 on the Hot 100 chart. He also recorded with Minnie Riperton, Melissa Manchester, Chaka Khan, Regina Belle and Angela Bofill.
  • Ten studio albums were released during the 80s, with 28 singles charting. His first single to top a chart was in 1984 – If Ever You’re In My Arms reached #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart (and #10 on the Hot 100). He also reached #1 on the R&B chart with Show and Tell. He continued his success in the early 90s. His two highest charting singles on the Hot 100 chart also earned him Grammy awards – his 1991 duet with Celine Dion Beauty and the Beast (from the Disney film) and his 1992 duet with Regina Belle A Whole New World (from the Disney film Aladdin). The songs reached #9 and #1 respectively on the Hot 100 chart. His final hit was in 1993, a song with Kenny G on saxophone titled By the Time This Night Is Over, which topped the Adult Contemporary chart and reached #25 on the Hot 100.
  • He turned to musical theater, performing the role of Sportin’ Life in a production of Porgy and Bess. He cut back on recording, only releasing three albums from 1994 to 1997, and then just one album each in the 00s and the 10s.
  • Apparently, he didn’t believe in paying income tax. In 2003, the IRS seized property belonging to Bryson for unpaid taxes dating back to 1984. His Grammy awards were sold at auction – a family friend paid $9,400 for the A Whole New World Grammy and gave it back to Bryson. His other Grammy sold for $15,500. He continued to perform concerts throughout the 00s and 10s, and he has a tour ongoing in 2023. Here is the smooth singing Bryson singing A Whole New World with Regina Belle.

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