I would imagine that most people who listened to top 40 music in the 1980s could pick out a song that falls into what was called the Minneapolis sound. This was the subgenre of music which basically traces its roots back to Prince, though many other acts had a similar sound. One such group was the mid-80s one-hit wonder Ta Mara and the Seen, whose one hit was “Everybody Dance”.
Who were Ta Mara and the Seen?
The story of Ta Mara and the Seen starts with the woman who would be renamed “Ta Mara”, Margie Cox. Per the group’s AllMusic biography, Margaret Cox was born in Morocco but moved to the slightly different culture of Minneapolis as a child. Ms. Cox sang with several different bands and even replaced the departed Cynthia Johnson on Lipps Inc.’s final album, 4.
Margie Cox caught the attention of Jesse Johnson, former guitarist for the Minneapolis band The Time. It was Mr. Johnson who gave Ms. Cox the stage name “Ta Mara”, and it was also Mr. Johnson who would produce the eponymous debut album of Ta Mara and the Seen.
(Ta Mara and the Seen peaked at #54 on Billboard’s Top Pop Albums chart. Album ℗1985 A&M Records.)
The lead single from Ta Mara and the Seen, “Everybody Dance”, is about as straightforward a song as one could ever find. Basically, the title of the song is its meaning. It’s a good representation of the Minneapolis sound, with (as one might expect with its title) a good beat.
“Everybody Dance” entered Billboard’s Hot 100 on October 12, 1985, charting at #87 (chart | magazine). It had a rather slow ascent up the charts, finally peaking at #24 for the week ending January 18, 1986 (chart | magazine). It spent a decent 21 weeks on the chart altogether, but its performance during those weeks, and particularly its peak position, was not enough to land the song on the year-end chart.
The single performed better on the R&B chart (which was called the Hot Black Singles chart at the time). It spent 19 weeks on that chart, peaking at #3 for the week ending November 16, 1985 (chart – Billboard Pros only | magazine).
After “Everybody Dance”
Ta Mara and the Seen yielded two more singles which hit the R&B chart, though neither landed on the Hot 100. Following that, the group released a follow-up album in 1988, Blueberry Gossip, which did not chart. No singles from that album made the Hot 100, though the title single did land on the lower half of the R&B chart. Following this, A&M dropped the group, which broke up shortly afterward. Margie Cox’s Wikipedia entry* states that she worked with Prince afterward. Eventually, in 2003, she finally released a solo album, Margie’s Little Demo.
Both albums by Ta Mara and the Seen have long been out of print. “Everybody Dance”, though certainly not heard on radio, did find its way onto a compilation album, which is how it’s available just below.
* I hate referencing Wikipedia, but that portion of Ms. Cox’s entry wasn’t sourced.
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