Club Nouveau is a contemporary R&B-pop band that was formed by record producer/performer Jay King in 1986 in Sacramento, California, subsequent to the break up of the Timex Social Club. Other members of Club Nouveau included original members Denzil Foster, Thomas McElroy, Samuelle Prater, and Valerie Watson. The band's name (French for "New Club") was changed from its original incarnation, Jet Set, to exploit the break up of the Timex Social Club. The group was signed by Warner Bros. Records, on which Club Nouveau released its first three albums.
From its debut album, Life, Love, and Pain, which was released in 1986, the group scored four consecutive hits: "Jealousy" (essentially an answer song responding to Timex Social Club's hit "Rumors"), "Situation #9," a cover of Bill Withers's "Lean on Me," and "Why You Treat Me So Bad." The latter was interpolated by the Luniz on that group's hit single "I Got Five on It" and subsequently by Puff Daddy on "Satisfy You." The latter two both made it to #2 on the Billboard R&B chart the next year, with "Lean on Me" becoming a big Billboard Hot 100 hit. "Jealousy" also made an appearance on the soundtrack of the film Modern Girls.
Foster and McElroy soon left to form their own production team and focus on working with other acts, and Prater eventually left as well. The replacements were David Agent and Kevin Irving. The group's next albums—beginning with Listen to the Message—were laced with an evolving social consciousness, though the later albums were not as successful commercially as the group's debut. Notable recordings include a dancehall-influenced version of the gospel classic "Oh, Happy Day" from the album A New Beginning.
Thump Records issued a greatest hits compilation album, and Club Nouveau occasionally regroups to record. The band also recorded a song for the Who's That Girl soundtrack called "Step by Step." Club Nouveau's version of "Lean on Me" won a Grammy award.