Though husband-and-wife soul duo Ashford & Simpson were responsible for writing several memorable US No.1 records – Ray Charles' "Let's Go Get Stoned" (1966), Marvin Gaye And Tammi Terrell's "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" (1969) and Diana Ross' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (1970) – the title track of their 1984 album, Solid, was the first of their own singles to reach pole position in the US R&B charts. The resounding success of both the single and the album of the same name was the culmination of almost two decades' worth of hard work that had seen the duo rise from being staff songwriters and producers at Berry Gordy's Motown label in the late-60s to becoming a hit-making singer-songwriter duo at Warner Bros in the '70s and Capitol in the '80s. They'd already racked up 27 charting singles in the States before Solid even came along.
Boasting a super-infectious chorus, "Solid" is an uplifting matrimonial anthem about the bonds of love and togetherness over a chugging beat. While the single was flying high in the charts around the world (it soared to No. 3 in the UK), Solid the album came in its wake. It was the duo's third LP for Capitol, the twelfth of their career, and, like their previous work, was self-produced and featured all original songs. The duo's '70s work had been organic and richly orchestrated, but Solid, by contrast, showed them embracing the synthetic aesthetic that was beginning to define R&B music in the '80s – a musical landscape dominated by synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines. Though its title track was the undoubted sonic keystone of Solid, it didn't dwarf the rest of the album into insignificance. Other highlights include the harder edged "Outta The World" and the rock-inflected "Babies."
But it was on the set's romantic ballads where the duo played their trump cards. "Honey I Love You" is a simple declaration of affection, while the dreamy, mid-tempo, saxophone-laced "Cherish Forever More" is a making-up-after-breaking-up plea for forgiveness and understanding. Solid represented the commercial peak for Ashford & Simpson, who only made three more albums together after that. Over 30 years on, Solid remains the undoubted jewel in Ashford & Simpson's crown. Reissued on vinyl in celebration of Capitol Records' 75th anniversary.