Formed in New Jersey
Surface comnprised of:
David 'Pic' Conley (b. 27th December 1953, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.)
Bernard Jackson (b. 11th July 1959, Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A.)
David Townsend (b. 17th May 1955, Inglewood, California, U.S.A. d. 26th October 2005, Northridge, California, U.S.A.)
This '80s soft soul vocal trio known for the ballads, 'Closer Than Friends' and the million-selling singles 'Shower Me With Your Love' and the number one pop hit 'The First Time' had one of their first charting records as artists signed to dance music pioneer Salsoul Records.
'Falling in Love,' co-written by Surface member David Conley, doesn't have much in common with the aforementioned titles other than the group name and a Conley flute solo
The single made it to number 84 R & B in summer 1983 and the U.K. pop charts.
Singer Bernard Jackson who grew up in Stamford, Connecticut, got into the music business through his cousin who lived in New York.
Seizing the opportunity, he relocated to New York and began performing around the city.
While doing a show in Stamford, his godfather suggested that he contact his nephew David Townsend who was also in the music business.
Townsend, a former touring guitarist for The Isley Brothers, was the son of singer / songwriter / producer Ed Townsend who had a hit with 'For Your Love' in summer 1958 and wrote The Impressions' 'Finally Got Myself Together (I'm a Changed Man)' and co-wrote Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On.'
Around 1973, Townsend joined a band called the Port Authority where he met David 'Pic' Conley.
Townsend, whose father shared hit songwriting tips with him, began writing songs with Conley.
After Townsend and Conley met Jackson it was decided that they'd write songs together.
The trio became staff writers for EMI Music.
The trio became performers using the name Surface and moved to Los Angeles.
An EMI Music executive brought one of their songs, 'Let's Try Again,' to the attention of Larkin Arnold of Columbia Records.
He signed the group to Columbia and their first single 'Let's Try Again' charted number 80 R & B in late 1986.
The debut album Surface included the smooth and sweet 'Happy,' which hit number two R & B for two weeks in early 1987, 'Lately' (number eight R & B), and the reissued 'Let's Try Again.'
The next LP, '2nd Wave' yielded 'I Missed' (number three R & B), 'Closer Than Friends' (number one R & B for two weeks in early 1989), the wedding standard 'Shower Me With Your Love' (gold, number one R & B / number five pop), 'You Are My Everything' (number one R & B for two weeks), and 'Can We Spend Some Time' (number five R & B).
Jackson brought the sheet music to a song he had written in 1986 to his friend, songwriter Brian Simpson, who had a recording studio in his garage.
After listening to the finished demo tape, Jackson thought that he had a hit.
Hiring a mobile 24-track recording studio truck to capture his vocal in the best professional conditions, Jackson sang 'The First Time' in Simpson's house.
'The First Time' was the first single from Surface's '3 Deep' album and went gold hitting number one R & B and holding the number one pop for two weeks in early 1991.
While 'The First Time' was topping the charts, Surface were one of the presenters at the American Music Awards and were enthusiastically congratulated.
The hits continued with 'All I Want Is You' (number eight R & B, early 1991) and 'Never Gonna Let You Down.'
'You're the One' billed as Surface featuring Bernard Jackson made it to number 24 R & B, summer 1991.
The group's last charting single was 'A Nice Time for Lovin' included on their 1991 greatest hits LP 'The Best Surface: A Nice Time for Loving'.
Conley and Townsend also produced sides on Rebbie Jackson ('Reaction') that are on 'The Rebbie Jackson Collection' from U.K. label Expansion distributed by Sony / 3MV.
David Townsend, was found dead in Northridge, California, on the 26th of October 2005.
Surface (Columbia Records 1987)
3 Deep (Columbia Records 1990)
The First Time (Sony Records 1990)
2nd Wave (Columbia Records 1991)
A Nice Time for Lovin' (Sony Records 1992)
Love Zone (Import Records 1998)
Perfect 10 (Sony Records 1998)