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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

Selected Discography

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Track List: Never My Love: The Anthology

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4

Comments

this man was a tremendous singer, and musician he makes me cry everytime I hear him sing. I wish I was old enough back then to see him perform. We always lose the best singers that sucks, but his music will forever be a hit love always
Wow you are the truth , you saw the light sorry for your pain God forgive you n bless your families I love you.
Again! RNB AT IT'S BEST!!!
Soulful, moving, and inspirationa l ! ! ! Had the makings to be as big as the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, and Smoke Robinson.
Oh my! listen to the words; the melody will take you places. I wish I could say these words to you babe.
candicejones 3 0 3 0
Love this man!!!!
Sack full of dreams (sigh)
Donny is the bomb! I can listen to him and his little girl, LaLah all day! Mega talented brother.
jenbrandle
Everything.. . i s everything
I can listen to this all day..... Donny is one gifted man who sings from his soul..... You can definitely feel it and hear it.. You can also relate to his words.....
smooth
This is indeed another music monster.
DONNY REMINDS ME OF THIS 'WHAT COMES FROM THE HEART TOUCHES THE HEART ' YOUR PRESENCE IS STILL WITH US ,MAY YOU RIP
the real king of R&B
stpratcher
This song touches my heart!
Tomorrow may never come, for all we know.....
We Love YOU LORD just because YOU 1'st Loved us + 3m 14y
The man was a genius! I also love his daughter who also is a genius! Lahlah is the bomb! Donnie would be so proud! I love you Donnie! RIP!
The Heart of Soul!
Nothing but soul.... This man right here!!! We lost one of the most talented singers/pian i s t . . . . You can hear his pain in most of his songs, so much emotion, you can feel it... RIP Donny......
From Anthony to Latina, I LOVE YOU, AND I hope you feel the same.
If anyone knows my love Latina R. Moore (her married name),send her home. LOVE is a many splintered THINGS, and um one of them,along with the Greater Good.
Amazing! R.I.P. Mr. Hathaway!
I think I have found my voice, from me to them

This brother is bad, reminds me of my LOST LOVE, 55-4144,L.Re n a
just crying as I hear his song so beautiful
He was one of the brightest voices period not just in Soul Music .
All souls were with GOD before the foundation of the world, I AM Chosen before the foundation of this age Ephesians 1:4, 5. 14y 1m
One of the greatest voices of the past 100 years. Simply put he could sing his a$$ off!!
Donny always take me to Church with his sangin.... Love his voice... Very talented gifted singer/songw r i t e r . He was young, gifted and black... SIP Mr. Donny Hathaway...
kboyd168
We had such good music. Young people listen and enjoy. We did with such happines.
sepiroth2010
Such a gifted voice. You are missed Mr. Hathaway. Rest in peace.
Love Donny Hathaway!!!
gailpeoples
Whenever I hear him sing I realize what a jewel we lost and thank God we still have his music.
tenorthomas1 9 6 0
The best voice i have ever heard, ever song that i sing it has to have a donny influence in it. I love the way he sings!!!!!!! !
I did not cry when Michael Jackson , or James Brown, or Ray Charles , or Luther, or Marvin, or Sam Cooke died , but I cried when Donny killed himself not that he was more appreciated by me than those artists , but I thought his voice was as good as Cole , or Cooke, or Stevie .Songs not mentioned here Thank You Master For My Soul and To be Young Gifted in Black are classics. His rendition of What's Going On is so good it rivals Marvin's original .
This song This song...gets to me everytime
R.I.P. Mr. Donny Hathaway.... . resting in Eternal Peace in STL. ♥
A Song For You was the wedding song I walked down the aisle too. It was so beautiful my talented aunts sang and one of them played the piano. The best day of my life. Such a beautiful song!!
Beautiful Voice an Lovely music!!
Bring it DONNIE! Wish u were here but your legacy still last til the end of time. Sack full of dreams is what u left us.
Yeeeeeeeeeee e e s s s s s s s . . . .
luv Donny Hathaway
Wow, this is the quality of music we music lovers deserve. Thank you Donny Hathaway.
Pure genius..
Someday We'll All Be Free... I love to hear Donny sing this song even though I get teary eyed!!! ♥♥♫♫
All I can say is "WOW". Music will NEVER BE THE SAME!!!
Such a beautiful voice; never duplicated!! RIP Donny Hathaway!!
bklyncali
Wow, what can u say about these two!!!! 1 of the greatest song, ever
They don't mention in the outline of his life that he suffered from Paranoid Schizophreni a . He said a lot of things in his music because of this disease and what it was doing to him. Donny talked a lot about death and dying and leaving that little lady of his Lala behind. You have to listen closely to hear what he's really saying.
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