You may not instantly recognize the name Alexander O’Neal, but you’ve definitely grooved to his music. With a career spanning over 40 years, the American R&B and soul singer has produced hit after hit. The most recent song he has released is titled “Love Finds A Way,” which came out in 2023.
Born in Natchez, Mississippi, on November 15, 1953, O’Neal got his start performing in the late 70s Minneapolis music scene. He soon caught the attention of Prince, who signed O’Neal to his Paisley Park Records label.
O’Neal’s first three albums were major commercial successes, producing six top-ten R&B hits like “Fake” and “Criticize.” With his dynamic tenor, catchy songs, and charismatic stage presence, O’Neal helped define the Minneapolis sound and shape 80s funk and R&B.
Though his later albums received mixed reviews, O’Neal has sold over 10 million records worldwide. His music has enduring influence and timeless appeal. Not bad for a kid from Mississippi who got his first break mopping floors at a Natchez radio station.
Alexander celebrated his 70th birthday in 2023, and he has 8 children.
Alexander O’Neal has been making music for over 40 years, so it’s no surprise his net worth has grown quite a bit in that time. Estimates put Alexander O’Neal’s net worth around $3 million.
While that may not seem like a huge fortune, you have to consider how much musicians made back when O’Neal first started performing. His debut album, Alexander O’Neal, ended up going platinum and producing several hit singles, but musicians didn’t receive nearly the same pay-per-stream or download back then as they do now.
O’Neal proceeded to launch an additional six studio albums and more than 20 singles, a significant number of which achieved top 10 rankings on the R&B charts. His music is considered a prime example of the Minneapolis sound, a mix of new wave, pop, R&B, and funk. Songs like “If You Were Here Tonight” and “Fake” have become enduring classics.
Over the years, O’Neal has generated income not only from album sales and touring, but also through diverse business ventures and sponsorships. He’s acted in a few films and TV shows as well. While the big money in today’s music industry is in touring, O’Neal has health issues that prevent him from performing like he used to.
Musical Career And Biggest Hits
Alexander O’Neal’s velvet voice and catchy ’80s pop sound made him an R&B icon. His debut solo album, Alexander O’Neal, reached number 28 on the Billboard 200 and produced several hit singles, including “If You Were Here Tonight” and “Fake”.
His Biggest Hits
Some of O’Neal’s most well-known songs are:
- “If You Were Here Tonight” – The alluring ballad achieved the 13th position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart back in 1985. With lines like “whispering, kissing, hugging tight, making love all through the night”, it’s considered an ’80s quiet storm classic.
- “Fake” – The catchy pop/funk tune hit number 25 on the Hot 100. Known for its distinctive synthesizer hook and O’Neal’s soulful falsetto, “Fake” is one of his most recognizable songs.
- “Criticize” – This mid-tempo jam, with its message of love and acceptance, reached number 4 on the R&B chart. O’Neal’s passionate, raspy vocals shine through on the track.
O’Neal went on to release six studio albums and continued touring and recording periodically until 2013. While his commercial success was limited to the ’80s, O’Neal’s impact on R&B and pop music cannot be overstated.
His timeless love songs and one-of-a-kind sound have earned him a lasting place in music history. For ’80s kids, his memorable hits remain tied to nostalgia for a simpler time. Alexander O’Neal’s musical legacy lives on.
The Legacy of Alexander O’Neal’s Music
Alexander O’Neal’s musical legacy lives on through his timeless R&B hits and influence on contemporary artists. Known for his soulful voice and charismatic stage presence, O’Neal was an icon of 80’s pop and R&B.
Some of O’Neal’s most well-known songs like “Criticize”, “Fake”, and “Saturday Love” featuring Cherrelle, are still played on radio stations today. His memorable lyrics and catchy hooks have stood the test of time. O’Neal’s music is also frequently sampled by hip hop artists, showing his broad influence and reach across genres.
O’Neal’s impressive career spanned over 40 years, though he was most commercially successful in the mid-1980s. He won several Soul Train Music Awards and American Music Awards, cementing his status as an R&B superstar. Despite struggles with his record label and personal life at times, O’Neal continued touring and recording up until 2011.
Maybe now, when one of his timeless hits comes on, you’ll turn up the volume and sing along. His lasting influence on contemporary R&B earned him his rightful place in music history and a devoted fan following that will last for generations to come. Not a bad legacy for a shy kid from Natchez, Mississippi, who just wanted to share his gift with the world!