Song:If Only You Knew
Album:The Essential Patti LaBelle
Patti LaBelle had her greatest success on MCA Records with her number one hit On My Own in 1986. Before that she had a brief run on Philadelphia International. If Only You Knew was Patti's first number one R&B hit in 1983. By the time she signed with MCA, Patti knew what was needed for success. After LaBelle split up in 1975, Patti signed with Epic Records. She recorded four albums for Epic. The first two were with LaBelle producer David Rubinson and then one each with Skip Scarborough and Allen Toussaint. The albums didn't perform as well as expected and there were no hit singles. So Patti moved to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff's Philadelphia International (PI) label in 1981. This label was very successful in the 70s. But by this time, they were coming to the end of their run. Patti also appeared in the Broadway musical Your Arms Too Short To Box With God. If Only You Knew is from Patti's second of three PI albums I'm In Love Again and it was her first #1 R&B hit. Patti worked on the album while appearing on Broadway and shooting the film A Soldier's Story. She worked with several producers supervised by Gamble. If Only You Knew was produced by PI house producer Dexter Wansel and Wansel wrote the song with frequent songwriting partner Cynthia Biggs. When they argued over the lyrics, Gamble solved the dispute and that's why he gets a songwriting credit. The song also crossed over to pop and the album was certified Gold. Patti recorded one more album for PI and then they changed distributors from Columbia to Capitol. They would close in 1987. Meanwhile Patti recorded New Attitude for the film Beverly Hills Cop. When that was a top ten hit, Patti signed with MCA and that's when she had her greatest success. But without her success at PI, maybe MCA doesn't sign her. This 2CD comp covers Patti's entire career. Here's Patti LaBelle performing If Only You Knew on Soul Train 1983.