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(Read all about Club Nouveau after the video)
Club Nouveau is an American R&B group formed by record producer/performer Jay King in 1986 in Sacramento, California subsequent to the breakup of the Timex Social Club. The group's name (French for "New Club") was changed from its original incarnation, Jet Set, to capitalize on the breakup. The group was signed by Warner Bros. Records, on which Club Nouveau released its first three albums. Club Nouveau's version of Bill Withers' song "Lean on Me" won a Grammy award for Best R&B Song in 1987.
From their debut album, Life, Love & Pain, which was released in 1986, the group scored four consecutive hits: "Jealousy" (essentially an answer song responding to Timex Social Club's hit "Rumors"), "Situation #9", "Lean on Me" and "Why You Treat Me So Bad". The latter two both made it to #2 on the Billboard R&B chart the next year, with "Lean on Me" going on to become a big Billboard Hot 100 hit. "Jealousy" also made an appearance on the soundtrack for the film, Modern Girls. "Why You Treat Me So Bad" was interpolated by the hip-hop duo Luniz, on their hit single "I Got 5 on It", and subsequently by rapper/record producer, Puff Daddy, on his #1 R&B single, "Satisfy You".
The group's original lineup consisted of Jay King, Valerie Watson, Samuelle Prater, Denzil Foster, and Thomas McElroy. Foster and McElroy soon left to form their own production team and focus on working with other acts. Prater, who had performed lead vocals on "Lean on Me," eventually left as well to pursue a solo career, but reunited with the group in 2009.
The group's next albums—beginning with Listen to the Message—were laced with an evolving social consciousness. Notable recordings include, "You Ain't No Friend Of Mine" from Under A Nouveau Groove, a dancehall-influenced version of the Gospel classic, "Oh, Happy Day," from A New Beginning, "Let It Go" from Everything Is Black, and "What Kind Of Love" from The Collection Volume I. The group also recorded "Step by Step" for the Who's That Girl soundtrack.
Club Nouveau was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Performance in 1987. Their version of "Lean on Me" was their most celebrated hit resulting in a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year in addition to winning the Grammy for Best R&B Song that same year. "Lean on Me" was also nominated for two American Music Awards, nominated and won a Bammy Award, BRE Drummer award, Bay Area Star award and won two NARM (National Association of Recording Merchandisers) awards.
The 2015 line-up consists of King, Watson, and Prater.