Wayne Cooper: Age 29 | Cause Of Death: AIDS

(b. 14 Mar 1955 New York, USA; d. 22 Sep 1984, New York, USA)


Over the years, Cameo has reflected the numerous changes in the world of funk. When they started in 1974, they frequently toured  with Parliament and Funkadelic, which is a clue to how their  sound was styled. Even though they were in the hard funk vein of  George Clinton’s classic outfits, they were not copycats. As the ’70s became the ’80s, they started to play around with their sound slightly. In 1984, they found a successful style — the synth- powered title track to their album She’s Strange. But that only hinted at what was to come. With 1986’s Word Up, Cameo recorded a funk classic — bass-driven and synth heavy, the album was the sound of the mid-’80s. “Word Up” was also the song that broke them into the mainstream, reaching the Top Ten on the pop charts; thankfully, the album didn’t   have just one good song, it had a whole album’s worth. Word Up proved to be the pinnacle of Cameo’s career. Although the group kept recording and touring into the ’90s, their style became a bit formulaic, as synthesizers and robotic funk took precedent over songs in their later records. By the mid-’90s, Cameo was, for most intents and purposes, finished as a recording artist, yet they still could tour successfully. ~Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide