One-hit Wonder: Hi-Gloss: You’ll Never Know

One of the more enigmatic acts to make a singular fleeting appearance on the UK singles chart, Hi-Gloss followed a growing hit-making recipe which consisted of putting a name to a team of writers and musicians for whom anonymity was the point.

Almost 40 years have passed since You’ll Never Know, a jazz-flecked soul number so shiny you could apply make-up in it, threatened the UK Top 10, peaking just outside after a steady, impressive eight-week climb up the charts. Beloved ever since of mellow compilations and radio stations aimed at the horizontal, it nevertheless remains contentedly saddled with mystery.

It was co-written by Phil Hurtt and Giuliano Salerni, who gathered a team of session players to produce something mid-tempo enough to induce movement, but smooth enough to allow strangers to make the most of the dark. Bonita Taylor sang a sumptuous lead vocal, with in-demand future star Luther Vandross among the backing vocalists. It was popular with club DJs and soul-friendly sections of the music press, leading to airplay that secured a chart entry at No.67 in August 1981. The momentum grew, and the track eventually achieved four straight weeks in the Top 20, peaking at No.12. 

No more singles came out in the UK, while the eponymous album, consisting of elongated mixes of six similarly well-varnished songs, didn’t chart.

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