*Before Pharrell Williams, there was only one act synonymous with the song title “Happy,” and that was Surface.
The trio from New Jersey released their self-titled debut album in 1983 with the single “Falling in Love,” but it was their 1988 sophomore album, “2nd Wave,” that brought them chart-toppers in the singles “Closer Than Friends,” “Shower Me With Your Love” and “You Are My Everything.” All three reached No. 1 on Billboard’s R&B chart in 1989, but only “Shower Me With Your Love” cracked the top 5 on the pop chart.
Lead singer Bernard Jackson voiced his frustration over the refusal of pop stations to play their singles when we sat down with the group in early 1989, several months after “2nd Wave’s” October 1988 release.
David Conley, the musician behind those flute sprinkles you hear in their tracks, also spoke at length about the musical direction of the album, the singles, the state of R&B music at the time, as well as touring with Atlantic Starr, producing other acts (including Jermaine Jackson’s first single “Don’t Take it Personal”) and much more.