Photo of Marcel King singing as part of Sweet Sensation - 1974.
Totally unsung, Marcel Neville King (1957 – 1995) was indeed the genius vocalist behind two great British soul records, both happening ten years apart and out of Manchester . He was 16 years old when the Manchester based octet, Sweet Sensation, topped the charts with ‘Sad Sweet Dreamer’ in 1974. After a few more minor hits and a period of silence, 1984 saw Factory release the awesome ‘Reach for Love’.
Sweet Sensation under the guidance of Tony Hatch (not only the man who gave us the Crossroads theme but the genius who wrote the belter that was Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ which sounds a bit like Sad Sweet Dreamer - anyhow I digress but if you get a chance, google Hatch to find out more revelations), signed to Pye Records. Their second single, ‘Sad Sweet Dreamer’ went to UK number one record in September 1974.
1984 and the Factory 12 inch release of 'Reach for Love' - I read somewhere that Rob Gretton found Marcel sleeping homeless in the back of a car. Record produced by the Bernard Sumner/ Donald Johnson, Be Music/ Dojo music axis - so it says - giving it an electronic based powerful rhythm and bass line riff possibly influenced by Giorgio Moroder with its repetitive and demanding sequencing. Be interesting to know if they were looking for this sound and mechanising it more. I reckon the song is certainly a precursor to the rock/dance crossover genre.
Don't you think that the vocal range and control on ‘Reach For Love’ was exceptionally high level, both from a technical and emotional stand? Why has no-one covered this song since?
I was fortunate enough to sit in on drums one evening on a version of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ when he showed up at the Lloyds pub in Chorlton - 1993/4. He sang with the resident band which included John Scott on pedal steel. He spoke that night of going back into the studio and recording more songs.
Sadly, the incredible talent that was Marcel King never produced any more records. He died in 1995 aged just 38.
Anyone else got more pics and info about Marcel King?
Artefact added : 23rd January 2008