No 50: Oby Onyioha – I Want To Feel Your Love
(1981, “I Want To Feel Your Love”, Time Communications Ltd)
The perm and red lipstick wearing Oby Onyioha represented the flux of female singers leading the charge into the 80s after witnessing the 1st 20years of Nigeria’s independence having very little female representation in music. Armed with her toothy smile, the baby voiced pop vocalist was the 1st artist to sign to Time Communication Limited.
Oby was born & brought up in Aba, Abia (then Imo) and is the daughter of His Holiness Ogbaja (Prophet) Kama Onu Kama Onyioha, Head of the Godian Religion. Her biggest hit is “I Want To Feel Your Love” from her 1st and only album with the same title in 1981 which was written and produced by Lemmy Jackson for Time. The song was so big in Europe that recently in an auction on Ebay, her vinyl went for $700.
Presumed to have married and living in the UK, not much is known about her nowadays. Anyone who knows can leave a comment below. Yup! Get familiar!
No 49: Junior & Pretty – Monika
(1991, “Fufu Flavour“, Storm Productions)
The dynamic duo of best friends – Okechukwu ‘Junior’ Azike(RIP) and Nmachukwu ‘Pretty’ Okafor were the 1st rap group to garner massive commercial success in the 9ja music scene. Junior & Pretty, both from Imo State, got signed unto Storm Productions (now Storm Records) in 1989 after winning a rap competition called roadblock.
In late 1991, Junior & Pretty with their Afro Rap genre of Pidgin English rap dropped their 1stsingle “Monika” and in 1992, went ahead to drop their rap album “Fufu Flavour” which was said to have sold well over a million copies. They later signed unto giants Premier Music to drop 2 more albums in which their 2nd biggest hit “Bolanle” was in. “Monika” told the funny tales of a city boy who got married to a local bush girl called Monika and his misfortunes.
Junior & Pretty were role models to the youth as they didn’t do drugs and instead chose to invest their money wisely on properties and business ventures even with their ghetto humble beginnings. In 2004, Junior sadly passed away due to injuries he sustained from a motorcycle accident. He was married with two kids. The two friends were a team from 1986 to 2004 when Junior died. Pretty went on to start his own entertainment company and remains active in the industry till today.
Junior: ‘..I bring out the bread/bring out the butter/bring out macleans/bring out the tin-cutter..‘ ‘pana pana Monika don kill me‘
culled mostly from Pretty’s interview with Chux Ohai
No 48: Dizzy K Falola – Baby Kilode
(1983, “Be My Friend“, EMI (Nigeria))
As Michael Jackson was off the wall and rocking the charts with hit after hit from ’79 to the early eighties, a young Nigerian by the name of Kunle Falola aka Dizzy K Falola put Nigeria on the map by rocking our Naija world.
Dizzy K whose parents died when he was young, was a huge pop star who released about 5 or 6 albums between 1982 & 1989 and whose earlier work was definitely influenced by MJ. He had the title Falsetto King (Wande Coal is challenging for it now). He was signed to EMI Music and worked most of the time with the Na Who Do The Beat of the 80s –Producer Tony Okoroji (Dude was the ish!).
His biggest hit was the 1983 “Baby Kilode” off the “Be My Friend” album. The track was a heavy disco cut that still had traces of African sounds infused into it; even till today track still gets me to the dance floor. Baby Kilode means Baby, what is wrong and often reminded me of New Edition’s “Mr Telephone Man”. (My brother Lola had a tape back then dat had each song following each other ..happy memories)
He decided to cut secular music in 1989 and relocated to the UK where he’s a Born-again Christian and has released about 5 gospel albums – “My Joy”, “Power in the Blood”, “The Healing Songs”, “I’m Blessed”, and “Marvellous”
Now married with four children, Kunle Falola continues to reside in London, and runs a studio & label – Dizzy K and a centre called the Dizzy K Gospel Music Ministries and Centre that publicises youth problems.
He has a daughter who must have inherited his singing genes – Dami Kay. She’s a gospel singer on her dad’s label and recently released her album called “Young Child”. Buy here
culled mostly from Wikipedia
No 47: Ofege – Try and Love
(1974, “Try And Love“, EMI (Nigeria))
Ofege (If u just said who? Then you’re definitely an 80/90s baby) is probably Nigeria’s most popular school band till date.
