Louie Shelton's name may be unknown to most listeners, but his guitar work has been heard over and over by even casual popular music listeners since the mid-'60s. His career as a session musician began with the Monkees, playing the memorable riffs on several of their recordings. (Remember the cool, rapid-fire, reverb-drenched solo in "Valerie"?) He went on to play on "I Want You Back," "ABC" and "I'll Be There" for the Jackson 5, Boz Scaggs' "Lowdown," and "Summer Breeze" and "Diamond Girl" with Seals & Crofts. He played the guitar solos on pop smashes like Lionel Richie's "Hello" and Neil Diamond's "Play Me," and recorded with artists ranging from Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston, to the Partridge Family, Art Garfunkel and Mama Cass Elliott. He produced a number of albums as well, most notably for Seals & Crofts.
In 1995, Shelton recorded Guitar, an album showcasing his wide-ranging guitar virtuosity and versatility. Though it rocked harder than most of its peers, this recording found airplay on smooth and contemporary jazz radio when released in the United States in 1996. The follow-up, Hot & Spicy, released in April 1998, sounded like a much more calculated attempt to appeal to that market. Urban Culture followed two years later. ~ Jim Newsom