The R&B Thread

MJNumber1

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When it comes to RnB I believe Omarion is abit under rated (his old songs)
 

DuranDuran

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">SADDEN my FRIEND IN CHRIST gone 2day. Vanity, Denise Matthews. MISS YOU DEARLY. U ARE IN HIS ARMS NOW, NO Pain <a href="https://t.co/UbCWtl8brc">pic.twitter.com/UbCWtl8brc</a></p>&mdash; SheilaEdrummer (@SheilaEdrummer) <a href="https://twitter.com/SheilaEdrummer/status/699392175251927040">February 16, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot; I lost someone special today... Denise Matthews aka Vanity died today!&quot; <a href="https://t.co/PEdwYsARmu">https://t.co/PEdwYsARmu</a></p>&mdash; Morris Day (@TheMorrisDay) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheMorrisDay/status/699398065522774017">February 16, 2016</a></blockquote>
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DuranDuran

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2/15/2016 by Colin Stutz Billboard
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Vanity photographed in Chicago on April 3, 1986.

Denise Katrina Matthews, the singer formerly known as Vanity, has died. She was 57.

Matthews died from kidney failure, the result of years of crack cocaine abuse, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. She died in a hospital in Fremont, Calif.

The Canadian born singer was also a songwriter, dancer, actress and model, leading the girl group Vanity 6 from 1981 to 1983. In that time, they recorded the smooth funk single, "Nasty Girl," which was produced by Prince and topped the Billboard dance charts.

She also recorded two solo albums for Motown --Wild Animal and Skin on Skin -- and starred in movies The Last Dragon and Action Jackson.

Matthews became a born-again Christian after a near-fatal drug overdose in 1994 and renounced her former identity. After she recieved a kidney transplant in 1997, she went on to devote her life to evangelism. In 2010, she self-released an autobiography called Blame It on Vanity.

Matthews' health problems continued and took a turn for the worse last year. After being diagnosed with the kidney condition sclerosis encapsulating peritonitis, she set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for her medical treatment but fell more than $43,000 short of her goal.

Sheila E., Questlove of the Roots, Solange Knowles, MC Hammer, and more posted tributes to Matthews on Twitter following word of her death.


Prince pays tribute to late girlfriend Vanity in first show on Australian solo tour


February 16, 2016, 8:47pm - Cameron Adams
News Corp Australia Network

REMEMBER when musicians became superstars because of their talent?

Prince may be the last of his kind.

Australia is the surprise first global leg of his Piano and a Microphone solo tour, a tour which didn’t exist a month ago but will be talked about for years.

Armed just with a piano and that immense talent, Prince put on the kind of concert you just don’t expect to see from a superstar. It was spontaneous and intimate. It was like a private piano party, just with 2000 people watching. It was pure Prince.

His first Melbourne show at the State Theatre was particularly emotionally charged — Prince admitting he’d just found out about the death of Denise Matthews, aka Vanity, his ex-girlfriend from the early ‘80s and protoge when she fronted the band Vanity 6.

“Someone dear to us has passed away, I’m gonna dedicate this song to her,” Prince said before playing a touching version of Little Red Corvette with a touch of Dirty Mind — songs from the era when they were together.
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The State Theatre goes purple for Prince


Prince reworked his classic The Ladder to replace the name ‘Electra’ with ‘Vanity’ — so the lyrics ran “This Prince, he had a subject named Vanity who loved him with a passion, uncontested.”

After an encore Prince returned to the stage noting “I am new to this playing alone. I thank you all for being so patient. I’m trying to stay focused, it’s a little heavy for me tonight. Just keep jamming ... She knows about this one.” That introduced a truly incredible version of The Beautiful Ones, another song from the Vanity era (she was the original choice for lead in the Purple Rain movie), the song ending with Prince changing “my knees” for “Denise ... Denise”.

Unusually chatty and candid, he continued going off script. “Can I tell you a story about Vanity? Or should I tell you a story about Denise? Her and I used to love each other deeply. She loved me for the artist I was, I loved her for the artist she was trying to be. She and I would fight. She was very headstrong cos she knew she was the finest woman in the world. She never missed an opportunity to tell you that.”

Prince then opened up about a fight where he threatened to throw Vanity in the pool. She said “You can’t throw me in the pool, you’re too little”. He then asked his six foot bodyguard Chick to do the dirty work for him. “I probably shouldn’t be telling this story,“ he said, “but she’d want us to celebrate her life and not mourn her.”

The show mixed hits (Money Don’t Matter 2Nite, If I Was UR Girlfriend, How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore) and covers (Bob Marley’s Waiting in Vain) with deep cuts, including the recently reclaimed 1992 song A 1000 Hugs and Kisses and new tunes Big City, Satisfied and When She Comes.

Fan favourite Sometimes It Snows in April had slight touches of Purple Rain in it, while he dusted off I Love U In Me, a b-side from the Batman era — the kind of thing fans dream of hearing.

Only Bruce Springsteen puts on these kind of spur-of-the-moment shows where you know every concert will be drastically different.

During one song he tapped his feet to make a beat, demonstrating he was wearing shoes that flash and light up, similar to the ones kids have. He may well be the only adult that can pull them off.

The show was delightfully loose. “Space is part of the music,” he noted at one point.

After an encore Prince asked “Mind if I jam a little?” Not when that jam becomes a medley of Raspberry Beret, Paisley Park, Starfish and Coffee and a jaw-dropping version of Adore, again for Vanity. You really felt you were watching something special, a glimpse into his heart that would never be repeated.

The adoring crowd partied like it was 1979 — phones weren’t allowed or used, and there were no media photographers. It lives on only in memory.

Prince is obviously a genius, but he’s got another commodity that’s been lost today — mystery. He’s the kind of artist who decides to tour on a whim, then reinvents his catalogue on a piano and blows your mind.

