*Twenty-four years after Brenda Russell’s sultry ballad “Piano in the Dark” charted in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, the song returns for a second run as part of rapper Flo Rida’s new dance floor-ready track “I Cry,” which bows this week at No. 81 on the same chart. (It also debuts on Rap Songs at No. 25 and Pop Songs at No. 36.)
“Cry” actually samples a sample: Dutch duo Bingo Players first reworked “Piano” as “Cry (Just a Little),” which reached No. 15 on Dance/Mix Show Airplay in March.
Russell, who first arrived on the Hot 100 in 1979 with the No. 30 hit “So Good, So Right,” co-wrote “Piano” with Jeff Hull and Scott Cutler, the latter of whom co-penned Natalie Imbruglia’s 1998 smash “Torn,” among other melodic hits. “Piano” was nominated for three Grammy Awards, including song of the year, in 1989.
What does Russell think of the transformation of “Piano” into two dance hits this year?
“It’s pretty cool that artists like Flo Rida and Bingo Players can be inspired to interpret a song like ‘Piano in the Dark’ in completely new genres,” she tells Chart Beat. “As an artist and writer, it’s the highest compliment we can be paid.
“I never imagined ‘Piano’ as a dance hit (but) I’m thrilled that it’s reaching a new generation of audiences.”
Listen to both songs below.