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In honor of the Jewish New Year, a program none of you were expecting. #RoshHashana #LindaCreed #QuietStorm #SoulMusic #RRHOF #fuckcancer
About this time every year, there is considerable online debate about the inductees for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is now almost 35 years of age. The truly disappointing thing: almost everyone, and I do not mean that lightly, almost everyone focuses on performers. This is especially sad to hear this among women, who seemingly do not recognize that there are other careers in music for women other than as lead performers.
Cases in point, and ones I have been making since 2014: Black record label owner Vivian Carter, session bassist Carol Kaye, engineer Susan Rogers and songwriter Linda Creed, the latter with possibly the most unusual career among all of these amazingly talented women.
Lady Creed was born and raised in Philadelphia. She attempted a songwriting career at Mills Music in New York City, only to come home despondent and feeling a failure, which she documented in a song called “I’m Coming Home”. She originally was fronting an R&B group, highly unusual for a Jewish woman at the time. Interestingly, it was her songwriting gifts that brought her the professional music career she so longed for.
Along the way, she unknowingly helped develop a sub-genre of R&B called Quiet Storm: music that typically started off as a major-key piano ballad, which then would morph into lush string arrangements, with vocalists carrying the melody.
Her songs became major hits for dozens of entertainers. Sadly, at the age of 26, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the spring of 1986, just weeks before her most famous composition, “The Greatest Love of All”, sung by Whitney Houston, would hit number #1 and make Houston a superstar, Creed died of her affliction at just 37 years of age. I remember hearing the news while a senior in high school, and to this day, am saddened that in the grand tradition of Jewish-American songwriters, Creed’s named is hardly ever mentioned.
Some of this may be due to the fact that Creed primarily wrote for Black artists. As we approach the New Year tonight at sundown, a reminder that some things transcend time, ethnicity and indifference, and that love can conquer all. And, as someone who is dealing with a similar affliction, #fuckcancer.
- The Stylistics, You Are Everything
- Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, Stop, Look and Listen
- Teddy Pendergrass and Whitney Houston, Hold Me
- George Benson, The Greatest Love Of All
- Dusty Springfield, I’m a Free Girl
- The Chi-Lites, One Man Band
- The Spinners, Living Just a Little, Laughing Just a Little
- Ronnie Dyson, Point of No Return
- Johnny Mathis, I’m Coming Home
- Phyllis Hyman, Old Friend
- Johnny Gill, Half Crazy
- Little Anthony and the Imperials, Help Me Find A Way
- Dionne Warwick, His House and Me
- The Stylistics, You Make Me Feel Brand New
Love to you all.
Ben “Bear” Brown Jr., owner
Host, Producer, Audio Engineer and Writer
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