Singer SHANNON hit gold with the trendsetting, pulsating dance classic LET THE MUSIC PLAY and other similar-sounding hits in the mid-’80s. Born Brenda Shannon Greene in Washington, D.C. in 1958, she grew up in Brooklyn and while at college, joined the New York Jazz Ensemble as a singer.
While a member, she met drummer Lenny White and sang with Brownstone, which led to some recording. One single, 1983’s LET THE MUSIC PLAY, was issued on the New York-based dance label Emergency Records as a 12″ single with Shannon listed as the artist. Produced by Mark Liggett and Chris Barbosa, the track’s upfront heavy, staccato beats and synth bass marked it as an electro single, The record became a monster club hit, pumped its way up to the pop Top Ten, and sold a million copies. Her debut album titled LET THE MUSIC PLAY was issued in February 1984 and went gold, peaking at number 32 pop in March 1984. Shannon followed that up with the Top Ten R&B hit GIVE ME TONIGHT and MY HEART’S DIVIDED. DO YOU WANNA GET AWAY was the title of her second Mirage album, issued in May 1985. The title track single hit number 13 R&B in spring 1985. Her third album LOVE GOES ALL THE WAY was released on Atlantic in 1986, with the singles DANCIN’, CRIMINAL, and PROVE ME RIGHT. Shannon’s career was remarkably short-lived, however, due in part to the closing of Emergency Records, some litigation surrounding Let the Music Play, the decline of dance-oriented radio stations, the loss of club airtime on mainstream radio stations, and the inevitable Let the Music Play sound-alike clones that surfaced. Nevertheless, Shannon appeared on a 1999 segment of VH1’s Where Are They Now, vowing to return to the top of the charts; the trance-influenced THE BEST IS YET TO COME, was released in March 2000 and well-received. Chris Barbosa was invited back as a producer and updated her 1980s hits with a similar sound. Many notable producers, including Andy Panda and Tony Moran were featured on the new album. An updated “Give Me Tonight” from the set made the song a colossal club hit again when released as a single (while its follow-up, an update of “Let the Music Play”, though still a hit, interestingly proved to be less popular – a role reversal of when she debuted with the songs in the 80’s).