It was only the use of an iPad on top of his piano, with lyrics he constantly scrolled through, that reminded you he’s human and uses modern technology too.

“Can’t nobody do it like Prince,” he says at one point. Amen.

Prince plays two more shows in Melbourne tonight before moving to Sydney and Perth.
 

DuranDuran

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Ed Motta 2016

These are some songs from the new Ed Motta album Perpetual Gateways:

 

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Desire Thompson | September 27, 2016 | Vibe
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The R&B world has lost one has lost one of its greatest composers.

EURweb reports Kashif, born Michael Jones, was found unresponsive by a neighbor on Monday (Sept. 26), but the Los Angeles County Coroners’s office believed the singer-songwriter passed away on Sunday.

Kashif was an important staple in R&B, notably for his innovative use of synthesizers. The Harlem native began his career at age 15 as a keyboard player and vocalist in the funk band B. T. Express. He went on to work with acts like Evelyn “Champagne” King (“Shame,” “Love Come Down”) and Howard Johnson (“So Fine.”) His signature use of synthesizers paired with lyrics of love and devotion helped defined urban sounds following the exit of disco music. Kashif pursued a solo career in the early 80’s and earned Grammy nominations for his second album, Send Me Your Love. The singer is also credited with launching the career of jazz legend, Kenny G.

Many remember Kashif for his single, “Love Changes” with Meli’sa Morgan and penning “You Give Good Love” for a young Whitney Houston. In between albums, he also worked with Jermaine Jackson, The Stylistics, Melba Moore, George Benson, Stacy Lattisaw and Dionne Warwick.
 

DuranDuran

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">RIP Kashif thank U for the great music</p>&mdash; Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) <a href="https://twitter.com/Diane_Warren/status/780812128894783488">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Sad to learn my man Kashif has died. He was a really good brother. 56 is way 2 soon. RIP my brother &amp; God bless you.<a href="https://t.co/AYALbv28Ws">https://t.co/AYALbv28Ws</a></p>&mdash; Donnie Simpson (@DonnieSimpson) <a href="https://twitter.com/DonnieSimpson/status/780777476570177537">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">If you ever danced to Evelyn &quot;Champagne&quot; King, Howard Johnson or Me&#39;Lisa Morgan, then you know the sound <a href="https://t.co/ZMqxoVlh5s">https://t.co/ZMqxoVlh5s</a></p>&mdash; Jocelyn Brown (@clericalerror) <a href="https://twitter.com/clericalerror/status/780737243975602176">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">&quot;So Fine&quot; blew my mind the 1st time I heard it. I listened to all <a href="https://twitter.com/Kashifcreative">@Kashifcreative</a> did. VERY influential on me. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPKashif?src=hash">#RIPKashif</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lostanotherone?src=hash">#lostanotherone</a> <a href="https://t.co/m287MD7Ytn">pic.twitter.com/m287MD7Ytn</a></p>&mdash; Jimmy Jam (@flytetymejam) <a href="https://twitter.com/flytetymejam/status/780752794768674817">September 27, 2016</a></blockquote>
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DuranDuran

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Kashif

Bowlegged Lou/Full Force - Rest in peace to our talented fellow music making friend, Kashif. He was a hit making songwriter producer artist that Full Force has great respect for. He once told me in Philadelphia b4 we did the Dyana Williams radio show that he felt he was UnSung. Guess What? He was right. I was so happy when TVOnes UnSung gave him an episode of his own. He deserved it.
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^^^That was my jam back in the day!
I still like singing and dancing to it to this day. :)
*clicks play on Duran's post* :dancing:

A super talented singer, songwriter and producer, he was responsible for a lot of hit songs.
One of my faves is entitled, So Fine, by Howard Johnson. Along with Jermaine's projects, he also produced songs
for Whitney Houston, Evelyn "Champagne" King and many others.

Rest in peace Michael Jones....aka Kashif.
 

DuranDuran

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This is Chanté Moore's new single
[video=youtube;BtyVdN3iQDE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtyVdN3iQDE[/video]
 
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By Dale Kawashima | December 18, 2016 | Songwriter Universe
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Ray Parker Jr. has had an outstanding career as an artist, songwriter, producer and guitarist. Growing up in Detroit and then moving to Los Angeles, Parker as an artist has had six gold albums (including albums with his group, Raydio), and as a songwriter, he’s written 15 Top 40 pop hit singles, including five Top 10 hits. He’s also produced all of his hits while playing most of the instruments.

Of course, Parker is best known for his #1 worldwide hit, “Ghostbusters,” which was featured in the original Ghostbusters movie in 1984, the sequel Ghostbusters 2 in 1989, and the latest Ghostbusters (in 2016) which starred Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones. The song “Ghostbusters” has been so prominent and famous for over 30 years, that it has partially overshadowed the fact that Parker was a major artist and hitmaker in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.

Parker got an early start as a musician, playing guitar as a teenager for the Spinners, Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson. He played sessions at Motown Records in Detroit, and for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s label, Invictus Records. When he was 18, he was invited to join Stevie Wonder’s band, and he played on Wonder’s classic album, Talking Book.

After touring with Wonder, Parker decided to move to Los Angeles, where he first played sessions with Barry White, and wrote songs with White and for his group, Love Unlimited Orchestra. His first hit song was “You Got The Love,” which was written with Chaka Khan and recorded by her band, Rufus.

It was in 1978 that Parker signed with CEO Clive Davis at Arista Records, and formed his group, Raydio (which included Arnell Carmichael, Jerry Knight and Vincent Bohnam). Raydio quickly hit the Top 10 with their single, “Jack and Jill,” from their debut album, Raydio. A year later (in 1979), Raydio released their second album, Rock On, which included the Top 10 hit “You Can’t Change That.”

