Rub You The Right Way – Johnny Gill | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#3) & R&B (#1); 1990

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Singer Stacy Lattisaw first heard her friend Johnny Gill sing when he let loose at a one of the neighborhood “talent shows’ Stacy hosted in her parents’ basement.

The D.C. kids were only 13 years old at the time, yet, Stacy had already logged her first R&B chart single. Stacy’s label signed Johnny, too, and three weeks after his 17th birthday, his Super Love appeared.

The two also recorded together most notably on the #1 R&B smash, Where Do We Go From Here, in February of 1990. Within three months Johnny matched their peak with his solo hit Rub You The Right Way. Ace songwriter/producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis loved Teddy Pendergrass’ singing skills – his seductive ballad crooning as well as his way with more aggressive uptempo tunes – and this inspired Jam and Lewis to try something different with Johnny.

Rub You The Right Way broke Johnny out of the strict crooner mold big-time, and helped win him a Grammy nomination for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Jimmy Jam
  • Terry Lewis

Lyrics Written by:

  • James Harris III
  • Terry Lewis