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Donny Hathaway

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Donny Hathaway was one of the brightest new voices in soul music at the dawn of the '70s, possessed of a smooth, gospel-inflected romantic croon that was also at home on fiery protest material. Hathaway achieved his greatest commercial success as Roberta Flack's duet partner of choice, but sadly he's equally remembered for the tragic circumstances of his death -- an apparent suicide at age 33. Hathaway was born October 1, 1945, in Chicago, but moved to St. Louis when he was very young, and began singing in church with his grandmother at the scant age of three. He began playing piano at a young age, and by high school, he was impressive enough to win a full-ride fine arts scholarship to Howard University to study music in 1964. While in college, he performed with a cocktail jazz outfit called the Ric Powell Trio, and wound up leaving school after three years to pursue job opportunities he was already being offered in the record industry. Hathaway first worked behind the scenes as a producer, arranger, songwriter, and session pianist/keyboardist. He supported the likes of Aretha Franklin, Jerry Butler, and the Staple Singers, among many others, and joined the Mayfield Singers, a studio backing group that supported Curtis Mayfield's Impressions. Hathaway soon became a house producer at Mayfield's Curtom label, and in 1969 cut his first single, a duet with June Conquest called "I Thank You Baby." From there he signed with Atco as a solo artist, and released his debut single, the inner-city lament "The Ghetto, Pt. 1," toward the end of the year. While it failed to reach the Top 20 on the R&B charts, "The Ghetto" still ranks as a classic soul message track, and has been sampled by numerous hip-hop artists. "The Ghetto" set the stage for Hathaway's acclaimed debut LP, Everything Is Everything, which was released in early 1970. In 1971, he released his eponymous second album and recorded a duet with former Howard classmate Roberta Flack, covering Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." It was a significant hit, reaching the Top Ten on the R&B charts, and sparked a full album of duets, Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway, which was released in 1972. The soft, romantic ballad "Where Is the Love?" topped the R&B charts, went Top Five on the pop side, and won a Grammy, and the accompanying album went gold. Also in 1972, Hathaway branched out into soundtrack work, recording the theme song for the TV series Maude and scoring the film Come Back Charleston Blue. However, in the midst of his blossoming success, he was also battling severe bouts of depression, which occasionally required him to be hospitalized. His mood swings also affected his partnership with Flack, which began to crumble in 1973. Hathaway released one more album that year, the ambitious Extension of a Man, and then retreated from the spotlight; over the next few years, he performed only in small clubs. In 1977, Hathaway patched things up with Flack and temporarily left the hospital to record another duet, "The Closer I Get to You," for her Blue Lights in the Basement album. The song was a smash, becoming the pair's second R&B number one in 1978, and also climbing to number two on the pop charts. Sessions for a second album of duets were underway when, on January 13, 1979, Hathaway was found dead on the sidewalk below the 15th-floor window of his room in New York's Essex House. The glass had been neatly removed from the window, and there were no signs of struggle, leading investigators to rule Hathaway's death a suicide; his friends were mystified, considering that his career had just started to pick up again, and Flack was devastated. Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway was released in 1980, and both of the completed duets -- "Back Together Again" and "You Are My Heaven" -- became posthumous hits. In 1990, Hathaway's daughter Lalah launched a solo career. ~ Steve Huey
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Albums by
Donny Hathaway

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    11 songs

    On Air

    Donny Hathaway

    10 songs

    On Air

    Everything Is Everything

    9 songs

    On Air

    Everything Is Everything [Remastered]

    5 songs

    On Air

    Rhino Hi-Five: Donny Hathaway

    58 songs

    On Air

    Never My Love: The Anthology

    19 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Donny Hathaway

    15 songs

    On Air

    A Donny Hathaway Collection

    23 songs

    On Air

    Come Back Charleston Blue [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

    6 songs

    On Air

    In Performance

    8 songs

    On Air

    Live

    14 songs

    On Air

    These Songs for You, Live!

    11 songs

    On Air

    Extension of a Man

    42 songs

    On Air

    Original Album Series

    2 songs

    On Air

    Never My Love

    2 songs

    On Air

    This Christmas

    61 songs

    On Air

    Someday We'll All Be Free

    10 songs

    On Air

    Extension of a Man

    41 songs

    On Air

    Original Album Series

    9 songs

    On Air

    Everything Is Everything

    9 songs

    On Air

    The Best of Donny Hathaway

    21 songs

    On Air

    Come Back Charleston Blue [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

    8 songs

    On Air

    Live/Gatefold Paper Sleeve


Top Songs by
Donny Hathaway

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   The Ghetto
  3.   This Christmas
  4.   A Song for You
  5.   Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)
  6.   Jealous Guy
  7.   For All We Know by Roberta Flack
  8.   And Then There's Maude
  9.   Little Ghetto Boy
  10.   Someday We'll All Be Free
  11.   I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
  12.   He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother
  13.   Be Real Black for Me by Roberta Flack
  14.   Be There
  15.   You've Got a Friend
  16.   What's Going On
  17.   Put Your Hand in the Hand
  18.   Giving Up
  19.   You've Lost That Loving Feeling by Roberta Flack
  20.   Come Little Children
  21.   Memory of Our Love
  22.   Thank You Master (For My Soul)
  23.   Superwoman
  24.   Take a Love Song
  25.   I Believe to My Soul
  26. See All Songs

Stations & Shows Featuring
Donny Hathaway

    On Air

    Capital Cities: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    His & Hers Radio

    On Air

    Funk

    On Air

    Michael Franti: I Am The DJ

    On Air

    Pharrell: DNA

    On Air

    Jay Z: DNA

    On Air

    Funk Classics

    On Air

    Holiday Party

    On Air

    A Very Soulful Christmas

    On Air

    Big Dave's Christmas Favorites

    On Air

    Smooth Jams

    On Air

    Jeff & Jenn's Christmas Channel

    On Air

    Great Songs You Forgot

    On Air

    Acid Jazz

    On Air

    Top Christmas Hits

    On Air

    '70s Deep Dive

    On Air

    Holiday Deep Dive


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