Thursday, October 29, 2009

Music that’s actually OLD school

My girl ASmith sent a chilling tweet the other day. She tweeted that someone considered Eminem to be "old school." What the devil? Well, let's take a look: technically, old school is anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect, including music, clothing and language. –From Wikipedia. But in reality, old school should be at least generational. A generation is usually from parent to child and considered an average of 20 years. Eminem's first album came out in 1998… not so old school.

An old school joint is one that you can play in front of your mother, grandmother, cousin Ray-Ray with his bad-ass kids and everybody sings along, hops up to cut a rug or nods and says, "That's a classic right there." So when I say old school, I'm talking about a classic that has (and will continue) to stand the test of time. My old school cuts came out over 20 years ago and I ain't shamed to play them in mixed race/sex/generational company. Here are a few favorites (and yes, I had to cut this off):

  1. The Entire Motown Songbook. I can't pick one but I will give special mention to Marvin Gaye's What's Going on and his duet with Tammi Terrell You're All I Need to Get By. Just let me mention Stevie with his prolific brilliance. He kicked out about six brilliant albums with multiple amazing singles in a row. I'll just mention As for one and Hotter than July as one that still makes the summer picnic. And the Jackson 5's I Want You Back, Smokey Robinson's Tears of a Clown is immortal, The Commodores – I have a personal weakness for Zoom. And the Tempts! My Girl! Alright, I REALLY did mean the entire songbook, too many to name.
  2. All of Anita Baker's stuff. Hurts me a little to think that Giving You the Best That I Got came out in 1988.
  3. Everybody gets up the minute Flashlight and Atomic Dog come on. You cannot get mad at George Clinton, Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy and the gang. Ooh, speaking of gangs - Kool and the Gang - Ladies Night.
  4. Speaking of funky: all of Earth Wind and Fire's singles. Would You Mind is an all time slow jam.
  5. Since MJ is gone (RIP King of Pop!) we'll just put all his stuff into the classic old school bucket. I can't pick a favorite but Man in the Mirror is genius. How many times has Human Nature been sampled now?
  6. Prince's narrow little behind has way too much good music out there so I'll cut off his "old school classics" with Purple Rain. Okay, I would not play Darling Nikki in front of BougieMom but Let's go Crazy gets everybody moving.
  7. Reppin' for "Adult Contemporary Rock" I'll go with: The Eagles- Take It to The Limit, Journey – Lights, The Police – Wrapped Around your Finger, Hall & Oates – Sara Smile
  8. Back, back, back in the day classics. BougieDad taught me about these: Duke Ellington – Sophisticated Lady, Nat King Cole – Mood Indigo, Sam Cooke – A Change is Gonna come, Dean Martin – Kick in the Head, Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong– Let's Call the Whole Thing Off.
  9. Precursors to the Hip-Hop Revolution: Whodini – Freaks Come out at Night, Cameo – Candy, Guy – I Like, Grandmaster Flash - The Message
  10. Boy Bands (before Boy Bands went crazy): early Boyz II Men - MotownPhilly, New Edition – If it isn't Love, After 7 – Ready or Not.
  11. R&B classics: All them early LaFace Groups, h/t to Babyface – Whip Appeal. All them early Terry Lewis/Jimmy Jam tunes – Karyn White, where ya at? Minnie Ripperton – Memory Lane, Aretha Franklin – EVERYTHING but special shout out for Natural Woman, Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack – Where is the Love?
  12. Early Rap Classics: Craig Mack – Flava in Yo Ear, LL Cool J – Can't live without my Radio, Run DMX – It's Tricky

Okay, I stopped before I listed an entire catalog's worth of music. What songs/group do you consider to be "old school classics"? Be forewarned, if you respond with some nonsense like 98 degrees, prepared to be ridiculed. Comment at your own risk (ha!).


Carey Jackson said...

George Michael - the entire Faith album

AppleBerryMIA said...

Stephanie Mills - I feel good
Donna Summer - She works hard for the money
Kool and the gang - Take my heart

GammasWorld said...

Early rap I still know the words to ... Sugar Hill Gang and Curtis Blow (The Breaks). Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

ASmith said...

I still shake my head in sadness at that Eminem comment. Lord bless it.

