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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

Selected Discography

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Track List: Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway

1. I (Who Have Nothing)

2. You've Got A Friend

3. Baby I Love You

4. Be Real Black For Me

5. You've Lost That Loving Feeling

6. For All We Know

7. Where Is The Love

8. When Love Has Grown

9. Come Ye Disconsolate

10. Mood

Comments

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I will be a great fan of his forever!
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My jam always
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Beautiful Donny Hathaway - left a wonderful part of himself with me. Will treasure his talent always.
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DIZ DA DOG RIGHT HERE SHAWTY!!!!! R.I.P. BIG BRO U AH LEGEND N MY BOOK!!!U MADE SUM OUT OF NOTHING BIG BRO!!!!AND YO GROOVE''S ARE GROOVY MAN....YO BABY GIRL KEEPING IT GOING ON JACK!!!!!!
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I love this jam.....
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Classic, soulful and enjoyable eternally!
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One Of My Favorites
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Who knew that under that beautiful voice was a tortured soul! So sad, his music life was about to explode but he couldn't handle the real or imagined internal demons. Terrible loss for all music lovers!
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Great talent will always be missed by true lover of great music Donnie & Roberts flack God bless
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Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway.
Where Is The Love...
Great Love Song.
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Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway.
The closer i get to you...
Love this song.
Very romantic...
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One of the Greatest Love songs of all time by both Ms Roberta Flack & Mr Donny Hathaway, now this is when Love songs really meant and the words spoke the truth!!
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Love song, Love music, Love true.
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Roberta flack & Donny hathaway
Great team for always
Gonna miss him...
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Roberta flack & Donny hathway
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rcoleman1714
I love this kind of music..They jus don't make music like this no more..
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hsuarez1939
One of the most romantic song I have ever heard.
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This song is cut and dry listening to them bring back memory missing those days
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Absolutely lovely. ......love this jam!!! :)
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Want too tell the whole world.. That im in love with one of god angels...
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slow jam of all times!
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Love this song!!
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This was the "cut " that got everyone on the floor. Real soul music and Mr. Donny is from the "CHI"! So I love and respect all his music.The Closer I Get To You"! Real duet. Couples that could really blow together. Thanks to you both........ . . .
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For All We Know...Donny Hathaway...t a k i n g us to church with this song
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Truly a Love Song
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love this song!!!!!
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Smooth...
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Make me miss being in love
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Will always love this old but goodie
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Love this song..
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it's an all time great rola!
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Love this song
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LOVE IT...THE CLOSER I GET TO U!
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Rush hour 3 Chris Tucker
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BRILLIANT DISPLAY OF TALENT! GOD GIVEN! ��
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Lovely song, love them together..
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Beautiful colab..
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By giving me all you got, your love has captured me....pure poetry
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So wonderful love this music
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Hated to see and hear he left us
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I dont like him
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swhitfield.s o n g
Kendra, often the most talented are emotionally troubled.
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I can't believe Donny Halfway killed himself, after all those songs that he sang to up lift people spirits.
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You will always be remembered by all who NEW YOUR MUSIC AND THOSE WHO DIDN'T, AND THROUGH YOUR DAUGHTER LAYLA HATHAWAY. You left a strong message in your music, PEACE B UNTO YOU.
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rhondapeeksk i l l
I'm overwhelmed
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db_rollin64
I wish that Roberta, Donny, and Luther could have made a song together!
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this make me remember my one true love R.I.P. HARRY-O
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CRAZY
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feomgrofhome
I never knew him, yet I miss him.
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R.I.P Donnie. You will always be an inspiration to me through your music.
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