It was in 1980 that the group’s name was changed to Ray Parker Jr. & Raydio, and they released the album Two Places at the Same Time, which included the Top 30 single, “Two Places at the Same Time.” Then in 1981, the group released A Woman Needs Love, which included the Top 5 hit “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do)” and the Top 30 single, ‘That Old Song.”
The following year (1982), Raydio broke up and Parker continued as a solo artist. He released the album The Other Woman, which contained the Top 5 hit “The Other Woman,” which combined a fresh rock sound with his R&B style. This album also included two Top 40 singles, “Let Me Go” and “Bad Boy.” Parker subsequently released the albums Woman Out of Control (in 1983, including the Top 15 hit “I Still Can’t Get Over Loving You”), Sex and the Single Man (1985, with the Top 40 single “Girls Are More Fun”), After Dark (1987), I Love You Like You Are (1991) and I’m Free (2006).

In addition, Parker has released his Greatest Hits album, which included the hit “Ghostbusters,” the Top 15 hit “Jamie,” and the excellent holiday song, “Christmas Time Is Here,” which has become a popular staple on Christmas radio formats.
<figure id="attachment_12083" class="thumbnail wp-caption alignleft" style="width: 330px">
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<figcaption class="caption wp-caption-text">Ray Parker Jr., receiving his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.</figcaption></figure> Besides his success as an artist, Parker has created hits for other acts. In 1984 he wrote & produced “Mr. Telephone Man” for the group New Edition, which reached #12 on the pop charts and was a #1 R&B hit for six weeks. In 1990 he wrote the Top 40 single “All I’m Missing Is You” for Glenn Medeiros, which featured vocals by Parker. He has also written songs for Patti LaBelle, Erykah Badu, Diana Ross, Sheena Easton, Herbie Hancock, Run-D.M.C., Jeffrey Osborne, Main Ingredient, Cheryl Lynn, Brick, Nancy Wilson, David Essex, Maxine Nightingale, Leo Sayer, David Gates and Michael Henderson.

Notably, Parker won a Grammy Award in 1984 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance. His song “Ghostbusters” was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.

(Note from Dale Kawashima): Back in the 1980s, I had the opportunity to work with Ray Parker Jr. and pitch songs from his catalog. One song I placed, “Mr. Telephone Man,” became a hit single for New Edition (with lead vocals by Bobby Brown). It was an honor to pitch Ray’s songs and work with Ray.

I am pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Ray Parker Jr. He talks about his full career, and how he wrote “Ghostbusters’ and his other hit songs.

DK: I read that you’re from Detroit. How did you get started with music and learn to play guitar?
Ray Parker Jr.:The first thing I did, was I started playing the clarinet and saxophone. I started when I was six-years-old at Angel Elementary School. In my same class was Ollie Brown (famous drummer/percussionist). Also, the trumpet player who played with me was Nathan Watts, who’s been Stevie Wonder’s bandleader for decades. So these are the people I started with when I was six.

As kids, we would play at orphanages and PTA meetings. Then when I was 11, my brother got an acoustic guitar, and I really liked the idea of playing an instrument where I didn’t have to blow anymore. So I started to play my brother’s guitar. I really liked the idea of playing electric guitar—I would play my brother’s guitar and put a microphone in it to make it sound electric. The next thing you know, I talked my dad into buying me a guitar. [Soon after] I broke my leg riding a bicycle, which left me with absolutely nothing to do except practice all day and every day. So I practiced and practiced, and I got pretty good at it. The next thing you know, I was playing pretty good guitar after about a year-and-a-half of practice, when I was about 12.
When I was 13, I’ll never forget my first gig, where somebody actually paid me some money. It was when a guy drove by and heard me playing on my front porch. He said “I’ll give you $15 if you play [guitar] in my backyard. So I got my dad to drive me over to his house, I played in his backyard, and that was that.

DK: So you really got started at a young age
Parker: Yeah. From there, I got a really good professional job with the Spinners, when they were on Motown. They took me and Ollie Brown on tour with them, which was exciting. So after that, lots of other people heard me playing and I start joining bands. I got into this band and we worked for a guy named Dick Stein, and we did a bunch of Bar Mitzvahs and weddings. When I was 14 I met Hamilton Bohannon, who put me in a band with (legendary musicians) James Jamerson, Robert White and most of the Motown (Records) guys. There was a club in Detroit called The 20 Grand, and I would play guitar there many nights, and things were going really well.

I was around 16 when I started doing recording sessions/record dates. Marvin Gaye used me on a couple of his records, and I also did sessions with Smokey Robinson at The Snakepit, which was the original Motown studio, right under Motown Records in Detroit on the boulevard.

When (legendary writing/producing trio) Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown (in 1968), it was a really big deal. I worked with H-D-H on their records, and I was still doing some records at Motown.

DK: I read that you also played in Stevie Wonder’s band.
Parker: Yes. Right before my 18[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday, Stevie Wonder called. I’ll never forget when he called—I hung up several times because I thought someone was playing a trick on me. His album Music Of My Mind was one of my favorite albums of all time. So I just couldn’t possibly imagine why Stevie Wonder was calling me on the phone. But it was Stevie calling, and he wanted me to join his band! So I talked my dad into letting me quit school so I could go on tour with Stevie Wonder, who was opening for the Rolling Stones.

After that tour, I did a college tour with Stevie. But when that ended, I wanted to cut my own music, so I decided to quit the band and get started on my own. Then I got into my car and drove to California. When I got to L.A., one of my first gigs was being the guitar player in the movie Uptown Saturday Night, which was with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.

DK: I read that you also worked with Barry White.
Parker: Yes. I started doing record dates with (arranger) Gene Page, and Gene had invited me to one of Barry White’s recording sessions, and there was Barry White. He would turn the music speakers way up loud and I could hear it out in the hallway. I said, Boy, I wanted to be in this band, the stuff sounded great. But I didn’t know what to do…I was still just a kid from Detroit.

