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Old School Friday: Duets!

17 October 2008 13 Comments

Duets are special for their instant cheesiness. Sure the nineties ushered in the r&b/hip-hop remix (thanks Method Man and Mary J.), but when it comes down to it a real duet is deliciously corny when two singers pour their hearts out in unison.

My first pick, 1987’s “There’s Nothing Better Than Love,” oozes sappiness. Both Luther Vandross and Gregory Hines have passed on, they are really jammin’ in this video, and call me a hopeless romantic but the message is spot-on in a way that makes me wanna fall in love!

I really wanted to post 1995’s “Someone to Love” by Jon B and Babyface but you’ll have to click through the title to watch it since embedding is disabled for most of Babyface’s videos. It’s too bad considering all Jon B is up to these days is sticking pins in some Robin Thicke voodoo doll and could use all the exposure he can get. Instead, reminisce over Brain McKnight and Vanessa L. Williams singing 1993’s “Love Is,” a song that had me believing I knew what love was at the tender age of 14.

Check Out Other Old School Friday Participants!
1. MrsGrapevine 2. Marvalus 3. Regina 4. Marcus Langford 5. Quick 6. Chocl8t 7. Cassandra 8. Kreative Talk 9. Lisa C 10. Invisible Woman 11. Vivrant Thing 12. Shawn Williams 13. Electronic Village 14. Hagar’s Daughter 15. Danielle Vyas 16. DP 17. Dee 18. FreshandFab 19. LaShonda 20. AJ 21. Sharon 22. Believer1964 23. Shae-Shae 24. Danielle 25. sjp 26. msladydeborah 27. Thembi


  • MsLindiwe said:

    Nothing Better Than Love is *still* one of my favorite up-tempo-ish slow jams. When it came out in ’87 I was nursing a MEAN crush on Gregory Hines, and seeing him sangin’ in that sweet tenor voice just took me out completely.

    Luther takes it easy on him, but my boy Gregory holds his own in a duet with a great singer.

  • MrsGrapevine said:

    The first song is probably one of the best songs ever written, I posted it for another theme, I miss these two men a lot.

    I also miss Jon B, didn’t you have update about him a while back…

  • Lola Gets said:

    Both of those are great songs, but I especially love the all-male duet. Sang menfolks, sangit!


  • Regina said:

    Great choices! I just got all misty over this song at another blog and yes I just watched it again! Luther and Gregory was awesome!

  • Vivrant Thang said:

    Yea girl. She’ll always be Penny to me. The good ole days.

    Someone To Love?! Girl, you better quit it. Lemme dig that out the crates right now. Nah, maybe not. I don’t need to be thinking bout those things.

    Nice picks. Nothing Better Than Love…all day.

  • Hagar's Daughter said:

    I think you were walking around in my head this time – LOL.

    All of these were on my list, but I chose Greg & Luther because I miss them so much. And you know I always have to go the 70s or earlier.

    I had a great time at your house this OSF with Brian, Babyface, Jon B, and Vanessa Lynn.

  • jazzfan360 said:

    I had no idea that was Gregory that was on that song with Luther. WHOLE lotta talent there. ::Shakes head:: Mm mm mm…

    Woah, I hadn't heard "Love Is" in…oh my goodness, SO many years. Wow. I'd forgotten how good it is. I'm immediately struck by how well constructed it is. Kinda overproduced–all this song really needed was an upright bass, those congas, the Spanish guitar, and Brian's piano–but it's written and performed so well that I can forgive that. Gotta hand it to Brian and my future fife too…in the hands of lesser performers those lyrics could've fallen over into major sap territory.

    But man oh man, there may never be a greater R&B duet than Chaka Khan and Rick James' Slow Dancin’ from her ’82 eponymous record. I will NEVER figure out why this wasn’t released as a single, ’cause you know that mess woulda burned it up, but IIRC that album didn’t sell very well, and as a result, most folks don’t even know the song exists. No reason it shouldn’t be getting sampled all over the place. That insanely tight Rick James production and NASTY wet Rick bassline, and him and Chaka tearin’ it up. When they start breakin it down around 3:50…oh hell yes. HELL yes. It’s held up really well, too, after all this time… I can’t stand R. Kelly, but I’ve thought for years that if he and Mary J. covered this, they could have a monster hit.

  • MsMarvalus said:

    Luther and Gregory!? I’m getting all misty…

  • pjazzypar said:

    I love that record by Gregory and Luther, especially because it displayed a talent nobody really knew Gregory had. It took a lot of nerve to sing with Luther, but he held his own. I hope you had a great OSF.

  • keyalus said:

    @mrsgrapevine: I believe Jon B has a new CD coming out sometime soon. He did a show in Atlanta at a club about a year ago. He sounded so terrible poor dear. I was sorely disappointed.

  • Malcolm said:

    First off, that was a great line about Jon B. sticking pins in a Robin Thicke voodoo doll. Although some might say that the Vanessa Williams/Brian McKnight duet was recorded at Velveeta studios, I love it. It takes me back to when I used to watch “Beverly Hills, 90210” on a regular basis (you may remember that this song was on the soundtrack and they would play the video over the closing credits of some of the episodes).

  • Rain Jacket  said:

    Vanessa Williams have very beautiful eyes, i love those eyes“-

  • Pore Cleanser : said:

    i envy Vanessa Williams eyes, they are very beautiful*:”

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