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'Restless' Mania? How 'Drama' Queen Mary J. Blige Transformed a Weepy Soap Opera Theme Into an R&B Hit

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When Mary J. Blige stepped on stage at the Grammys to perform”No More Drama,” featuring a sample of the unmistakable Youngand the Restless theme, a murmur rose from those who hadn’theard the radio hit. Few notes evoke overwrought drama likethose maudlin piano chords. Without a troupe of dancers or aVegas set, Blige’s performance was more theatrical than all theMarmaladies and ‘N Syncers combined. By the end, Blige seemedclose to tears, and the audience was on its feet.

So what genius thought to sample a 31-year-old soap tune in anR&B song about finding inner peace? Actually, it was daytime TVfan Jimmy Jam, tunesmith for Janet Jackson and Mariah Carey, whoproduced and wrote ”Drama” with his partner, Terry Lewis. ”Myfavorite soap is The Young and the Restless,” Jam says. ”Ialways thought it would be cool to sample that intro and use itwith the idea of no more drama…. Mary said, ‘Have y’all beenfollowing me around? It’s perfect.”’

Perry Botkin and Barry DeVorzon originally wrote the mawkishtune for Stanley Kramer’s 1971 drama Bless the Beasts &Children. In 1973, Y&R’s producers chose the music to run behindits opening credits. And in 1976, it was reincarnated as”Nadia’s Theme” when it was used as accompaniment to Romaniangymnast Nadia Comaneci’s gold-medal-winning routines. Thanks toBlige, it’s now jerking tears from R&B fans.

”Somebody said, ‘Hey, your song is on MTV!”’ says Botkin. ”Isaid, ‘Huh?”’ Although he’d never heard of Blige, the composer,68, was delighted to get a writing credit. ”I woke up onemorning and I’m on the cutting edge of R&B,” says the composer,who now specializes in electronic music. ”These days, I’mcompletely removed from pop music — except when [royalty] checksarrive.” — Evan Serpick

Blade IISTARRINGWesley Snipes Kris KristoffersonNEW LINE RATED R108 MINUTES

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Blade IISTARRINGWesley Snipes Kris KristoffersonNEW LINE RATED R108 MINUTES