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Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam sing about a 14-karat love in their #1 hit from the summer of 1987, “Head to Toe.”
Lisa Lisa (born Lisa Velez) uses jewelry metaphors, pop culture references and what Ad Age magazine called the best advertising slogan of the 20th century to illustrate just how much she cherishes her guy — a guy who used to be her best friend and now is her boyfriend. She sings, “14-karat love, you are my Jewel of the Nile / When we make love, diamonds are forever.”
Penned for a De Beers marketing campaign in 1947 by NW Ayer copywriter Mary Frances Gerety, the brilliant four-word tagline “A Diamond Is Forever” has inspired an Ian Fleming novel, a James Bond flick, an iconic theme song by Shirley Bassey and Lisa Lisa’s “Head to Toe.”
The Jewel of the Nile was a blockbuster action-adventure movie from 1985 starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
The dance number, which zoomed to the top of the U.S. Billboard 100 chart, is one of the iconic dance tunes of the 1980s. It features a Freestyle vibe seasoned with a generous sprinkling of soul, electro-funk, Latin rhythms and hip-hop. It’s the type of song that would come up on a playlist alongside the early work of Paula Abdul, Gloria Estefan and Sheila E.
“Head to Toe” was composed by Full Force, a long-time production and songwriting powerhouse. According to music trivia website SongFacts.com, the girlfriend of Full Force member Paul Anthony blurted out what would become the song’s catchy hook during their gym workout.
Apparently she was so impressed by his physique that she screamed that “she loved him from head to toe.” Anthony brought that nugget to the rest of the group and, before long, a chart topper was born with the unforgettable hook, “Ooh, baby, I think I love you / From head to toe.”
“Head to Toe” appeared on Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s Spanish Fly album, a critically acclaimed work that sold more than one million copies and spawned two #1 hits. The other was the memorable “Lost in Emotion.”
The Harlem-based Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam consisted of lead vocalist Velez, guitarist/bassist Alex “Spanador” Moseley and drummer/keyboardist Mike Hughes. The group was assembled and produced by Full Force, which has worked with a long list of top acts, such as Britney Spears, James Brown, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, La Toya Jackson, Patty LaBelle and Selena.
Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam enjoyed a successful seven-year run from 1984 to 1991. We invite you to check out the official video of “Head to Toe.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…
“Head To Toe”Written by Full Force. Performed by Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam.
Head to toeI know
Today started with a crazy kissOn our way homeWe were in for a surpriseWho would have known
Who would have thought that we would become loversAs friends we were so, so tightCan’t help myself, you make me feel so rightI got to, got to, got to tell you, darlin’
Ooh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toeOoh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toe
I think I love you from head to toeI know
Here today, gone tomorrowIt’s possible, but I doubt itHis kiss is credit in the bank of loveI never leave home without it
He’s different from any boy I knowBody supremeBedroom eyes, head back to the sidePlease don’t be so mean
14-karat love, you are my Jewel of the NileWhen we make love, diamonds are foreverTop to bottom I love you, I will leave you neverI got to, got to, got to tell you, darlin’
Ooh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toeOoh, baby, I’ve got to kiss youFrom head to toe
Ooh, baby, I think I love youYou got to knowOoh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toe
I think I love you from head to toeYou can’t hurry love, you got to take it slowBut my angel, you forget your wings tonight [Heaven up above]Baby, you got the love
Ooh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toeOoh, baby, I want to kiss youFrom head to toe
Ooh, baby, I want to kiss youFrom head to toeOoh, baby, I think I love youYou got to know
Ooh, baby, I think I love youFrom head to toe
Credit: Screen capture via Youtube.com.