The duo of Brian and Tony Gold made a name for themselves in the 1990s churning out songs like “Sherrie Baby,” “Bulls Eye,” “Can You,” “A Love That’s Real,” “Compliments on Your Kiss” (an international hit which featured Red Dragon), and the cover of “Poison” which featured Dennis Brown.
Missing in action on the local scene for quite sometime now, the duo has been busy working with the Big Yard camp, to which they are now signed. The duo is busy these days preparing for their debut Big Yard project, which upon completion will be distributed through a deal with Universal/MCA Records.
I recently caught up with Brian and Tony Gold at Devon House in Kingston, Jamaica shortly before they left the island to join Shaggy on his tour of South Africa. “Brian and Tony Gold have been touring and doing a lot of studio work. We have never left the music scene. People have been asking what happened to us, but a year doesn’t pass that we don’t release a song. We have songs playing all the time,” said Tony.
The duo is featured on “2 Way,” the first single from Rayvon’s new album. The single also features Shaggy and Rik Rok, and has been getting a lot of attention at rhythmic and mainstream radio in the US over the past few weeks.
Known to their families and friends as Brian Thompson and Patrick Morrison, the duo was formed in 1986 after they met up at the finals of the Tastee Talent Contest, where they were finalists. “We both were contestants and we placed first and second (Brian placed first). We later linked up with Mikey Bennett and we decided to form a duo, and since then we have been going at it,” explained Brian.
The first song they recorded as a duo was “Ebony Eyes” on the Red Rock label. “I think that was the first and only song that came out on that label,” joked Tony.
The song opened a few bolted doors for the duo, as they caught the attention of producers such as King Jammys and Bobby Digital.
“Bulls Eye” was their first hit but the big break came in 1990 when they teamed with Dennis Brown on a remake of “Poison.” Suddenly, the duo was on almost every gig being staged locally.
“We listened to a lot of foreign artistes in those days. “Poison” came to us and we decided to do a remake of it. After the song came out, people came to us saying that some people had done over our song, without realizing that we had covered the people them song,” said Brian. “We were young in the business back then, and Dennis Brown heard us recording the song, and he decided to join us on it. It was a privilege working with him. He even invited us to come and perform with him at Inseparable at the Arena, and we did the song then for the very first time. It was a great feeling,” said Tony.
The song “Compliments on Your Kiss” could’ve been bigger than it actually was but the intervention of their record company, Pow Wow Records, derailed the song’s success. The duo recalled that the contract that they signed with the label didn’t benefit them. “We did an album for them and nothing really happened. No form of promotion was done on the album and it bugged us for a couple of years. We couldn’t do what we wanted to do, because we were tied to a contract and we couldn’t record for anyone or get out of the contract. We decided that we couldn’t sit and do nothing, so we started to record for other producers.”
They added “We did Compliments’ with Red Dragon for Sly and Robbie. They released the song and Island Records decided to release it on their label. We did a video and the song became big. While it was going up the charts, Pow Wow Records heard about the song’s success and they started calling all over the place wanting to find out who we recorded the song for, and they wanted to sue Island Records. Automatically, Island wasn’t going to push the song any further knowing that another company was trying to claim the song. The song got stuck at #2 and sat there for a couple of weeks and then it started falling off the charts.” Pow Wow reaped all monies earned from the song. “At the time we did the song without their consent so they wanted all of the benefits. Island wanted to do some work with us, but because of what happened, everything just got squashed,” said Tony.
The experience served as a learning experience for the duo, and they recommend that recording artistes should go through contracts with a good lawyer. “Whatever it is, make sure it is a good contract,” explained Brian.
The Big Yard link happened in the mid 1990s while at a performance at Japan Splash. The duo was approached by Robert Livingston, Shaggy’s manager, who asked them to sing harmonies on one of the deejay’s songs. That same year while Shaggy was going on a US tour, Livingston asked them to join as opening acts.
The current album the duo is working on should emerge around April of 2002. “We had to pause the album a bit to give way to the other projects coming out of the Big Yard camp. Rik Rok’s album is now completed, so too is Rayvon’s. So it’s our turn now,” said Tony.
Christopher Birch, Sting, Mikey Fletcher and Shaggy are among those who contributed to the upcoming album. “Robert is the big man–him oversee everything. Dave Kelly also produced a track. About 12 songs will be on the finished product. It’s straight up Brian and Tony Gold that will be on the album. Pure original stuff,” Tony revealed.
They remain optimistic that the success of Rayvon’s “Two Way” will result in spin off benefits for their upcoming project. “If that song hits big, it will make people realize that Brian and Tony Gold are still around,” said Brian.
Brian who was born in England moved to Jamaica at age 3. Tony is originally from Manchester. “Our friends are excited when they see us on MTV or BET. It’s a good feeling and we remain grounds with them. We are just doing a job. Brian and Tony Gold are the same people from day one. Nothing has changed,” Tony affirmed.
Touring with the Big Yard crew over the past few years has constantly kept the duo out of the island and away from their family and friends. “Over the years we have learned how to deal with it, and we keep in touch with our family and kids every day. When we are performing on television with Shaggy, we make all kinds of signals cause we know they are watching and they know that those signals are for them.”
The duo recommends positive lyrics, a professional attitude, discipline, dedication and an understanding of the music business to upcoming artistes in the business.