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Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway

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, Rovi
full bio

Comments

feomgrofhome
I never knew him, yet I miss him.
R.I.P Donnie. You will always be an inspiration to me through your music.
I remember my first love this was out song. I would dedicate it to her all the time.
Kiss your hand 5 times post this on two songs look under your pillow
My personal favorite singer of all time
Happy Birthday Donny Hathaway rest in peace love and miss you.
OMGOODNESS the best duo since Marvin and Tammi. Then Roberta and Peabo took to another level higher!
RIP Donnie
Met Donnies wife last night. after lalah's performance in Detroit ...when i touched her i felt Donnies spirit. ..the moment was so moving for me...i teared up...I LOVE this CAT your legacy lives through your seed bro R.I.P.
the closer I grt to you
ctmantel2004
This song is ok
OMG!!!-Loosi n g My Mind!-Just Beautiful!!- Miss This!!-Both of them had their clothes on!-No gimmicks or Auto-Tune!
Love this song he is. Truly missed
A definite classic by two talented individuals who exuded class.dignit y , and sheer sophisticati o n . There will never be another Donny and no one even comes close to Roberta except LaLah Hathaway!
special song for a special time once ago
They just don't make music like this anymore, unfortunatel y
I so remember this .. Beautiful song
byron500
I wish Roberta flack was still making music.
A great song from two great singers.
the greatest always pass on early. donnie hathaway, 2pac, biggie, marvin gaye, bob marley, etc
The best...
You can tell through his music/words that something was wrong... If you sit back and listen For all we know #Deep #Depressing #Sad I'm sure his family and friends tried their best to help him...... But God, was ready... SIP Mr. Donny Hathaway #Young #Gifted and #Black
I love this song it's so sad that Donnie left us..Roberta sung her heart out on this song..R.I.Pa r a d i s e Donnie
Donny Hathaway you were and always will be one of the greatest rip
db_associate s
Easily mentioned in the same breath as Kenny and Dolly, or Neil and Barbara, or Lionel and Diana... Never mind, forget it, I'm just a hopeless sap for duets.
Such a perfect song!!!
Such a beautiful song. Make me want to cry. It's like the rainbow after a thunder storm.
The Closer I Get to You... So beautiful
For All We know is such a beautiful song... So simple but so beautiful...
cuzinanthony
TY Donny
snokieyinez2
For All We Know... Gives me CHILLS!!!! I just LOVE that song
They met @ Howard Uni Kool!!!!! The Dynamic Duo xx xx
t.givens
Genius. A master at his craft. Gone way to soon but his music an talent lives on. RIP Mr.Hathaway.
goose-bumps! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
I love Donny's style of music.....ge n i u s !
BEAUTIFUL !!
looking for the song or album with, Back Together? on it
One of the albums,ever! ! ! !


For all we know
We may never meet again
Before you go
Make this moment sweet again

We won't say goodnight
Until the last minute
I'll hold out my hand
And my heart will be in it

For all we know
This may only be a dream
We come and we go
Like the ripples of a stream

So love me, love me tonight
tomorrow was made for some
tomorrow may never come
for all we know
roberta and donny had a sound that was fixed for there voices
marilyn5142
Simply magnificent !!
This is one of the most beautiful songs of all times.
I have remembered this song since I was a kid! Classic joint by both legendary artists. It don't get no higher than this level of excellence.
What a legion Duo
gscott452001
Roberta Flack and Donnie Hathaway, made beautiful music together.
ruth_allen6
I have always loved their music. I want to hear some music by Roberta and Donny.
kevinh21
SUPERB! SIMPLY SUPERB!
One of my favorites by Donny.
She's amazing!! They are amazing together!
angelou_ecm
They (Donny and Roberta) were just getting started good when his light went out. I loved the songs he gave us. What a team they made! Thanks to the two of them.
Roberta is fab! Have seen her in concert twice and both times she was sooo classey. Beautiful and timeless! Keep it coming Roberta. We love you!
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