Steve Arrington

2017 saw our first American act to take the main stage at Summer Soulstice, and who finer than former Slave legend Steve Arrington to take that accolade…

It was all the way back in 1975 that Steve began his music career proper, joining a Toledo, Ohio based band called The Murphy’s. Soon after, he relocated to San Francisco where he learned latin percussion and drumming, playing with the likes of Coke Escovedo and Sheila E.

Steve joined Slave in 1978 for their third album ‘Concept’ & by the 4th album had become the lead vocalist for the band. He remained with Slave until 1982, contributing greatly to the innovative Dayton outfit’s most successful period, as dance floor classics like ‘Watching You’, ‘Just A Touch Of Love’, ‘Snap Shot’ and ‘Wait For Me’ all bearing his trademark tenor vocal.

After leaving Slave, he formed Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame, signing for Atlantic Records and soon enjoyed top 10 successes with the singles ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘Dancin’ In The Key Of Life’. But his life would change not long after and he decided leave to the music business at the height of his career to join the church and become a minister.

He returned to recording music in 2009 with the self-released album ‘Pure Thang’, which lead to collaborating the following year with modern funk lord Dam-Funk & Stones Throw Records. By this time, his Slave hit “Just a Touch of Love” was 32 years old, but when he performed it, fans half his age knew every word. Steve’s music had come full circle. “I saw myself as being able to connect with a new generation and they embraced me,” he says. Armed with that fresh perspective, he began touring Europe & the US, as well as revisiting old demos and other tapes found in the Atlantic vaults. This led to the planning of ‘Way Out: Steve Arrington 80-84’, a retrospective encompassing all of his classics, his first solo single, the Slave backed ‘Summertime Lovin’’ / ‘Special Effects From Mars’, hits from his early solo albums and a handful of unreleased/previously unfinished tracks featuring the Hall of Fame and reworked with his current band.

While still in Slave, Steve chose the nickname ‘The Invade’, he continues “with Slave they said my style was fresh and unique. We liked nicknames, so I chose The Invade, meaning taking it somewhere else, putting a different slant on things… a unique approach.” Over the years Steve’s songs have have ‘invaded’ the lives of hip-hop, dance and R&B fans through samples by Jay-Z, Jermaine Dupri, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Mariah Carey, Masters At Work & many, many more. His music, both with Slave & as a solo artist, helped create the blueprint of the 90’s G-Funk sound and it continues to influence to this day.

We were so privileged to have the great man join us on the Soulstice Main Stage that June evening in 2017, giving us one of our finest live performances ever… Because God made him funky!

Steve Arrington live on stage at Summer Soulstice 2017.
Photo by Paul Hodson © Summer Soulstice Ltd.

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