Alexander O'Neal

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About Alexander O'Neal

One of the towering voices of ’80s Minneapolis R&B, Alexander O’Neal boasts a raspy, muscular instrument and a seemingly bottomless reservoir of emotion. Born in Natchez, MS, in 1953, O’Neal moved to Minneapolis in his early 20s; he joined the funk collective Flyte Tyme, which included keyboardist Jimmy “Jam” Harris and bassist Terry Lewis, in the mid-’70s. When that band morphed into The Time, O’Neal was replaced by Morris Day on vocals, but his connection to Jam and Lewis persisted, and the duo produced his 1985 self-titled debut. That album spawned three R&B hits, including the funk cut “Innocent”; O’Neal also experienced crossover success with “Saturday Love,” a plush duet with Detroit belter Cherrelle that became one of the ’80s’ defining slow jams. Hearsay, released in 1987, contained his biggest solo hit, the acid-tongued “Fake.” O’Neal followed it with a remix album and a Christmas album in 1988, and he went on to release a steady stream of studio albums over the course of his career.

Natchez, MS, United States
November 15, 1953
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