I was standing next to the tape machine, and I got an idea for a guitar part that would fit nicely for his song. At the time I was a bit wild and crazy, so I hit STOP on the tape machine while the music was playing loud, and everything came to a halt. Then Barry White said, “What the F was that?” And he looked at me like he was going to kill me! Then I told Barry I had a great idea for his song. And before he decided to sit on me or kill me (laughs), he said, “Well, get the F out there and play it.” So I plugged into somebody’s amp and started playing the line, and he liked it. I started to say something, and he said, “Shut up, keep playing it.”

DK: Did you write songs for Barry White?
Parker: Yes, and that’s a crazy story too. First, I wrote a new tune called “You Got The Love,” which I was hoping Barry would record, but he didn’t like it. The song later came out and was a smash on Rufus & Chaka Khan. Chaka wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music.

So the next time I’m in Barry White’s ear, he’s not paying me any attention. It was at another of his sessions and Barry was walking around outside for lunch. I pushed him into my Mercedes, which was a two-seater, and Barry cut his hands on the window—I forgot that my car was a little small for him. The next thing, I started to play my song for him. He says, “What are you doing? Nobody gets a song on a Barry White album except for Barry White…period. Even the people that work for me and write for me, they don’t get a song on a Barry White album. They get songs on other albums (with his other artists) but not on a Barry White album.”

Later on, I did get a cut on (his group) Love Unlimited Orchestra, and it took a lot of work, but I finally did the impossible—I got a cut on a Barry White album with him singing on it. It was called “You See The Trouble With Me.” I played him the song and he wrote the lyrics to it, and it ended up selling 7 or 8 million copies. It wasn’t a hit in America, but it was a huge hit everywhere else, and it’s on all his greatest hits albums.

DK: Besides Barry White, did you get other cuts after you moved to L.A.?
Parker: Yes. I also had cuts with Patti LaBelle, Main Ingredient, and two or three songs on Nancy Wilson—she was one of first artists I got cuts with.

DK: With you as the artist, how did you sign a label deal with (CEO) Clive Davis and Arista Records?
Parker: Well, I had written the song “Jack And Jill,” and I played it for my friend Carole Pincus (who’s now known as Carole Childs). She loved the song and played it for (film producer) Roger Birnbaum, who played it Clive Davis (then CEO of Arista Records). He loved it, and it was decided that I would put this song out, with myself as the artist.

DK: Why did you decide to start the group, Raydio (featuring Arnell Carmichael, Jerry Knight & Vincent Bohnham), rather than just release it as Ray Parker?
Parker: Because I couldn’t sing. I’d already cut the songs first—I had some of my friends helping me sing on the demo tape, which Clive liked. So I said [to my friends], “Well you guys, why don’t you sing on the records? We’ll form a band.” And we called it Raydio, and the guys sang on the records. Once I was in the band, I would try singing more of the songs—with each record I could sing a little more. By the fourth album, I sang (the hit) “A Woman Needs Love” all by myself.

DK: With your song “Jack And Jill,” you took this fairytale concept, and turned it into hit song. How did you come up with this song?
Parker: Well, the first thing I came up with was the lyrics for the chorus…Why do you think Jack snuck down the hill? Maybe it was love he couldn’t get from Jill. And what was interesting, was (producer/engineer) David Rubinson heard it and asked, “Why do you have somebody else in the verses doing stuff?” I had written “A man does something rather what Jack did. David said. “Since the song is really about how Jack snuck down the hill, why don’t you have Jack and Jill doing stuff in the verse?” I hadn’t thought of it that way. But it was a heckuva good idea. So I went back and rewrote the song. Instead of “somebody” doing something in the verses, I made Jack do it in the first verse and Jill do it in the second verse. And everybody really loved it then. So once I did that, the song really took off.

DK: Another one of your early hits was “A Woman Needs Love (Just Like You Do).” How did you write this song and come up with this concept?
Parker: Glad you asked (laughs). What’s interesting about that song, is there were some girls in the studio. And they were fussin’ about what guys do and get away with. It was right around the time when girls were like, coming out of their sexual hiding thing. When I was a kid in high school, the girls would say, “Okay, I’ll have sex with you, but you have to promise not to tell anybody.” Then girls had come all the way from that, to saying, “Yeah, I did it! And so what about it?” (laughs) It became a whole different way of thinking. And so I was listening to the girls—there were five girls sitting on the couch in my studio, just fussin’ while I was trying to re-string a guitar or do something. And they wouldn’t stop fussin’. They were mad about what guys were doing and what we were gettin’ away with. So I just really listened to what they were saying. And then at the end of it, I thought…isn’t that interesting? I guess, the woman can do it just like you do. So I started…and the girls said, “Yeah, one day you’ll come home and this will happen, and the girls saying…We ain’t takin’ this no more.” So I just wrote what they were saying. And the big change in the song—just to show how sensitive women are—my song said “A woman needs love just like you do. She will fool around just like you do.” But the words “she will fool around” didn’t work for the girls. That was such a turnoff. So I had to change “she will fool around” to “she can fool around,” which gave women the option of foolin’ around. But it wasn’t like blaming it on them. But they were so sensitive to that, that had I left the lyric as “she will fool around,” it would not have been a hit. They weren’t buying “she will fool around,” not even a little bit.

DK: So even just one word in a song, can make the difference between it being a hit and not being a hit?
Parker: Oh, Big Time. Yeah, if I kept “she will fool around” in the song, it wouldn’t have happened.

