The Hidden Rocker on Jeffrey Osborne's "Stay with Me Tonight"

Jeffrey Osborne's "Stay with Me Tonight"
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A&M Records

Jeffrey Osborne, the former singer/drummer of '70s soul band L.T.D., put together some undisputed soul classics of the '80s, including "On the Wings of Love" and his biggest hit, "You Should Be Mine (The Woo Woo Song)." But we have to give it up for the title track to his second solo album (and first gold-selling release), 1983's Stay with Me Tonight.

The song, a moderate hit on the pop charts but one of Osborne's 11 Top 10 R&B hits, trades in his usual smooth sensibility to a rawer, funkier, more sensual sound. "Stay with Me Tonight," put simply, is the sound of a date going very well.

One of the song's highlights is a screaming guitar solo that comes in after the bridge, a rarity for most R&B radio hits. Just who is responsible for that burst of six-string supremacy? Find the liner notes to the album and you might be surprised to know it was recorded by none other than Brian May, the guitarist in the British rock band Queen. (May does not appear in the video, but the album's producer, jazz-soul legend George Duke, can be seen playing keyboards in the clip.)

May was not known for session work, neither he nor Osborne have ever really commented on how the pair came together on not only the title track but the album's closing track "Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right." But a look at their shared history could offer a clue: for most of Osborne's career, he was managed by a man named Jack Nelson, who served as Queen's manager for their first five years as a band.

Nelson sadly passed away in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19, and May paid a sweet tribute to his old friend on Instagram, which you can see below.

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