Ofege, a boy band formed in 1973, was made up of teenage hippies who schooled in St. Gregory’s College, Lagos – Melvin ‘Noks’ Ukachi (lead vocals, guitar, percussion), M-Ike Meme (drums, vocals, percussion), Dapo Olumide(keyboards), Paul Alade (bass, vocals) & Felix Inneh (vocals, guitar, gong (???)) along with session efforts of Berkeley Jones (of BLO) and Soga Benson(of St. Gregs rock band Grotto) on guitar. They were the Nigerian Funk Doctors of their era dropping four albums along the way between 1974 and 1978. They were just groovy babe, mixing funk, psychedelic rock, pop & Afrobeat together.
They were in form 4 (SS1 for the new generation) when they dropped their groundbreaking & highly influential album “Try And Love” from which the hit single “Try And Love” is off. It’s my favourite Ofege track with its bad ass instrumentals, psych-crazy guitar solos and slightly off-key singing. It’s like a mix of Hendrix, Santana & Geraldo Pino all rolled in one. It can’t help but grow on u because it encapsulates a bunch of naturally high or stoned ‘rah-ray’ (stylish) students with little song-writing skills trying to show the Nigerian music industry how to play funk and men, did they rock it. Their album jacket even showed their style. The song and the album was produced by the great Odion Iruoje and the lyrics by Melvin Noks. My big bro said Ofege was a local slang for rebellion or an act of defiance.
After high school, they all went different directions mostly to Universities in the UK & Germany. Only 3 of them met to record the final album in 1978 – “How Do You Feel”. The lead vocalist – Melvin Noks released 2 solo albums as Melvin Ukachi, “Evolution” (1982) and “Ofege as One” (1984) before calling it a day.
Today, they have all pretty much left the music scene and settled down into non-stardom life; Most of them are still overseas. People have said that Dapo Olumide may now be a prominent pilot that was the former CEO of Virgin Nigeria (not verified).
culled mostly from With Comb & Razor
No 46: Remedies – Shakomo
(1998, “Peace Nigeria“, Kennis Music)
In 1997, after the dwindling success of the Yo-Pop genre, Rapper Eedris Abdulkareem, Crooner Edward Ashiedu-Brown aka Eddy ‘Remedy’ Montana & Entertainer Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye aka Tony Tetuila made Nigerian Hip-Hop history by dropping the historical smash single “Sakomo” to pioneer the Afro Hip-Hop culture that is in Nigeria today. Collectively the trio were known as Remedies
Although the song sampled MC Lyte’s “Keep On” beats, the song still had originality and creativity all over it utilising a musical genre that incorporated the best of Western rap and hip hop with Nigerian slangs and sounds …complete with memorable lines like ‘Do Dudu Dudu/Gimme some Fufu’(???)The track marked the beginning of hip-hop revolution in Nigeria. In truth, their success opened the doors for many.
The group dropped another single “Judile” before Tony Tetuila left to become a solo artist based on irreconcilable differences. The duo kept the name Remedies and in 1998 got signed unto the new label created by Kenny Ogungbe and Mr Dayo Adeneye called Kennis Music. Their former group member also got signed on as a solo artist. The split helped to create the 1st Hip-Hop beef in Nigeria as Tony Tetuila still bitter with the split went on to release the madt (© Saucekid) “Omode Meta” which featured Plantashun Boiz & Ruff, Rugged & Raw
Remedies went ahead to release their debut and only album “Peace Nigeria” in 1999 which became a runaway success. They were the new sensation all over Nigeria with crooner Eddy Montana even getting hitched to Kenny St Brown Ogunbe.
The group Remedies broke up in 2000 after both artists secured solo contracts with their label – Kennis Music. The group that had so much to offer didn’t just have enough time to deliver.
Individually they all became superstars (hmm.. apart from maybe Eddy) with even Eedris being voted in 2002 to carry the Olympic torch as a Nigerian Representative along with Pat Utomi & Segun Odegbami. Eedris & Tony still remain active in today’s music industry with Eedris coming back to the Kennis Music Label and dropping an album in 2010. Eddie’s last contribution to music was his “Leave Eddie Alone” album way back in 2004 and in 2008, I read an interview on him @ Nigeriafilms.com saying he wanted to stage a comeback.