DK: One of my favorites songs of yours is “The Other Woman.” Not only did this song have a great concept, but it had a cool rock edge. So how did you come up with this song?
Parker: Well, I was trying to be a little more of a bad boy. [Up to that time] in all my songs I’d been the sweetheart, you know, I’m a nice guy, I take care of girls and all that. And I remember hearing on the radio, “Jessie’s Girl” by Rick Springfield. Even though it’s really different from “The Other Woman,” what I was thinking about is, he was singing about The Other Woman. But he was singing about, how he wishes he could have the other woman. I loved the record—it was a wonderful record just the way it is—the guitar parts and everything were great. But I thought it was a punk attitude to wish…he should just take the woman if he wanted her (laughs). I thought…Wait a minute, he wishes he had the other guy’s woman, but he ain’t doin’ anything about it. I didn’t quite understand that part—it was just my perspective on it. So I decided to make a song like that—you put a couple guitars and bass and drums—make it rock guitars. But with (the lyric) I’m just gonna do wrong—I’d rather do wrong than be beggin’ for someone else (laughs). So that’s what I came up with, that same day.

At the time, I was a little nervous about it, because to promote it on radio then, you had to go to R&B [stations first] and you had to cross over to pop [stations]. If you were black, it only mattered that you got played on R&B stations—the rest was like a bonus. And I wasn’t sure that [the label execs] were going to like it. So I put “The Other Woman” as the last song on the tape. But when Clive Davis heard it, he says, “Aw, you’re just jerkin’ me around. You played me 10 songs and you put this song at the end…you know this is the hit.” And I got scared to death. I thought…Oh Boy, now I’m in trouble…he actually likes it. But then the (label) head of A&R calls me up and says, “”What’d you do this for? We’ve been building your career, we put four albums out, and now you cut this funny song? What am I supposed to do with this on R&B radio? So now I was terrified. I went all the way from (the smooth R&B song) “A Woman Needs Love”—which was probably the only song I wrote in my life that I thought would be such a hit.

Whenever you make a record, you’re always scared when it comes out. But “A Woman Needs Love” was the one that I thought could be a hit on the radio. It had every element that was a hit. It had what would make girls happy and everybody happy. But “The Other Woman” was just the opposite! And I was scared (laughs). First of all, you have me, who’s supposed to be the nice guy, singing about cheatin’ on his old lady and finding the other one. I just had no idea that most women out there wanted to be The Other Woman, and they wanted their stuff to be better than the other girl’s stuff. That was the turn-on for them.

DK: So how did that song do on R&B radio?
Parker: It went to number one or two. As it turned out, it didn’t matter. [R&B listeners] didn’t really hear it as anything rock—they heard the story of the song. It turned out to be one of my biggest R&B records that people still remember to this day.

DK: When you were working in the studio, did you play most of the tracks yourself, or did you bring in musicians to play most of the tracks?
Parker: No, I played all the tracks myself, because I didn’t have enough money to hire the musicians. When I cut “Jack And Jill,” I didn’t have enough money. So I’d come up with these ideas, and there was nobody there to do it but me. I wired my whole studio myself with (engineer) Reggie Dozier, because we didn’t have any money to pay anybody (at that time), so it was me on the floor with a soldering gun.

So now, you’re going to ask me the obvious question (laughs): When “Jack and Jill” happened and I sold two million records, couldn’t I hire people to play on the next record? Right?

DK: Right.
Parker: Well, I’m superstitious! I wanna go stand in the exact same spot where lightning struck the first time.

DK: So besides playing guitar, did you also play keyboards and drums?
Parker: Yeah, I played the drums, the bass and the keyboards.

DK: Would you just bring in someone to play saxophone, and bring in backup singers?
Parker: Oh yeah, I would being in people to play parts or overdubs—something that I couldn’t play that I was making a mess of. I wasn’t an egomaniac…the whole point was, no one was around (in the studio) when I was doing it, so I gotta get it done.

DK: So now, let’s talk about “Ghostbusters.” How did you get the call that the studio needed a song for their movie, Ghostbusters?
Parker: There was a girl I was dating, and she happened to be working for Gary LaMel, who (at the time) was Vice President of Columbia Pictures. Also, Gary had worked for Barry White’s Publishing, so we were both connected from the Barry White days. So Gary called me and asked if I could help him out with this film; he just thought I was the right guy to write the songs. At the time, my parents were sick, so I wasn’t really writing too many songs. I was sort of on hiatus, going back and forth to Detroit and taking care of my folks.

Right around that time, you (Dale) had pitched “Mr. Telephone Man” to New Edition (who were on MCA Records). Then I got a call from Jheryl Busby (who was then Vice President at MCA). He invited me to fly to the Bahamas and hang out, and see New Edition play live. At that moment, I didn’t realize that New Edition had already heard and liked “Mr. Telephone Man.”

I thought going to the Bahamas would be a great relief for me, especially since it was February (and the weather was cold). So we went to the Bahamas, and Jheryl and I were eating at Donald Trump’s restaurant at the casino. We partied so hard, by the time we got to the concert the kids were done playing. We didn’t actually hear them at all; we missed the whole thing (laughs).
So after the show, we finally meet with the kids, and Jheryl’s talking about me cutting a song with them. I said, “Well, I don’t know [if I have time] to write a new song.” Then he says, “You don’t have to write a new song—they want to cut one of your old songs.” I said, “What song is that?” So everyone starts to explain it to me, how they already got “Mr. Telephone Man” (from Dale) and they played it live that night!

Then they said, “Can you cut it like the old track that you cut on (Geffen artist) Junior Tucker?” First of all, they wanted that track. They said, “If you can give us that track, your work is done.” Then I said, “I can’t give you that track because Geffen Records owns the track. But I played all the instruments on the track—I can make you a new track just like that, in the same key.”

So I got an old Fender Rhodes (keyboard) out, my old Precision bass, and I just cut the new track and put New Edition’s voices on it. And that was a hit.

