I have always been a lover of words, that is one uncontroverted truth about me. I have been reading since age 3, and I don’t mean, “See cat run,” I mean the newspaper The Philadelphia Bulletin (it no longer exists, Google it) I was read to in the womb and read to nightly. I also have always been a lover of music, I’ve been singing since age 2 played my first instrument at 6. My father sang to me endlessly. So naturally pure bliss for TK, is having these two thought provoking and often emotional evoking entities become one beautiful masterpiece.
Love songs are the best songs. Not just the love between you and your “lover,” in music it’s inclusive to any love, on every level and excludes none. Love is all encompassing. So, I ask you where is the love? Surely, you have a favorite love song, or do you? To really be able to answer that question you have to figure out what type of love you’re describing. Today’s lesion boys and girls is about romantic love. The emotion for another person that can literally take your breath away. I mean love that you feel for a person that makes you want to be better because they are so good to and for you. Love is a very selfish emotion, for you do not love someone because you make them feel good. You love someone because of how good they make you feel. As blissful as love is, it is so powerful that it can sway the pendulum to it’s complete and utter polar opposite and morph into hate.
Today’s musicians and songwriters don’t write love songs, there’s plenty of sex, but no real love. Even ballads are simply words put together in order to get you into bed and on to your next hook up. So I ask you again, where is the love? Simply put, love don’t live here anymore. You don’t need love to make a good song. Exhibit A, “69” by Marsha Ambrosius which starts: “Take my clothes off, stiletto heels still on deck, yeah. Take my clothes of, you’d better get ready get set go….” Sexy, sensual, steamy ballad, but not a love long (and yes, 69 is exactly what Ms. Ambrosius is singing about) and yet it is a great song. Marsha is also your saving grace, but we’ll come back to her later. Exhibit B: ” Drunk In Love” by Beyoncé has not one thing to do with love, but it is a great song. These are women talking about sex. At least they use clever idioms to hide the subject matter, which is better than what some “artists” are doing.
Gone, are songs like “Where Is The Love? or ‘The Closer I Get To You ” by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway (written by Ralph MacDonald and William Salter; James Mtume and Reggie Lewis Flack & Hathaway were brilliant song writers as well). Today we have singers and performers, not artists. “Where Is The Love” came out before I was born, I didn’t even know all of the lyrics to “The Closer I Get To You,” I just knew I liked it. My favorite childhood song was “Benny and The Jets,” by Sir Elton John. I liked the way it sounded, some 30 odd years later I still don’t know why they were fighting their parents out in the street to find out who’s wrong, I digress.
Obviously, initially you have to have good music. Words are understood the more repetitions it gets, and you see where the artist is taking you. People will have you believe that a Love Song has to be a ballad; it does not. Words make a love song and together we will explore some of the greatest loves songs ever written and the singers who sang them. You must first understand where we are culturally and see if we can detect the shift from “Between The Sheets,” by The Isley Brothers to “I’m F*cking You Tonight,” by R. Kelly. Eventually, it will come down to what You like, what You prefer, and finally where You are emotionally. So, since I cannot prove to you what you predominately have now is trash, and very few true ARTISTS are left. It’s actually quite sad…
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is a song written by Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla Motown label. When I was a kid I thought that Ashford & Simpson were two guys. The composition was first successful as a 1967 hit single recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. I like that version, but it’s not my favorite. No, the one that grabbed me was Diana Ross.
Like a lot of great songs, it almost didn’t happen. Ross was IT then and she’d done a cover with the Temptations while with the Supremes and well, divas are called that for a reason; they can be difficult. Then after Ross gave in, Barry “Mr. Motown” Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. In defense of Barry that part that he loves so much is what makes the song. It in my opinion it is the only song in history where the cover surpasses the original. You have just been introduced to the greatest songwriting team in the history of music.
Try not to get swept away by Ross’ strong melodic voice and listen to the words…
Justine, Jolene, Autumn Weenie, Stix,, Nix, and Jen every time we separate this is the last thing we do together sing this 48 year old classic because we know we’ll always be there for each other and nothing in this world could stop us if and when we’ve needed one another. That is what a song can do. It’s not my favorite Oldie, it’s flat out my favorite song. I’d like to thank my grandmother Francis Peirce for playing it for me, and Ms. Ashley for being the ultimate embodiment of this song. They don’t make songs like this anymore…
Part 2 tomorrow…
Photo Credit To DianaRoss.com and Motown Records
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TK’s Bio: Terrence Kyrell Hodge I was born 9/13/79, in what was then W. Berlin Germany, to Qualise and Lieutenant Tyrone Hodge of the United States Marine Corps. He lived in London England and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2000 with BA in English and Political Science. Terrence writes about any and everything. Terrence is planning a series of novels that are works of “faction” part factual (nonfiction) and partly fictional. He plans to bring a dual vision of American and European observation and opinions to PMA. He will bring blunt honesty with a sense of comedy. He says “I will write wherever I’m needed as I am NOT a one trick pony.”