Song of the Day: Change “Glow of Love” (Feat. Luther Vandross)
“Glow of Love” is the debut single from the Bologna-based Italo-disco group, Change. Obsessed with Chic and merging early synthesizers with disco, the group hit the scene shortly after Giorgio Moroder had begun paving the way for the wider Italo-disco sound. Change was originally put together by businessman Jacques Fred Petrus and executive producer Mauro Malavasiand. The secret weapon that the band had was, though they recorded their backing tracks in Italy, they had vocal tracks added at a separate studio in America by then up and coming singer, Luther Vandross.
Vandross had grown weary of his career as a back-up singer and wanted a career of his own and the Change project was presented to him as a way of doing so. While Vandross did initially sign-up – and “Glow of Love” features as pure and perfect a Vandross lead vocal as you are ever likely to find anywhere in his career, he left the group after recording just a few tracks to pursue his own solo career. Change then proved to be the stepping stone he needed to eventually get out there on his own.
While Vandross‘ engagement with Change was short lived, the songs he recorded with the band are phenomenal. “Glow of Love” in particular crackles with a dynamism and Chic-like energy without sounding entirely derivative. The track features an unrelenting disco beat, sweeping strings and snapping guitars aplenty. Vandross‘ powerhouse vocals sore above the mix and make obvious why he was a big star in the making. The extended mix (featured here) clocks in at a full six minutes and leaves you wondering why the band aren’t better known.
Change continued on with another American singer, James Robinson following Vandross splitting with the group. The band released 6 albums between 1980 and 1985. By the time their final album was released in 1985, the group was in serious commercial decline with interest in disco dissipating. The band would formally end when the band’s de facto leader, Petrus died in 1987. An effort was made to revive the band in the ’90s resulting in recording sessions but no album was forthcoming. The tapes from those sessions were eventually released in 2010 and a follow-up album emerged in 2018.