The Time are definitely a core artist here on The Beat Chicago
This week we’ll load up the Delorean and head back to Minneapolis in 1982. Before Purple Rain, before Jungle Love, before The Bird because this is when their floor show was on fire! They were stylin’ and profilin’ soon after Prince’s ‘Minneapolis Revue’ tour and the band was performing on all eight cylinders.
ABOUT THE TIME
In high school, Day was in a band with Prince and André Cymone and the trio formed an early band managed by Day’s mother called “Grand Central,” later renamed “Shampayne.” Later, Prince embarked on a solo career but retained Cymone for his backing band. Day and Cymone began to plan a side group that would focus more on R&B, while Prince would continue to explore various musical styles. The Time was composed of 4 members from an earlier funk group called “Flyte Tyme,” but the lead singer had not been chosen. Charles Alexander Cobb, of Saint Paul, was considered but he turned it down. Sue Ann Carwell was auditioned; and Alexander O’Neal nearly became The Time’s lead singer, but dropped out due to payment negotiations. Day, who was now in a band called “Enterprise”, allowed Prince to have a song called “Partyup” for his Dirty Mind album, and Prince would soon return the favor by giving Day the job of lead singer. Day would suggest guitarist Jesse Johnson, who completed the band’s ensemble.
The Time’s most prolific and visible period came in 1984, when Day played the antagonist to Prince in his feature film Purple Rain, and later in Graffiti Bridge (1990), which helped establish Day’s playboy stage presence. Typically escorted by his valet, “Jerome” (Jerome Benton), Day won fans with his exaggerated vanity (“Jerome bring me my mirror!”) and strutting bravado (“Ain’t nobody bad like me!”), acting as a comic foil to Prince’s romantic, sensitive lead. This persona was further exploited for comic effect on The Time’s records, on songs such as “Chili Sauce” and “If the Kid Can’t Make You Come” from the album Ice Cream Castle.
That album, the group’s most popular, is best remembered for the infectious singles “Jungle Love” and the Rufus Thomas influenced, “The Bird.” With their palpable pop energy and catchy choruses, both songs were hits on both urban and pop radio.
With the breakup of The Time in 1984, Day began his solo career. In 1985, Day released his solo debut Color of Success. The album featured the singles “The Oak Tree” as well as the title track and the quiet storm ballad “Don’t Wait For Me”.
In 1986 Morris Day married Judith Day. They were married for 22 years, until 2008. They had three children together.
In 1988 he starred as Curtis on the short-lived and poorly received series, Heart & Soul, along with Tisha Campbell who went on to fame on ‘Martin’.
It wasn’t until 1990 that The Time scored a #1 R&B hit with “Jerk Out,” a Dance-funk cut from their reunited fourth album, Pandemonium. This album also featured the original members of the band. The same year, Day formed his own girl band (not unlike Prince’s Vanity 6/Apollonia 6) called The Day Zs. The group’s first and only album release was produced by Day and he sang on one of the tracks called “Green Acres.”
From that high point, Day’s success began to wane. The general decline of Prince’s popularity soon after did not help, and Day’s public visibility and creative output waned considerably.
Day came out of his self-imposed retirement because of his fans’ support. Day has remained a popular concert draw since the late 1990s, fronting a revamped lineup of The Time, including originals Jellybean Johnson on drums and Monte Moir on keyboards. The band was invited to perform on Prince’s direct-to-video concert film, “Rave Un2 The Year 2000”, in December 1999.
Day has also appeared regularly in local television commercials for a Toyota dealership in the Atlanta area.
As of 2007, Day is band leader on the TV One program Baisden After Dark.
He reunited with the original members of The Time after 18 years for a performance with Rihanna at the 50th Grammy Awards show.
Morris Day and The Time performed at the 2008 HR Florida State Conference.
Morris Day is now performing with his new band called The Original 7ven. The band includes most of the members of the original band The Time, hence the name.
The new album was ‘Condensate’ was released in 2011.
On February 10, 2017, Morris Day released a new single called “Over that Rainbow”. The song, penned in the style of Prince’s The Beautiful Ones, is an homage from Day to his longtime friend who died on April 21, 2016.
On Friday, November 24, 2017, Morris released the single “One Night Stand” a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, a funk-infused club-style song about no strings attached love.
So what’s Morris Day been up to? In addition to his roles in Purple Rain (1984) and Graffiti Bridge (1990), Day also appeared in small parts in films such as Richard Pryor’s Moving (1988) and the Andrew Dice Clay film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990). Day’s presence on the screen decreased until, in 2001, he returned to film in Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, performing “Jungle Love” with The Time and dancing with the movie’s stars in the film’s coda, and being introduced emphatically by Jason Mewes’ character as “Morris Day and The motherfuckin’ Time!”.
Day also appeared on the small screen in 1990 when he portrayed the character Lamarr on ABC’s short-lived sitcom New Attitude. He guest-starred on the sitcom Eve as a pimp who wanted Eve’s fashion boutique to design a flamboyant suit to match his witty personality, and appeared as himself in an episode on the series Moesha, attempting to file a lawsuit against Moesha’s ex-boyfriend Q, who used a sample from “The Oak Tree” without permission. He also appeared on 227 in the 80s.
He appeared opposite James Avery and Matthew Stewart in a pilot called Heart & Soul.
Morris Day will provide the singing voice of J.J. in The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019)
Check out some of the biggest hits, interviews, videos and more from Morris Day and The Time below
THE TIME ONLINE
Find The Time playing in many of the mixes we feature each weekend on our Friday Night Jams and Saturday Night Live Ain’t No Jive Chicago Dance Party. Click here for mixes