This Day in ’86: Nu Shooz, “I Can’t Wait”

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
This Day in Music

32 years ago today, Valerie Day and John Smith – known collectively as Nu Shooz – released the single that would prove to be the duo’s signature song as well as their biggest chart hit.

Originally recorded in late 1984, “I Can’t Wait” made its initial debut on the 1984 Nu Shooz EP entitled THA’S RIGHT. Nestled between their independently-released debut LP, CAN’T TURN IT OFF, which emerged in 1982, and their sophomore album / major-label debut, POOLSIDE, in 1986, the THA’S RIGHT EP was a regional hit in Nu Shooz’s home base of Portland, Oregon, as was “I Can’t Wait,” but it wasn’t until the song found its way to the Netherlands and was remixed by noted Dutch DJ Peter Slaghuis that it caught the attention of Atlantic Records.

When Atlantic issued the remixed version of “I Can’t Wait” in late February 1986, it became a cross-genre smash, hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, #2 on the R&B  Singles chart, and #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart. The band’s next single, “Point of No Return,” also provided Nu Shooz with a #1 dance hit, and although it’s not as well-remembered, it was also a top-40 hit in its own right, climbing to #28 on the Hot 100, resulting in the POOLSIDE album going gold before the end of the year.

In 1987, Nu Shooz was honored by the Grammy Awards with a nomination as Best New Artist. Alas, they didn’t win, but perhaps that’s for the best in the long run: instead of fading promptly into oblivion, they returned with a new album in 1988 – TOLD U SO – and earned a #17 R&B hit and #41 pop hit with “Should I Say Yes?”

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