contemporary soul


On this day in music history: April 5, 1975 - “Lovin’ You” by Minnie Riperton hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, and #3 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph, it is the biggest hit for the Chicago born R&B singer. After years of recording with only limited success, singer Minnie Riperton and her husband Richard Rudolph will move to Gainesville, FL, where they enjoy a period of semi-retirement, raising their two children. The couple write the song for their then baby daughter Maya (actress/comedienne Maya Rudolph) as a lullaby. Not long after they write the song, they receive a call out of the blue from Stevie Wonder, having belatedly heard Minnie’s debut solo album “Come To My Garden”. He offers her a spot in his band Wonderlove singing background vocals. While touring and recording with Wonder, she is offered a recording contract with Epic Records by A&R man Don Ellis. Riperton and her family move to Los Angeles to record “Perfect Angel”, her first album for the label. Released in June of 1974, the albums first two singles “Reasons” and “Seeing You This Way” fail to chart. “Lovin’ You” is released as the third single in November of 1974. Co-produced by Stevie Wonder (under the pseudonym “Scorbu Productions”) he also plays electric piano on the track. The single version of the song is remixed, featuring an ARP String Ensemble synthesizer overdubbed on to the track, and is faded earlier than slightly longer LP version. Entering the Hot 100 at #80 on January 18, 1975, it climbs to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. “Lovin’ You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

It’s said that Tamaraebi, in but a few short months, has quickly become known as London’s underground latest soul secret. It becomes clear why this might be so just a few seconds into new original Innocence. His falsettos are exceptional. They’re milky and creamy yet raspy and emotive, all at the same time, like Milosh but raw and immediate instead of like a distant foggy dream. Tamaraebi is also reportedly influenced by Nina Simone, Prince, and Bob Dylan, which can all be found to some extent on this supple hovering fusion of atmospheric production and gently simmering guitar. 

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On this day in music history: February 24, 1973 - “Killing Me Softly With His Song” by Roberta Flack hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks, also peaking at #2 on the R&B singles chart on the same date. Written by Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox, it is the second chart topping single for the North Carolina born singer, songwriter and musician. Originally recorded by singer Lori Leiberman, the song is inspired by a poem she writes after seeing singer Don McLean (“American Pie”) perform at The Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood. Flack sees a picture of Leiberman in a magazine article about her and the song while flying from LA to New York. After hearing Leiberman’s version, Flack decides that she wants to record it herself. Her belief in the songs hit potential is confirmed when she performs it live for the first time. In September of 1972 while appearing as Marvin Gaye’s opening act at the Greek Theater, she performs “Killing Me Softly” during her encore and crowds reaction is wildly enthusiastic. After her set, Gaye tells her not to perform the song again live until after she records it. Once in the studio, Flack spends nearly three months fine tuning the song before feeling that it’s ready for release. Released as a single in January of 1973, it is an instant smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #54 on January 27, 1973, it rockets to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Killing Me Softly With His Song” wins three Grammy Awards, including Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female and her second consecutive win for Record Of The Year. Gimbel And Fox also win the award for Song Of The Year. In 1996, The Fugees revive “Killing Me Softly”, reaching #2 (for 3 weeks) on the Billboard Airplay Chart on June 22, 1996, and winning two Grammy Awards for their album “The Score”. Flack’s version of “Killing Me Softly With His Song” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.