I gets it in on Anita Baker. And the sampling of Human Nature is ridiculous, but that song is the business. Definitely my FAVORITE MJ song and I say that with no hesitation.

We can't forget the early days of the Queen of Soul... back when she knew what size dress to wear (Lord, bless her heart).
I love Peabo Bryson's "Can You Stop the Rain" (not to be confused with New Edition's "Can You Stand the Rain" as I've had the unfortunate experience of learning it often is)
I can also admit that I like the BeeGees... I typically stick with their more popular stuff like "How Deep is Your Love" (which is another song that's been sampled/re-made 50/11 times)
Ooohh and continuing with the "sampled/remade 50/11 times" theme how about Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Love that song and I haven't heard a remake I didn't like yet. I think Lil' Mo's version is my favorite (of the remakes).
I'll end with Chaka Khan's "Sweet Thing" which Mary J. Blige gave the business to -- obviously the original is always the best, but MJB did her thing.

storm529 said...

Oh my. There are just so, so many.

Al Green, "For The Good Times," "Let's Stay Together"
Earth Wind & Fire, "Reasons"
EVERYTHING by the Stylistics & Blue Magic
Sade, "This is No Ordinary Love," "King of Pain"
Whitney Houston, "Saving All My Love"
The Police, "Roxanne"
MJB, "My Life" (the entire album)

And many, many more...but I gotta get back to "making the donuts" on the plantation (as OneChele says).

storm529 said...

Co-sign on The BeeGees -- I loves them.

Jara said...

I agree with most of your picks. Some of them I have grown to appreciate more as I get older (e.g. Anita Baker).

I'm going to add:
ANYTHING by Maze ft. Frankie Beverly
"Third World Girl" by Marvin Gaye (a tragically underrated song on his last album - overshadowed by "Sexual Healing")
"Can't Hide Love" by Earth, Wind & Fire
"Half-Crazy" by Johnny Gill (The then-15 year-old had a grown man's voice/growl even back then. Not his most well-known song but it's a classic to me.)
New Edition - all of their 80's stuff, especially "Can You Stand the Rain"
"Wanna Be Startin Somethin" by Michael Jackson (masterpiece)
"I Miss You" by Klymaxx (shout-out to the MJ-soundalike lead singer)
"Ai No Corrida" by Quincy Jones ft. Patti Austin
"Always & Forever" by Heatwave (although Quiet Storm radio is about to make me tired of it)

Adult Contemporary Rock:
"Pina Colada (Escape Song)" by Rupert Holmes (don't judge me)
"Sailing" by Christopher Cross
"Faithfully" by Journey
"Hands to Heaven" by Breathe
"True" by Spandau Ballet (talk about over-sampled!)

So many more...

Page Bartlett said...

O'jays - For the Love of Money and Back Stabbers

ASmith said...

Amen for Frankie Beverly and Maze!

james said...

Eric Clapton - Layla

MochaMuffin said...

What ya'll know about Confunkshun? Love's Train!

Queen of Me said...

Ohio Players - Love rollercoaster

Queen of Me said...

One more debarge - "I like the way you comb your hair and those stylist clothes you wear..."

OneChele said...

Great list! I'll add Chaka & Rufus with Tell Me Something Good. Love the BeeGees. We won't discuss just how deep my BeeGees love goes. But it extends to Andy - Shadow Dancing.

OneChele said...

When I think of Spandau Ballet I think of two other songs: Deep cut here - what ya'll know about Kajagoogoo - Too Shy? And Thompson Twins - Hold Me Now

lacylady said...

Shalimar - for the lover in you... Jody Whatley FTW!

OneChele said...

Al Green - Love and Happiness

derek love said...

I'm going in - Otis Redding, Try a little Tenderness, Percy Sledge - When a Man loves a woman and James Brown - I Feel Good... that's grown MAN music!

Sweet N Tart said...

The Deele and Atlantic Starr

OneChele said...

I'm not ashamed to say I owned the official Kool and the Gang Take my Heart cap, worn on tilt.

Guest said...

Who sung that song - Don't Disturb this groove?

JaymeC said...

There was an old, old song by the Flamingos (?) called I only have eyes for you... love that tune. As do my parents and grandparents - now that's an old school classic.

OneChele said...