Remedies – Shakomo
culled mostly from wetin-dey
No 45: Alex Zitto – Walakolombo
(1989, “Walakolombo”, PolyGram)
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Alex Zitto is a household name in Nigerian music. One can even say he attained legendary status in the Nigerian music industry. The half Nigerian, half Ghanian singer first professional shot at music was in the early 80s when he was enlisted by another Nigerian music legend EvangelistEbenezer Obey to become the bassist (bass guitar) for his famous Miliki Band.
In 1988, Alex Zitto won the Lekki Song Contest with his debut hit song “Tickle Me” which launched him unto bigger things. He got signed to the PolyGram International recording label and recorded his debut album with same name “Tickle Me“. The album was a huge success and the following year, he released his sophomore album “Walakolombo” which made him a household name in Nigeria. At that point, he was one of the most listened-to and sought-after Nigerian musicians. The massive hit single “Walakolombo” with his reggae laden vibes infused with RnB & a bit of calypso is still a crowd favourite till date. Go on! Press play after reading this.
I loved the video to bits back then with the hot chicks playing guitars like they were playing guitar hero 5 on wii.
In the middle of this success, Alex Zitto decided to up and leave Nigeria because of the political impasse that followed the annulled June 12 election which nearly crippled the economy of the country including the music industry. He finally settled in USA where he still resides.
Known to play different instruments like drums, bass guitar, guitar & keyboards, Alex Zitto is the founder and President of TIYGGI (Talent is Your God Given Industry) Inc., a state-of-the-art recording studio which is situated in Minnesota. The studio’s primary goal is to groom young talents into world-class performers and also nuture artists to reach their full potential beyond their limitations.
You can also listen to samples of new songs by Alex Zitto on his website. He hasn’t lost his touch.
culled mostly from TIYGGI
No 44: Kris Okotie – I Need Someone
(1980, “I Need Someone”, Phonodisk)
Kris Okotie is as big as they come! In an era where everyone had to be in a band, he decided to go solo thereby pioneering the way for solo acts.
Kris Okotie was born June 16, 1959 to Francis Idje and Cecilia Okotie, in Ethiope-West, Delta State (then Bendel State). As a growing child, he always loved to sing. While in secondary school at Edo College, Benin City, he belonged to the school’s Music Club and usually entertained groups of people. He never considered commercialising his talent until his first year at the University, when his father died.
Coming from a polygamous family, he knew he would have to become a breadwinner and the only thing he knew was music. He submitted his demo tape to iconic producer – Odion Iruoje.
In 1980, he got signed to Phonodisk and released his mammoth debut album “I Need Someone”. Mr Odion even arranged for one of the hottest bands at the time – BLO, to do his backup and was also nice enough to give him his jacket to use in his album photo-shoot. The massive single “I Need Someone” was refreshingly different and extremely melodious and was something everyone could sing to due to its simple and straightforward lyrics. The success of the song paved the way for other Pop artists to be heard and accepted quickly.
Kris Okotie knocked out 2 more LPs and helped produce his younger sister – Lorine Okotie’s “Single Girl” before returning to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka to complete his law degree. He left at the height of his pop music success to go to Bible school in the USA and afterwards in 1987, he started the Household of God Ministry in 1987.
In June, 2010, he announced that he would be running for President for a 3rd time (3rd time lucky) after losing to President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Umaru Yar’Adua (RIP) in the May 2003 & May 2007 elections respectively.
Kris Okotie – I Need SomeOne
culled mostly from Pastor Chris Okotie’s interview with Sam Eyoboka
No 43: Bright Chimezie & his Zigima Sound – African Style
(1990, “African Style”, Rogers All Stars Music)
It would be a crime not to feature the Zigima Master – Bright Chimezie a.k.a Okoro Junior on the top 50. But it is not on the mere coincidence that he is as old as the independent motherland, Nigeria (he was born on October 1, 1960) that this song was chosen. Rather it is because of the sheer creativity and quality of ‘African Style’.
Zigima means Ozi I ga-ama in Igbo language which means the message you ought to know. On ‘African Style’, the underlining message is that we should proud of being African and appreciate what God has given us. This serious message is surrounded with so much humour and creativity as Bright tells us of his 1st visit in 1974 to the whiteman’s land in which he brings along his own African food and how the whiteys thought he was performing magic due to the ‘swallowing Eba with Ogbono soup’ act. Whe he tells them it’s not magic, they kept shouting ‘POLICE-E-AY! The Black man wey dey here is committing SUICIDE’. I love this song.