DK: So how did “Mr. Telephone Man” connect with “Ghostbusters”?
Parker: What’s interesting about “Ghostbusters,” was that Gary LaMel (of Columbia Pictures) called me that April while I was out here in L.A.—I had been going back and forth to Detroit to see my parents. So when Gary called, I told him I was in town doing New Edition. Then Gary said, “Since you’re in town, stay two more days and work on the Ghostbusters movie.” He offered me a [nice fee] to work on it. Gary said, “We only need 20 seconds (of music) for a library scene. If you turn in some music and we don’t like it, you keep the [money]. That was his big bait—“You’ve got the money whether we like it or not. Just give us the music, and make sure you have the word ‘Ghostbusters’ in it.”

DK: Can you tell me how you put this song together in the studio?
Parker: I only had two days to get this done. So there’s not a lot of time to do anything. The Linn drum had just come out, and I pulled up the first sound I could get on the Linn drum. I plugged in my JP6 and put up the first bass sound, and a synthesizer sound. Gary had wanted a bar band groove, so I started playing that groove. I put the stuff together and I cut one minute and maybe 15 seconds of it. One verse and one chorus—that’s it. It was just enough so the director (Ivan Reitman) could get what I was doing. I put some parts on it really quick, and I was probably done with the music in the first five hours.
I spent the next day-and-a-half trying to figure out how to sing the word Ghostbusters, which was impossible. I couldn’t get my voice to say the word Ghostbusters—it doesn’t sound any good whether I sing it or chant it. It didn’t matter what I did…I sounded terrible singing it.

I’ll never forget…late at night, before I had to turn in the song. I was going to have to put something down. Then I saw this commercial that came on TV—I think it was a commercial with insects in it. It looked like they were holding the Ghostbusters backpacks. The ad said, “When you’re having trouble, who do you call?” And I thought, that looks just like the movie. So I’m going to say (in the song), “Who you gonna call?” It was just like that Detroit slang, “Who ya gonna call?” And I thought, that’s what the trick is. I’m not gonna sing (the words) Ghostbusters, I’m gonna [record some kids to] yell…GHOSTBUSTERS!
At the time I knew a high school girl, and I asked her to bring her friends to my studio at 7 o’clock in the morning, before they went to class at 8 am, so they could scream GHOSTBUSTERS! They were the most excited people in the world because they had never been in a studio (laughs), which I think gave it this magic sound. So here were some 17-year-olds screaming GHOSTBUSTERS at the top of their lungs! They couldn’t have been more happier or excited. Then they were done in about 10 minutes. I said, “That’s it…You all got it.”

So the kids left, and the messenger is already there to pick up the tape and deliver it to Columbia Pictures. But I still had no lyrics to the song. I had the kids screaming Ghostbusters and I sang “Who you gonna call,” but that’s all I had. Then I made up the verses on the spot, without (using) headphones, while the messenger’s waiting in the lobby. I then handed him the tape and that was it…I wasn’t thinking much of this. I’m thinking…Wow, that was close…at least I got [the money] and I hope they use it in the library scene of the movie. That’s all I was hoping for.

DK: Did you hear back from the movie studio right away?
Parker: Yes. Lo and behold, the director (Ivan Reitman) calls me the next night, at 3:00 in the morning. He said he loved it so much, that he already flew the cassette I gave him in the 35 millimeter mag of the film. Then he says to me while I’m still half asleep, “Can you make it longer?” And then he says, “Can we make it a record, and can we made a video? I’ll direct your video.” There was some hesitation in my voice. I was thinking…me in a video, singing to a ghost? I don’t know about that (laughs). And all of this stuff is happening really fast.

The next day, I told my buddy Steve (Hallquist, his longtime engineer), “They want a record out of this! Well, we’ve got a minute and 15 seconds so far…Now what?” So we rented another 24-track tape recorder. Steve gets two 24-tracks and we re-record the song around four or five times on the 24-track, and then I personally take a razor blade and edit it together, so we got four minutes of music. I guarantee that on that record, it’s the same [music track] over and over again.

DK: Writing the “Ghosbusters” theme obviously changed your career and your life. The song has had a life of it’s own, with many commercials and now a new Ghostbusters movie.
Parker: I even have a clothing line now (laughs). The Ray Parker Jr. collection. It’s the Ghostbusters characters with the words on T-shirts. Like “Who you gonna call” and “Bustin’ makes me feel good!”

DK: So as you look back on writing “Ghostbusters,” besides making the money, what has this song meant to you? You wrote the song in just two days, and now over 30 years later, the song is still huge.
Parker: What you’re saying is the most intriguing part. Because the song is so huge, it transcended anything that I could have ever imagined. In my mind, you have a hit record…the hit record lasts a year or two, and then the royalties start to go down, and then it kind of becomes an oldie but goodie. If it’s a really good song, people will play it in a bar every now and then and you’ll get some royalties. But “Ghostbusters’ is a song that came out 32 years ago, and it seems like a brand new hit every year. It doesn’t slow down…the licensing of it never slows down. First of all, it’s the number one Halloween song. The only other big Halloween song is “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. “Ghostbusters’ is easy for the kids to sing, they can dance to it, and it’s real simple. It’s also been used in a lot of commercials—everyone loves to go “Who you gonna call?” The phrase just took off, like part of American folklore.

The best part of it was, when my kids were growing up, I was their hero. My kids and their friends all knew the song. When the kids have a program at school, the teachers will say, “Can you have your dad come and sing “Ghostbusters”? So all the young kids know the song, even if they’re just five or six years old. This is something that I couldn’t even dream of. I couldn’t have invented this in my mind.

DK: In more recent years, can you tell me what you’ve been working on?
Parker: Well, the last 10 years I’ve been ultra busy. I’ve been doing some touring—my friends like Joe Sample (legendary musician from the jazz group, the Crusaders), who helped me out in the early days, they were going on tour and they didn’t have a guitar player. So I went on tour and hung out with them. We had a blast. Then a few years ago, they got sick and passed away. But since I was working on tour with them, it got me into doing some of my own tours. Now I go to Japan once or twice a year.

