Like literally thousands of other people, I’m into Donny Hathaway. I regard the mystery surrounding his premature death as one of the lasting mysteries of life. Exactly what happened we will probably never know. But we do know that we miss him and revered him whilst he was amongst us. We were particularly smitten by his divine musical partnership with Roberta Flack.
Although it is a cliche to say that their collaboration was special nevertheless, as a duo, special is a precise description of what their collaboration was. They were the real deal. Roberta at her height would propel us to heaven but it was Donny’s ecstasy that would keep us in orbit. Roberta was a lyrical goddess but my man Donny, Donny was a musical monster.
One of the ways he is kept alive is by annual holiday celebrations. Probably his most well-known and widely-celebrated song is his famous “This Christmas” composition. Co-written with Nadine Mckinnon, for many of us this song defines modern Christmas music even if we don’t celebrate the holidays.
For me the ultimate Donny Hathaway song is “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” co-written by lyricist Edward Howard. This is an anthem for the ages, an inspiration for those who are oppressed and exploited whenever and wherever they are.
Long live Donny Hathaway.