The last born in the line up of seven children – 3 men & 4 women, Bright started as a member of the church choir. An indigene of Umuahia, Abia State and a strong believer and promoter of his culture, Bright got signed to Rogers All Stars Recording Company, Onitsha in 1984 and he is still with the label till date.
His latest album (2010) is called “Because of English” and he’s still very much into music. He is happily married with four boys and a girl and now spends most of his time in the East while still travelling everywhere for shows & performance (the most notable one was his Abuja performance for the Queen in 2003 ).
Peep the audio and video below.
No 42: Tony Tetuila ft Pastor Goody Goody – My Car
(2001, “My Car”, Kennis Music)
Anthony Olanrewaju Awotoye aka Tony Tetuila has always had a passion for singing and entertaining. He had always wanted to sing right from his days in secondary school. He didn’t get the chance to demonstrate his love of music however until he got to the Federal Polytechnic at Offa, Kwara State, where he had been admitted to study Business Administration.
He got involved in the promotion of musical shows on campus. He would invite Lagos DJs to come and disc jockey @ his poly along with underground artists to come do their thing He would later take to the stage himself alongside Idris, a DJ & MC. They met Eddy and formed the Hip-Hop group Remedies.
Tony left the group a short while after they dropped their hit single “Sakomo” and released his debut album in 1999 called “Morning Time” which had hits like “Omode Meta” on it. He signed up to Kennis Music and released the album “My Car” in 2001. The impact of the 1st single “My Car” was hard making Tony Tetuila an instant star. Even without the vocal range, he had delivered a monster hit which fetched many music awards & nominations.
“My Car” is a funny track about a guy whose car gets hit 3ce on the same day and the concept was based on true events that happened to him (not the Tinubu part sha!) His car got hit twice within the space of 2 days; it was at a time he had no doe and was out looking for people to raise him when suddenly he heard a bang. When they both came out, the other guy started speaking grammar and he said ‘Ah Oyinbo repete o, you have to fix my car.’ And thus the chorus was formed.
Tony’s still dropping albums and is still very active in the music industry. I love the song, the humour and PastorGoody Goody’s raga part. I’m sure this will bring smiles to your face. Especially those spectacles!
Pastor Goody Goody: (huhh) Somebody o, somebody wey/You don kissin ni, bobon kolo/Shey na girigiri you dey ake drive car/Shey is good/Somebody wey were, bobon kolo fit kolo/begin dey drive car ka kai kai/Don kolo, girigiri
culled mostly from wetin-dey
No 41: Chris Mba – Baby Don’t Cry
(1983, “Love Everlasting”, Chris Robinson Studios)
“Don’t blame it on the sunshine/ Don’t blame it on the moonlight/ Don’t blame it on the good times/ Blame it on the boogie”. Chris Mba was the Nigerian king of boogie in the 80s. Just like Dizzy K, he was heavily influenced by the King of Pop judging from the way he dressed, sang vocally and danced.
Even with this, he stood out from the pack due to the songs he chose to sing – they were lyrically correct and refreshingly sounding. Signed by Chris Robins Sound (CRS), this Abia-State music star went ahead in 1983 to drop his debut album “Love Everlasting” to non-stop accolades. The album was Recorded and mixed locally at Rogers All Stars Recording Studio in Umuokpu, Akwa. His biggest single “Baby Don’t Cry” is still very popular till date and kids born in the 90s can sing it word for word. 80s Super Producer Jake Sollo helped to produce the track. The song is a definite party starter and will get to your feet.
He went on to release 2 more LPs but this time with the label Polydor – “Take It To The Top” (1987) & “Hope” (1989).
At the peak of his career, he was forced to retire temporarily due to continuous knee problems. This was very sad cos his performances were hawt. In 2008, he was falsely accused for a crime he didn’t commit – carrying drugs. This wasn’t handled well by the media and they made the rumours spread even more. I was really happy when this got cleared. YES PEOPLE, CHRIS MBA WAS INNOCENT
Today, he is believed to reside in a Low-income area in Surulere and not much is really known about him and his problematic knees. We can only pray that God has healed him and he can now support himself financially.