Grown Folk music, sir.

thinklikeRiley said...

Pete Rock and CL Smooth - They Reminisce Over You... for real

OneChele said...

The System

daisy said...

Elton John - Bennie and the Jets
Chicago - Saturday in the Park
Duran Duran - Save a Prayer

beautifulcurare said...

It's tough to narrow it down...there are so many great songs from back in the day! There are very few artists and songs out now that will stand the test of time...kinda sad...but here's some of my favorites...if I don't list a song, it means there are too many to name = )

The Flamingos - I Only Have Eyes for You (*sigh*)
Stevie Wonder - Everything by him, but the "Songs in the Key of Life" album is special to me ( I remember playing my parents' album repeatedly as a kid)
Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 - Everything by him as a solo artist and by the group...Show You the Way to Go is my ish...
The Isley Brothers - One of my faves is "Make Me Say it Again"
Marvin Gaye - I love "Come Get to This"
Anita Baker - I love everything by her but "Soul Inspiration" moves me...
Jimi Hendrix - Hey Joe...All Along the Watchtower...Purple Haze...Bold as Love
Roberta Flack - The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (so beautiful)
Sade - Love is Stronger Than Pride...Mermaid...Bulletproof Soul (she needs to hurry up with her new cd)
Herb Alpert - Making Love in the Rain
Prince - No need to make a list...the man is CLASSIC
Sly & The Family Stone - I love them, but "Que Sera Sera" is my favorite!
Con Funk Shun
Alexander O'Neal
The Whispers
Ohio Players
Al Green
Terrence Trent D'Arby (Wishing Well and Sign Your Name...)
Art of Noise - Moments of Love (*sigh*)
Chaka Khan
Tony Toni Tone
Stephanie Mils - "Home" all time favorite...

Adult Contemp/Rock
Billy Idol - Eyes Without a Face
Tears for Fears
Duran Duran - Ordinary World...all time fave
Madonna - 80's - early 90's stuff...
Double - Captain of Her Heart
Hall & Oates
Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls is the ish!
Depeche Mode
Robert Palmer
Elton John
The Beatles

I will stop now because I could go on and on and on...I love music and most of the stuff I listen to is music from back in the day...

beautifulcurare said...

I forgot about that one!

Joy Andrews said...

Why did my idiot roommate ask me if E.U.s Da Butt was an old school classic? I said "Um, I don't think we are including any ass songs on this list... that's a different website..." LOL

I'll go Luther - Superstar and House is Not a home

Grace said...

Al Jarreau - Rooftop, take five
Grover Washington Jr
Patrice Rushen
Angela Bofill
Herbie Hancock

Rob said...

What you know about Phyllis Hyman?

OneChele said...

She had a duet with Grover Washington called Sacred Kind of Love that still resonates. RIP to both of them.

Violet Rose said...

Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle - when the word "divas" meant something!

jake said...

Peter Gabriel - Big Time

bougiesis said...

Girl, have always loved Al's in this love together
Favorite of all time is George Benson's Moodys Mood

Guest said...

I agree you had to keep the list down, but I would HAVE to add Etta James, At Last.

pluky said...

Nancy Wilson - Guess Who I Saw Today?
Roberta Flack - The First Time
Nina Simone - All the Sad Young Men

OneChele said...

Chante Moore did a remake of Guess Who I Saw Today on her last album, not bad at all.

OneChele said...

Oh definitely, Ms. Etta had quite a few. Della Reese too!

phenomenallybouge said...

Can't forget Teddy P: Love TKO
The Manhattans: Shining Star & Let's Just Kiss and Say Goodbye
Teena Marie: Portuguese Love
The Isleys: Hello, It's Me & Groove with You
Whitney Houston: You Give Good Love
Champaign: How 'Bout Us & Try Again
Aretha Franklin: Ain't No Way & Dr. Feelgood
Barbra Streisand: Evergreen
Betty Wright: Clean Up Woman
The Emotions: Best of my love & Don't Ask my Neighbor
O'Jays: Darlin, Darlin Baby & Forever Mine
Freddie Jackson: Rock with Me Tonight
Lionel Ritchie: Hello
The Whispers

I could go on....

Snaps to the late 80's/90s: Mary J Blige & Keith Sweat

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