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Throwback: Donny Hathaway-This Christmas

[youtube id=”VcMWUArO8ak”] Donny Hathaway wrote “This Christmas” with Nadine McKinnor hoping to create the ultimate Xmas song for African-Americans. “This Christmas” wasn’t received well after its initial release in 1970 but by the ’80s it was customary to hear it on Black radio around holiday time. Listeners knew when they heard the beaming horns intro it was time for the holiday.  The presence of the song each year on those radio stations, its re-release in 1991 and cover versions from Patti LaBelle and many others instituted classic status for “This Christmas.” Hathaway and McKinnor’s intention to capture the spirit of a soulful holiday achieved its goal of becoming the most popular Black Christmas song. Hathaway’s daughter Lalah recently covered “This Christmas” for a Spotify Singles recording session. When she was asked by Essence magazine whose version of the song did she like most she replied:

“Donny Hathaway’s is my favorite. I know it’s Christmas when I hear daddy’s version. I would like to hear more of [it].”




Tall Black Guy Remixes Donny Hathaway For The Holidays

Tall Black Guy remixes Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and renames the Sleigh Bell edit “For You This Christmas.” The fullness of the original version is gone and TBG makes Hathaway sound like he’s singing from a radio plugged into the afterlife. TBG just released his sophomore album, Let’s Take A Trip and launched his TBG Aliens membership which allows fans to have access to all of his music for an annual fee.




Media Questions Of The Week

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Will Don Cheadle receive an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Miles Davis in Miles Ahead?

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Why weren’t equipment issues solved so that The Roots and Bilal could perform for the David Bowie tribute at Carnegie Hall?

 

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Did Lala Hathaway really disrespect the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity by wearing their hat in honor of her father Donny Hathway who was a member of the organization?

 




Throwback: Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway-Back Together Again

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Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway met as students at Howard University in the ’60s. Both of them were also signed to Atlantic Records and it was Jerry Wexler who suggested a duets project to them. Flack had already been commercially successful on her first album with “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” and Hathaway’s reputation as a soul stylist was immediately established on his 1970 debut album Everything Is Everything. Their first collaborative album of 1972 gave them a renewed profile with the public thanks to the single “Where Is The Love.” Their version of the song written by Flack’s drummer Ralph Macdonald and William Salter song exposed their synchronous chemistry and put them in the R&B canon of great duets alongside Rene & Angela, Teena Marie & Rick James, Keith Sweat & Jacci McGhee and D’Angelo & Lauryn Hill. “The Closer I Get To You” was another successful pairing of the two in the studio for Flack’s 1977 Blue Lights In The Basement album. “Back Together Again” is a song written by James Mtume and Reggie Lucas from their 1980 second duets album and one of two songs Hathaway recorded for the project before his 1979 passing. Flack’s 19 plus album output has included writing the soundtrack for the movie Bustin’ Loose and her most recent 2012 tribute album to The Beatles. Donny Hathaway’s legacy is alive and lives through his daughter the singer Lalah Hathaway as well as many artists who have acknowledged his influence including Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Anthony Hamilton and Usher.