30 years ago today the greatest soul singer of all time passed away aged only 44. I know the whole ‘who’s the greatest’ debate is totally subjective but for my money everyone is fighting for 2ndplace behind this man. He rose from chaos to become one of the most celebrated and famous singers in the world.
His childhood took place to a backdrop of serious beatings from his father until he was 17 when he walked out of his childhood home to try and make a career for himself. What followed was a real rollercoaster of a career and indeed a rollercoaster of a life. He battled depression and serious drug addiction at various points before being shot by his father, a shooting which lead to his untimely death.
Musically what he left behind was a legacy that stands up against the very best not only in soul and R&B but in music full stop. His voice was silky to the extreme, but his song writing at times boarded on remarkable. I urge everyone to go and listen to the What’s Going On album, its social commentary at its finest.
I’m going to leave you with my favourite song from the great man. ‘Heard it Through the Grapevine.’ The vocal, the groove, everything is just totally on point. I urge everyone to take a minute and let this tune wash over you. Ready? Now let’s get it on…