“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
Billboard Pop number one on 14th December 1968 (4 weeks)
Billboard R&B number one on 14th December 1968 (3 weeks)
The Andantes were on backing vocals, comprising Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps. They were the backing vocal group on most of Motown Records’ classic hit records. Listen to the brilliant string arrangements conducted by Paul Riser and the many tracks arranged by him over the last four decades.
“Never To Much”, Luther Vandross’ first Billboard R&B number hit single of his career,which peaked at Billboard R&B number one on the 24th October 1981,
In 1996, Kelly released one of his most successful singles with “I Believe I Can Fly”, an inspirational song originally released on the soundtrack for the film Space Jam. “I Believe I Can Fly” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and No. 1 on the UK Charts for three weeks and won three Grammy Awards in 1997.
Paul Riser is probably the most prolific arranger of hit songs of all time. He was the chief architect for strings and horn arrangements at Motown.
Among Riser’s biggest hits as an arranger are “My Girl” (The Temptations), “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone” (The Temptations), for which he won a Grammy Award, both versions of “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye)(Gladys Knight & The Pips), “My Cherie Amour”, (Stevie Wonder), both versions of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” (Diana Ross) (Marvin Gaye & Tammy Terrell), “If I Were Your Woman” (Gladys Knight & The Pips) and “Tears of A Clown” (Smokey Robinson & The Miracles). He is also the composer of “What Becomes of The Broken Hearted” (Jimmy Ruffin).
Outside the Motown organisation, he achieved hits records for many artists including Rose Royce’s “Car Wash”, certified gold and platinum by the RIAA and BPI, “Never Too Much” performed by Luther Vandross, certified gold and platinum by the RIAA, and Phil Colllins’ “Two Hearts”, with silver certification by the BPI, “I Believe I Can Fly” (R. Kelly), certified gold and platinum by the RIAA and BPI.
His arrangements can also be heard on recording projects for such artists as The Carpenters, Carly Simon, Quincy Jones, The Doobie Brothers, Tom Jones, Natalie Cole, Pharoah Sanders, Kiki Dee, Johnny Mathis, Patti LaBelle, Stephanie Mills, Anita Baker, Roberta Flack, Michael McDonald, Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige.
As we fast forward to the 1990s and the early 21st century, we witness other great achievements by Paul Riser, collaborating with R. Kelly on the album “Chocolate Factory” which has sold 2.5 million copies in America since its release in 2003.
He was responsible for the string arrangement on Keith Washington’s R&B number one single; “Kissing You”(1991) , extracted from the gold album “Making Time For Love” on the Qwest label. He is one of the few arrangers to have achieved hit records over four decades.
BPI (British Phonographic Industry) and RIAA (Record Industry Association of America)