Larry Blackmon has been synonymous with CAMEO since the beginning of his career in the music industry, growing up in New York City, and digesting the sounds of the city streets. The kind of non-stop activity that Larry Blackmon creates has consistently propelled the across-the-board success that Blackmon and CAMEO have enjoyed for over Twenty-Five years. Larry Blackmon made his place in the archives of urban music because he possesses a determined mind and spirit. As an accomplished writer/producer/director, Blackmon was one of the first to create theme-based videos such as “She’s Strange and “Attack Me With Your Love”; which used the acting genius of Laurence Fishburne, Debbie Morgan, and Ann Magnusum appearing in the clip. L.B.’s abiding search for excellence is exhibited through his endeavors to constantly improve his creativity through the study of dance, acting and music.
A sought-after writer/producer/director/ musician, Blackmon has produced projects for several outstanding and chart topping artists including: Bobby Brown, Chaka Kahn, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arsenio Hall & 8 Ball & MJG, just to name a few. In addition, honor and respect from many artists have been paid to Larry Blackmon through the replication of CAMEO’s unique funk-filled sounds.
A multitude of recording artists have re-created and recorded versions of their favorite CAMEO music and songs. Artists such as TuPac, Boys II Men, Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. One of the most recent projects Blackmon has participated and performed on is the HIT Single “LOVERBOY” by world-renowned artist Mariah Carey!
It was Blackmon who popularized the AWE” - that has been imitated, but never duplicated! Likewise, the phrase “WORD UP” has never lost its appeal with the urban population.
Blackmon emerged as a recording artist via the 1977 debut LP. CARDIAC ARREST, (which included the hit “Rigor Mortis.”), and since then Blackmon/CAMEO has enjoyed an action-packed, chart filled career.
Two more albums (WE ALL KNOW WHO WE ARE & UGLY EGO), (released in 1977 and 1978 consecutively) helped establish CAMEO with the music buyers. But it was their fourth LP- SECRET OMEN (1979) featuring the hit singles “I Just Want to Be” - (CAMEO’s first Gold Single), and “Sparkle” that began the Group’s journey to a whole new level of popularity—achieving “Gold Status”. From this album on, all of CAMEO’s LPs went G0LD-Plus.
Over time, the group ballooned up to 11 members, but in 1982 CAMEO pared down to its core musicians – Larry Blackmon, Tomi Jenkins, Nathan Leftenant, Charlie Singleton, and Aaron Mills. Having refocused, the group then saw some of their largest successes.
Between 1980 and 1985, the group released the following 7 LP’s - Scoring Top 10 Black Music Hits with their singles:
CAMEOSIS - ( 1980); which featured the hit title song “Shake YourPants”
FEEL ME - (1980); including “Keep It Hot” & “Your Love Takes Me Out”
KNIGHTS OF THE SOUND TABLE – (1981) with “Freaky Dancing”
ALLIGATOR WOMAN – (1982) a smash hit single “Flirt” and critic’s favorite.
STYLE – (1983) including “Slow Moving” & “Heaven Only Knows”
SHE’S STRANGE – (1984) an acclaimed work including their first Pop Success and #1 hit title song in the US & Great Britain; it also included the controversial “Talking Out The Side Of Your Neck.”
SINGLE LIFE – (1985) a ground breaking record including the hit singles “Attack Me With Your Love” and the tile cut “Single Life”
CAMEO’s worldwide breakthrough with the WORD UP- LP shook things up in 1986! This platinum-selling album was an international smash! The album was Grammy nominated for the “Record of the Year.” And after opening the show with a rousing performance at the “1st Annual- 1987 Soul Train Music Awards”, CAMEO took home two awards that night—“Best Single/Group” and “Album of the Year” for WORD UP. The title track was also a TOP POP hit and # 1 Black Music Single. The second release from this album “Candy” did equally as well while the cut “Back & Forth” was a TOP 3 R&B hit.
The following year Cameo’s worldwide recognition continued with the release of the Blackmon-produced LP MACHISMO – (1987). This album featured the extraordinary Miles Davis, with Blackmon & Miles collaborating on the single “In the Night”. The collection also included a social commentary - “Skin I’m In ” featuring such talented musicians as Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Bernard Wright, Randy Brecker and Michael Brecker. The year was also marked by CAMEO receiving the American Music Award for “ Favorite Group/Soul, R&B.”
CAMEO has maintained with a string of successful albums. On the list: REAL MEN WEAR BLACK – ( 1990 ); EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE – (1991); IN THE FACE OF FUNK – (1994); NASTY – ( 1996) a live album recorded during a sold-out performance at Atlanta’s landmark, Fox Theatre and SEXY SWEET THING–(2000)
BLACKMON is always anxious to take on new challenges in the music industry, Blackmon moved in on radio from a different prospective and went to work with KISS 104.1- Radio in Atlanta as their afternoon drive-time “ Celebirity Air Personality.” Larry Blackmon took to the radio microphone like he’d been doing it for decades – and, of course, he had. His affinity for the recording industry and those artists who make their living from it, made him the perfect for role of interviewer; and he racked up the ratings during his stay on the airwaves. (Station Rating increased from a 7 to 3 for his time slot.)
It is no accident that Larry Blackmon is a style & trend–setter; An icon in the music industry! It is no accident that CAMEO is a pacemaker.
These two entities have been and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with!