P.M. Dawn, comprised of brothers J.C. the Eternal and Prince Be, have always made music that has fallen somewhere between rap and soulful pop.
The duo, who scored a hit in 1991 with "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss," are working on an LP of R&B covers tentatively titled Rhythm for Infinite Blues.
J.C. the Eternal was born Jarrett Cordes 28 years ago today in Jersey City, N.J. His brother, Attrell (Prince Be), is 14 months older he is. Their stepfather, a former percussionist with soul group Kool and the Gang, turned them on to folkies such as Donovan. The brothers also used to listen to discarded records brought to their Manhattan, N.Y., home by their uncle, a sanitation worker.
The brothers began singing together and formed P.M. Dawn after graduating from high school. The group's name was inspired by the scripture "in the darkest hour comes the light." Using their new stage names, DJ Minutemix (later J.C. the Eternal) and Prince B, they cut a demo. Jarrett's choice of the DJ moniker reflected his role as turntablist. The song "Ode to a Forgetful Mind," released on Tiny Warlock Records, became popular in Britain, leading to a contract for the duo with Gee Street Records.
P.M. Dawn recorded their first album, 1991's Of the Heart, of the Soul, and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience, in London. The LP synthesized harmonic pop and De La Soul-like hip-hop and quickly attracted the attention of music critics.
"A Watcher's Point of View" had success in England and "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" (which sampled Spandau Ballet's "True") went to #1 on the U.S. pop chart. The debut LP also featured "Even After I Die," on which Prince Be rapped about reincarnation.
In 1992 P.M. Dawn had a #3 pop hit with "I'd Die Without You," from the soundtrack to the Eddie Murphy movie "Boomerang." The following year the duo issued The Bliss Album ... ? Vibrations of Love and Anger and the Ponderance of Life and Existence. The album featured a cover of the Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" as well as former Culture Club vocalist Boy George on "More Than Likely." Another single, "Looking Through Patient Eyes," which sampled George Michael's "Father Figure," made #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Jesus Wept followed in 1995, but only made #119 in the United States. The album sampled Joni Mitchell, Deep Purple, Talking Heads and others.
Last year P.M. Dawn returned with Dearest Christian, I'm So Very Sorry for Bringing You Here. Love, Dad., inspired by Prince Be's son. The LP included such titles as "Being So Not For You (I Had No Right)" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Misery in Utero."
Prince Be said of the impending soul-covers LP: "We know the issues we want to address, so we're just looking to take the work of [R&B greats] and put our own spin on it."
P.M. Dawn, who have been rumored to have issued records under aliases in the past, said they plan to record soon under the name Epiphany, which will allow them to stretch their sound into even more genres.
Other birthdays: Terry "Geezer" Butler (Black Sabbath), 50; and Lou Barlow (Sebadoh, Folk Implosion, ex-Dinosaur Jr), 33.