I think I’m having absolutely way too much fun, because instead of me trying to make all the money and just touring myself and banging out 80 to 100 shows per year, I actually get to play on Rod Stewart’s albums and Rob Thomas’ albums. I get to play on all these different records. And then I still get to do my own stuff and record. So right now, with all this Ghostbusters stuff, I’m trying to get a book out, I got the clothing line, I’m trying to get a variety TV show, and I’m building a new studio next door to my house.

DK: In closing, is there anything that we didn’t talk about, that you’d like to mention?
Parker: Yeah…all your readers, I’d just like to tell them, Thank You for their support for so many years. Because I’m getting to be an older guy now, and I just really appreciate everybody loving the music and supporting me, and taking care of me all this time, because I’m doing what I really love doing.
 

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Thundercat feat. Michael McDonald & Kenny Loggins - Show You The Way

new song
 
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Thundercat, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins (Tonight Show June 5, 2017)

 

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Peabo Bryson - Love Like Yours And Mine

this track recently reached #3 on the Adult R&B chart in Billboard
 

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new
[video=youtube;4iYLzrrfRK4]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iYLzrrfRK4[/video]
 

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir. He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name.&#10084;&#65039; <a href="https://t.co/TDJfpbbJWa">pic.twitter.com/TDJfpbbJWa</a></p>&mdash; Debbie Allen (@msdebbieallen) <a href="https://twitter.com/msdebbieallen/status/1090329599244783616?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 29, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">There are no words to convey how much my &#10084;&#65039; aches with the news of the passing of my baby brother, James Ingram. With that soulful, whisky sounding voice, James was simply magical. He was, &amp; always will be, beyond compare. Rest In Peace my baby bro…You’ll be in my &#10084;&#65039; forever <a href="https://t.co/oZtA9h8uZR">pic.twitter.com/oZtA9h8uZR</a></p>&mdash; Quincy Jones (@QuincyDJones) <a href="https://twitter.com/QuincyDJones/status/1090373668105007106?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 29, 2019</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">R.I.P. James Ingram.<br>Writing with you, touring with you, recording with you, laughing with you…I will miss you, one hundred ways. <a href="https://twitter.com/JamesIngram?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JamesIngram</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIPJamesIngram?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIPJamesIngram</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIP</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/oneofakind?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#oneofakind</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/genius?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#genius</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/pyt?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#pyt</a> <a href="https://t.co/zuHORq2t76">pic.twitter.com/zuHORq2t76</a></p>&mdash; SIEDAH GARRETT (@SIEDAHGARRETT) <a href="https://twitter.com/SIEDAHGARRETT/status/1090345368238190592?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 29, 2019</a></blockquote>
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The Unlikely Success And Down-To-Earth Soul Of James Ingram
By Jason King January 31, 2019 WNCW
690282732.jpg

James Ingram, performing in 2004.

Legendary R&B singers often have their own iconic signatures — those nifty vocal tricks and embellishments that help distinguish them from the pack. Think of James Brown's high-pitched scream, Ron Isley's tempered "well, well, well," or Luther Vandross' fluttering riff, ascending the musical scale.

James Ingram, who reportedly died Wednesday at 66, also had his own idiosyncratic loverman signature: a werewolf-at-midnight falsetto howl that he unsparingly deployed throughout his catalogue. You can hear it 33 seconds into 1983's inspirational synth-funk duet with Michael McDonald "Yah Mo B There" (and again at the four-minute mark); it arrives 19 seconds into his 1986 slow jam "Always"; and it's right at the top of 1989's "I Wanna Come Back" (as well as at the 3:35 minute mark ). If Ingram's iconic croon could occasionally become a crutch, it was merely one powerful weapon in his impeccable vocal arsenal. Influenced by gruff-but-burnished singers like Teddy Pendergrass and Michael McDonald, Ingram's sensitive, convicted singing was compassionate yet tough, giving dimension to dignified adult contemporary ballads and lite funk-pop jams.

Though Ingram was a chart mainstay — he placed 19 songs on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart and 18 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart — he wasn't necessarily a trend-chaser. He was, straight out of the gate, a soulful crooner whose mannered, grown-and-sexy music became a staple of the romantic Quiet Storm R&B radio format, alongside work by artists like Jeffrey Osborne, Luther Vandross, George Benson and Deniece Williams. His collaborations with Patti Austin — 1981's smoky "Baby Come to Me" (which initially stiffed commercially, before rocketing to No. 1 on the pop charts after getting exposure from the soap opera General Hospital) and 1983's wistful, harmonically rich "How Do You Keep The Music Playing" (co-written by Michel Legrand, who also died this week) — helped define sophisticated, urbane, post-disco R&B. Marked by genteel electric pianos, muted synthesizers, chucking funk guitars and elegant basslines, adult contemporary black music in the early '80s served as a soothing palate cleanser, a respite from the harsh effects of the Reagan administration's public policies towards communities of color.

Originally raised in Akron, Ohio, a teenaged Ingram pounded the pavement in '70s Los Angeles, making demos for a publishing company and churning out tunes for his band Revelation Funk, eventually finding his way to playing piano, writing and producing for Ray Charles' record label. Polymath producer-composer Quincy Jones, still fresh off the success of Michael Jackson's 1979 juggernaut Off the Wall, got wind of Ingram's demo for "Just Once," a pleading, soaring pop soul ballad written by Brill Building workhorses Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Sensing gold, Jones nabbed the song and its singer for what would become his critically acclaimed, smoother-than-smooth 1981 album The Dude.A breakaway star thanks to that album, Ingram earned a best male R&B performance Grammy and a 1982 Grammy nomination for best new artist.

