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The project was a collaborative effort between the band's namesake, James "D-Train" Williams, who was featured as the lead vocalist and songwriter, and Hubert Eaves III, a keyboardist and producer, who performed the instrumentation on the recordings. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, Williams himself was a R&B-dance producer as well. He and Eaves met during high school and began performing together. Eaves would spend most of the 1970s as a member of the R&B band Mtume. However, by the 1980s, he and Williams had teamed up again. The group named itself D-Train after a nickname Williams had acquired as a football player in high school.
D-Train released its first single "You're the One for Me" in late 1981. The track became an instant success, hitting #1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart that year; it was remixed and re-released successfully several times since and was contemporaneously covered by Paul Hardcastle with vocalist Kevin Henry in the United Kingdom. The duo's self-titled debut album (which prominently featured the "You're the One for Me" title on the front cover, and the album became known by this name) followed in early 1982, and several additional singles from this effort were successful on both the R&B and Dance charts, although they were not as popular as the debut hit. Among these tracks were "Keep On", which reached #2 on the Dance chart, and a cover version of the Burt Bacharach- and Hal David-penned "Walk on By," which owed more to the Isaac Hayes version than to Dionne Warwick's original recording.
In 1983, the band released its follow-up album, Music. The title track became another dance-floor anthem and is the most gospel-infused of D-Train's floor fillers. This track nearly equalled the success of the group's debut single. Several other singles from the album were moderately successful.
In 1984, D-Train had its only Billboard Hot 100 entry with "Something's on Your Mind," which climbed to #79 and was later covered by Miles Davis on his album You're Under Arrest. The single also cracked the top five on the R&B chart, becoming the group's biggest hit in that market as well. The accompanying album, also titled Something's on Your Mind, found the band branching out into new musical territory, incorporating elements of reggae and more adult contemporary-oriented R&B into their music. Williams himself played acoustic guitar on a cover of Carole King's "So Far Away."
A greatest hits album titled You're the One for Me-The Very Best of D-Train was issued in several European countries in 1985. Featured on this compilation was a remixed version of "You're the One for Me" and the tune charted a second time that year. This version was remixed by Paul Hardcastle, who had previously issued a cover version of the song and, by 1985, had become well known for his own hit "19." Despite this success, the group would disband that same year.