CLASSICS: EASY LISTENING / SOFT MUSIC (SINGLES)
Not only was James Ingram handsome as hell back in the day, he was a very telented singer. James is best known for singing love ballads (although he’s made a lot of pop music back in the day), and many of his ballads became huge hits! One of them is called “I Don’t Have The Heart,” from the “It’s Real” album, under Warner Brothers Label. This is a very different, yet, interesting kind of love song. The average love song talks about how much one loves the other; while this particular song focuses on calming the fears of the person he loves. I can’t accurately find which chart category the song was number one (it had to have been “Top 100 Charts”), but I found this article showing that it was on a “Top Five.”
Another huge favorite of mine, is a song called “Just Once,” released in 1981. I believe it was all written and produced by Quincy Jones. This was a single release, I don’t think there was ever an album. However, it was promoted as Quincy Jones, featuring James Ingram. The song reached #7 on the Adult Contemporary Charts. It stayed relevant for twenty weeks.
Unfortunately, as talented as James Ingram is, he’s only had about 4 number ones throughout his career. And I think that “Baby Come To Me,” a duet with Patti Austin, was his most notable and memorable accomplishment. It was released in 1982, and hit number one on both Top 100 and Adult Contemporary Chart. The song was so popular, for a short time, it became the theme song to a soap opera called “General Hospital” in the mid eighties.
I absolutely fell in love with an old classic, that was produced by a group called “Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds.” In 1975, under Playboy Records (however, the rerecorded version was distributed by Purple Pyramid Records (not sure if related)), they released a song called “Fallin’ In Love.” The song was written by band member Dan Hamilton. This is the perfect kind of song to play, when you’re trying to rekindle a broken relationship, and your both on a picnic/beach vacation together. Although the rerecorded version sounds ok, I still prefer the original. It only reached up to #24 on the R&B Charts, but this was one of my biggest favorites from the group. The second song I love from this group is called “Don’t Pull Your Love (1971).” This song reached #4 on the Adult Contemporary Charts, and stayed relevant for about 12 weeks. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more songs I like from them, or at least songs that are worth listening. I believe the two above were their only hits throughout their career.
This is an example of the kind of music my grandfather introduced me to when I was a baby. I clearly remember listening to Brook Benton’s music on my grandfather’s ginormous Reel2Reel. “Rainy Night In Georgia” still remains to be one of my favorite childhood songs of all times. His voice was so smooth, calming, and enjoyable. Benton was one of the very few artists that reminded me of the late Nat King Cole; because they both had that added (what I call) xmas texture to their voices. The song was originally written and produced by a guy by the name of Tony Joe White. I didn’t particularly care for Tony’s original. Brook’s voice added that romantic magic to the song, that took it to #1 on the R&B Music Charts, and stayed relevant for 14 weeks. However, long after the song fell off the charts, Brook’s version continued to play both on the radio and our homes for decades later after it’s release. Another favorite song of mine from this same greatest hits album is a song called “Kiddio (1960).” Kiddio reached #7 on the Hot 100 Charts, and stayed relevant for 17 weeks. Also Check out “It’s Just A Matter Of Time,” and “Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes),” a duet with Dinah Washington.
Peabo Bryson is an awesome singer, and has made major hard hitting hits. That includes duets with people like the legendary Regina Belle; with their hit theme song to the movie “Aladdin (1992),” called “A Whole New World.” Peabo was born in South Carolina, and grew up to be a distinguished performer, with two Grammy awards under his built. Besides doing movie scores, he’s also a R&B, soul, and a pretty good jazz singer. A couple of days ago, I heard a song from him on an Internet radio station I totally forgotten about. It’s called “If You’re Ever In My Arms Again,” released in 1984. The song reached #10 on the Top 100 billboard charts, and stayed on the chart for 25 weeks. This is such a beautiful love song we just don’t hear anymore. These kinds of music is less likely to be discovered on YouTube. I don’t know if it’s a rumor or not, but it is said he’s supposed to come out with a new album in 2018. If so, I’m interested to see what he has to offer. It will be his first album in a looong time.
“Take It To The Limit” by the Eagles, is such a beautiful song. Then again, the Eagles are legendary for making great music. So many bands tried to imitate their sound, such as “Chicago,” “Ambrossa,” and “Alabama,” just to name a few. In fact, a lot of their music sounded so much alike, I used to get confused as to which band sang what. Personally speaking, as a fan, it was very frustrating, because it made going to the record store that much harder! Now we have Shazam, so those issues are a thing of the past (well almost). The lyrics talk about a subject I seldom hear str8 men talk about. Which is running around being self absorbed with personal desires, while wondering if a/or any woman around him had actually loved him. Some deep sh*t. I think the blunt and raw honesty of the lyrics is what also makes this song so beautiful. Check this classic out on Spotify!
Here is a great song to add to your playlist! I know I’ve been doing a lot of easy-listening lately, but I couldn’t resist not sharing this awesome song from Michael McDonald. It’s called “I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near),” released in 1982. That year it peaked at number 4 on the music charts, stayed hot on the charts for about 19 weeks. The song is basically about a guy who’s so in love with his ex, that each time he sees her or think about her, it was as though they never broke up. Although technically its a sad song, but it has a sick & smooth beat to it. In fact, the song was so popular back in the day it was sampled by Warren G, in his rap called “Regulate (1994),” featuring Nate Dogg (which became another big hit as well). Michael McDonald was also the lead singer of a popular group called “The Doobie Brothers,” which I recommend that you search and check them out using your favorite streaming service.
There were two songs from singer Barbara Lewis, that happens to be my all-time favorites. They also were the two biggest songs of her career. The first song is called “Hello Stranger,” released in 1963. On July of ’63, “Hello Stranger hit number 3 on the music charts, and stayed there for 14 weeks. I wasn’t even born yet, but this song was still extremely popular, up to about when I was 6-8 years old maybe? So this classic had a good 12 year shelf life on the radio. Very nice song for easy dancing with your partner. Another very popular song I love from this same album is called “Baby I’m Yours.” This is another perfect example of a romantic female song. Great song for the moment you realize you’re ready to settle down with that one guy. It was released in 1965, and peaked number 11 on the charts. The song stayed on the charts for 14 weeks as well. Add these songs to your playlist. Or browse the album via Spotify’s Web Player here.
I’m sure a lot of you romantics will be adding “Rock Me Tonight (For Old Time Sakes)” to your playlists. R&B singer & Grammy Award Nominee, Freddie Jackson was the Sh** back in the day; he now seems to be another forgotten classic legend. Hard to fathom how an artist that was so massively popular, is now so far removed from most headphones today. Although he did not win the Grammy that year, “Rock Me Tonight,” a long with another massively famous hit song called “You Are My Lady,” help this album reach platinum in the mid 1980s. Go ahead and add this classic collection to your Spotify Albums. Mobile or Web Player.