gwen-guthrie

Gwen Guthrie was one of the very 1st music artists to dedicate music to her LGBTQ fans - during the early 1980s when gays were demonized by media for the new outbreak HIV/AIDS. Guthrie, non-judgmental, didn’t blame or encourage hate propaganda. She instead made safe sex songs to enforce self esteem, self love and safety. Proceeds went to the AIDS Coalition. She was ally to the LGBTQ and people living with HIV/AIDS before the masses caught up.

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On this day in music history: September 6, 1986 - “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent” by Gwen Guthrie hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also topping the Club Play chart for 2 weeks on August 23, 1986. Written by Gwen Guthrie, it is the biggest hit for the R&B singer and songwriter from Newark, NJ. Born in small town in rural Oklahoma, Gwen Guthrie’s family will relocate to Newark, NJ while she is a child. Coming from a musical household, she’ll learn piano from her father and study classical music in school, and sing in various vocal groups. Guthrie will attend college and train to become a schoolteacher, but fate will intervene, and she will get her big break in the music business. In 1974, Gwen will be asked to sing background vocals for Aretha Franklin on the song “I’m In Love” (#1 R&B, #19 Pop). Singing along side established veterans including Cissy Houston, Guthrie will make an immediate impression, leading to more lucrative work as a background vocalist and commercial jingle singer. During this time, she will co-write Ben E. King’s comeback hit “Supernatural Thing” (#1 R&B, #5 Pop) and “This Time I’ll Be Sweeter” (#23 R&B, #104 Pop), becoming the first hit for singer Angela Bofill. Guthrie’s work with innovative producer/musicians Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare in the early 80’s will put her on the map as a solo vocal star while signed to Island Records, as will her collaborations with club DJ icon Larry Levan, who will remix the classic “Padlock”. Signed to Polydor Records in early 1986, Gwen Guthrie will begin work on her first album for the label with David “Pic” Conley of the R&B group Surface. The inspiration for her biggest hit will come from Guthrie’s grandfather, who would often reply with the phrase “ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent” when someone would ask him what was going on with him. That hook along with the lyric “no romance without finance” will make the song an anthem for many women, though many men will misconstrue the lyrics as women “being materialistic”, instead of the actual message of both parties being on equal footing  in a relationship. Regardless, the song will become an instant club classic, rising up the R&B and dance charts simultaneously. Larry Levan will also remix the 12" version of “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent” which will also become a best seller. “Rent” will attain additional pop culture status when comedian Eddie Murphy quotes lyrics from the song in his 1987 concert film “Raw”.

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Gwen Guthrie “Ain’t Nothing Going on But the Rent" 

First of all, I need to shout out auntiemusic for reminding me of this song (seriously go check out that blog). Second, this song can probably be interpreted a few different ways, depending on who is doing the interpreting. For me, Ms. Guthrie is setting a standard for herself. As she says "life’s too serious; love’s too mysterious.” Basically, love comes and goes, but stability, especially financial stability is important. Thus, if you want to be with her, you need to come with more than a smile and promises. You need to bring something to the relationship because we cannot survive on love alone.  

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Thank you Discogs!

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Gwen Guthrie   Ain’t Nothing Going on But the Rent    1985

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Gwen Guthrie - Outside In The Rain

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Throwback Thursday

I blame Ru for this song being stuck in my head for the last week and a half.

“Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent” // Gwen Guthrie // 1985

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the lyrics are too funny.. she aint playin Miss Gwen Guthrie cuz there “Aint nothing going on but the rent”. Beyonce got nothing on her. Sing a long if you like.

Bill collectors at my door
What can you do for me
Hey

No romance without finance
No romance without finance

Boy, nothin’ in life is free
That’s why I’m askin’ you what can you do for me
I’ve got responsibilities
So I’m lookin’ for a man whose got money in his hands

‘Cause nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
You got to have somethin’ if you wanna be with me
Oh, life is too serious, love’s too mysterious
A fly girl like me needs security

‘Cause ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me
Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me

No romance without finance
I said no romance without finance

Boy, you’re silky ways are sweet
But you’re only wastin’ time if your pockets are empty
I’ve got lots of love to give
But I will have to avoid you if you’re unemployed

‘Cause nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
You got to have somethin’ if you wanna be with me
‘Cause life is too serious, love’s too mysterious
A fly girl like me needs security

‘Cause ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me
Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me

No romance without finance
I said no romance without finance
No romance without finance
I said no romance without finance

Oh, you look good to me
Your silky words are sweet
But your pockets sure look empty

Ooh, nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’
You got to have somethin’ if you wanna be with me
Whoa, life is too serious, love’s too mysterious
A fly girl like me needs security
I said life is too serious, love’s too mysterious
Fly girl like me needs security

‘Cause ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me
Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent
You got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me

No romance without finance
No romance without finance
No romance without finance
I said no romance without finance

What can you do for me
Oh, you look good to me
Your silky words are sweet
But your pockets sure look empty

Ain’t nothin’ goin’ on but the rent

I’m lookin’ for a man to put some money in my hands

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Gwen Guthrie - It Should Have Been You

[Island Records - DM 4833 - 1982]

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passing through the appalachians with the bass cranqed way up for this track was a highlight of the weekend