Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Song #249: "Don't Leave Me This Way"--Thelma Houston (1977)

This song is usually lumped into the "disco" category by most music fans and critics, and I think doing that doesn't quite give this song the full credit it deserves.

Originally released, to pretty good success on the new "Billboard Disco Chart" in 1975 by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, today's tune was headed for Diana Ross originally, who enjoyed chart success in 1976 with "Love Hangover", a song with some definite similarities with our tune today. But it ended up in Houston's lap, and she absolutely nailed it.

Yes, I know the song screams "disco", but my earlier statement is to make sure Houston gets credit for fantastic vocals and the producers and band used for the song get credit for their work, especially the beginning. Forty years later, when this song comes on the radio, you know in 1.5 seconds what it is (listen at ;16 below). There are ten million songs in the world that would kill for that ability.

I'm posting the full album version, because, well, if you've followed the countdown at all you know I'm partial to the "real" version, not the chopped out "single" versions we were fed by radio stations, especially in the 1970's and 1980's when executives still shuttered at the thought of a song longer than four minutes.

If you think about it, radio singles back in the 1960's as "music radio" came of age was almost like the "Twitter Generation" of music. Anything over 2:30 long and you were in trouble. It was like they were thinking in 140 characters or less back then. :)

Transport yourself back just shy of a generation, and enjoy Thelma's contribution to music, disco, and our countdown.

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