Word Up – Cameo | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#6) & R&B (#1 for 3 weeks); 1986

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

The musical collective known as Cameo broke nationally in 1977, logged its first #1 R&B album in 1980, and dominated the U.S. R&B charts through the last half of the 1980’s. Formed by Larry Blackmon (as the New York City Players), he set up a solid foundation of multi-talented players, changing and rearranging them as the need arose. Blackmon guided the band’s music through changes as well, so Cameo was always on the leading edge of the latest groove. As Cameo hit its stride in 1980, Blackmon began incorporating the new electronic sounds into the tracks. A few years later he stripped the lineup and stage show to the bare bones, and moved Cameo into the hottest streak of its career. Word Up – the disc that broke Cameo mainstream stateside and internationally – was built around a phrase Blackmon first heard at parties. It became Cameo’s signature track and launched a new phrase into the pop culture lexicon.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Larry Blackmon

Lyrics Written by:

  • Larry Blackmon
  • Tomi Jenkins