Remarkably dependable and reliable, Ingram became Quincy Jones' go-to singer-writer, an essential collaborator/fixture in Jones' ten-year blockbuster period (1979-1989), in which he became the music industry's most successful black record producer. Jones and Ingram enjoyed a lifelong creative relationship. In 1982, Quincy Jones enlisted Ingram to rewrite Michael Jackson's mid-tempo groover "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)" as a bubbly, uptempo funk confection. Given its placement on Thriller, which became one of the most commercially successful albums ever, Ingram received decades of royalty checks that surely allowed him a relative measure of industry freedom. Quincy Jones also produced two of Ingram's 1980s solo albums: 1983's solid It's Your Night and 1986'slackluster Never Felt So Good. Ingram appeared on a slew of other Jones productions, too, including Donna Summer's 1982 Donna Summer, 1985's The Color Purple soundtrack and blockbuster charity single "We are the World"; and as a featured vocalist on all-star, multi-generational boudoir slow jam "The Secret Garden (Sweet Seduction Suite)." Jones even produced Ingram's final studio album, 2008's heartfelt return-to-my-gospel-roots Stand (in the Light).

"When people ask me," Ingram told the Associated Press in 1991, "I say I studied at the University of Ray Charles and went to learn with the master, Quincy."

Throughout his career, Ingram struggled with branding. "The trouble is people hear my songs," he once admitted, "and they say, 'I didn't know you sang it.' " Name recognition wasn't his only struggle. Record labels, in search of crossover nirvana, continually tried to market Ingram to pop radio, hoping to turn him into a mainstream star like Lionel Richie, rather than delivering him to black R&B audiences. Without proper industry promotional support, only a handful of Ingram's singles ended up topping the R&B charts. Despite those Thriller royalty checks, Ingram, caught between conflicting racial imperatives of pop and R&B, sometimes struggled to build a wider audience with his music. In a 1982 interview, he confessed: "It's frustrating at times when I release a record and they tell me it's not black enough for some radio stations ... It's like telling the black audience they're not important, like I'm not interested in them."

Given that he'd jump-started his career as a behind-the-scenes songwriter and keyboardist, before being plucked from obscurity and thrust into the spotlight by Quincy Jones, Ingram never became an otherworldly soul genius in the mold of Al Green or Luther Vandross. Instead, he remained an intrinsically collaborative sideman who just happened to have turned into the choir's featured soloist. Besides his Grammy-winning duet with Michael McDonald on "Yah Mo B There," Ingram won hearts with "Somewhere Out There," his 1987 Peter Asher-produced duet with Linda Ronstadt. (Featured in Don Bluth's animated movie An American Tail, the emotion-tugging power ballad rose to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chartin 1987 and won the Grammy for song of the year.) Ingram also lent his talents to a range of other albums, including work by The Pointer Sisters and George Benson, as well as Steve Winwood's 1986 Back In The High Life.

Ingram scored his first standalone solo hit in 1990, with the weeper "I Don't Have the Heart," written by Allan Rich and Jud Friedman and produced by Philly pioneer Thom Bell. The lyrics, about a man struggling to admit he's not in the same emotional place as his romantic partner, followed in the footsteps of his earlier 1983 torch song "There's No Easy Way."

A long-married family guy with a full house of kids, Ingram often gravitated to pop material that presented him as a chivalrous, mild-mannered guy honoring his lover (see arch-romantic 1981 The Dude single "100 Hundred Ways"). Reflecting on "I Don't Have the Heart," Ingram once noted to the Evening Sun in 1991: "When I heard it for the first time, a female was singing it ... I thought it would be really nice to hear it from a male's point of view. I thought it would be really beautiful for a man to stand up and be truthful with a woman instead of playing games."

Too often, Ingram's sentimental songs aimed for a generic gentility that could be saccharine and grating. But his convicted, earnest singing still managed to elevate almost any material placed before him.

Ingram greatly benefited from the soundtrack wave of the 1980s — that calculated marriage between record companies and movie studios that yielded slick cross-promotion campaigns and box-office bonanzas. (It also did wonders for artists like Kenny Loggins, The Pointer Sisters, Eddie Money and Christopher Cross). Besides "Somewhere Out There," his Grammy-winning Ronstadt duet from An American Tail, Ingram made contributions to studio film soundtracks like The Color Purple, Beverly Hills Cop II, City Slickers and Wildcats. He won back-to-back best original song Oscar nominations in 1993 and 1994, for co-writing the Dolly Parton duet "The Day I Fall in Love," from Beethoven's 2nd, and Patty Smyth's "Look What Love Has Done," from Junior.

Ingram's singing — somehow simultaneously butter-rich and serrated — opened up space for a generation of pop-soul '80s and '90s singers including Robbie Nevil, Rick Astley, Michael Bolton and Gerald Levert. It also cultivated space for 1990s performer-writers, who oscillated between suave urban R&B and Top 40 pop schmaltz like Brian McKnight and (the endlessly problematic) R. Kelly. Though Ingram once covered Kelly's Space Jam soundtrack fodder "I Believe I Can Fly," the similarities stop there: Ingram's nice-guy aesthetic always aspired to a non-toxic, mutualistic black masculinity. Check out some of Ingram's less appreciated cuts: 1986's "Love's Been Here and Gone," co-written with Marvin Gaye collaborator-mastermind Leon Ware; "What About Me," a 1984 David Foster co-write featuring an unprecedented (and daring) three way pop-country-R&B collaboration between Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes; 1995's mellifluous, heart-aching Anita-Baker duet "When You Love Someone" from the film Forget Paris; and 2001's "Lean on Me," a resplendent house music collaboration with Masters at Work.

In 1991, Ingram released a greatest hits album called The Power of Great Music. I suspect that title indicates that Ingram himself recognized his high-quality, high-craftmanship recordings — in praise of all things romantic, committed and soulful — would surely constitute his shining legacy even after he left this earth. He was right.
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[video=youtube;D0DvtmlWhxQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0DvtmlWhxQ[/video]
 
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