D’Andrew’s “Legends” Playlist

This is D’Andrew’s “Legends” playlist, which we’ve linked at the bottom of this blog post if you want to listen along!

  1. Prince — “When Doves Cry”

Prince is one of my top artists for many reasons and of course his first number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 “When Doves Cry”. Prince wrote and composed “When Doves Cry” and in addition he also provided the vocals and played all the instruments present on the track. Prince was a remarkable artist who wasn’t afraid to try unusual things, he was unique. In “When Doves Cry”, Prince took out the bass line for a different feel which was unusual for a dance song in the 80’s. A multi-instrumentalist, record producer and singer-songwriter known for his flamboyant personality, variety of music, Prince was an icon!

2. James Brown — “I Got You (I Feel Good)”

James Brown, what else is there to say? This song always put me in a mood to get up and start dancing because…I Feel Good!! I find myself singing along all the time. The horns are spectacular! James Brown was a genius both musically and lyrically. This song is simple with repetitive lyrics but that is the point, the song leaves you with that punchy lyric refrain. This is one of his many songs from this period in which laid some of the foundations for funk, disco, and dance music for the later generations.

3. Michael Jackson — “Heal The World”

MJ, known as the King Of Pop was such a multi-talented musical entertainer who topped charts with both the Jackson 5 as well as a solo artist. He had many top hits such as “Thriller” and “Bad” but “Heal The World” hits different for me. MJ wrote and produced the song himself and it was a call for understanding and compassion, which I think is still fitting especially in this pandemic. It definitely brings comfort and a reminder to be kind to those around us. Michael was always great at expressing tenderness and vulnerability in his singing. The key changes and choir on this track are phenomenal.

4. Whitney Houston — “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”

Whitney had such a distinctive and powerful voice. Every song she sang was remarkable. Any song by Whitney has me singing at the top of my lungs trying to hit every note. “ I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is a dance song, once you hear it you can’t help but move. The song was about finding love, and Whitney sang it from the perspective of someone who does not have it. What is interesting about the song is that it is a sad song that sounds so happy.

5. Aretha Franklin — “A Natural Woman”

Released in 1967, this song was co-written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, a married couple. It was written for Aretha and the record became a big hit reaching number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Known as one of her signature songs, it made history. The recording features two other Franklin sisters singing background, Erma and Carolyn. Aretha brought down the house at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 when she performed this song in a tribute to Carole King. The song was used on the TV shows like Murphy Brown in the 1988 episode “Respect” as well as movies like “The Big Chill (1983) and “Street Smart” (1987).

6. Bob Marley — “One Love”

An early version of this song was released in 1965 by the Wailer and was put out as a single in Jamaica. In 1977, Bob Marley and The Wailers released the updated version on the album Exodus which became the definitive rendition. This makes the list for me because I admire Marley’s idea that the world needs less fighting and become one. Again, this is the perfect song that spreads a positive message especially throughout this pandemic. Bob Marley actually wrote this song during the turmoil of the Jamaican Elections in December 1976. Bob Marley was a supporter of Michael Manley when he won the elections in Jamaica in 1972. After four years, Bob Marley became the most popular person in Jamaica but did not want to take any political stance when the country was divided between Michael Manley’s People’s National Party and the Jamaican Labour Party which was headed by Edward Seaga. Bob Marley in turn stayed neutral while offering peace and shelter in any way he could.

7. Tina Turner — “What’s Love Got To Do With It”

Tina Turner the Queen of Rock and Roll! How could she not make the list! Tina is top favourite because of her special and unique blend of R&B, soul, pop and rock music, really leaving an impact on the music scene. “What’s Love Got to Do with It” is the soundtrack to the biographical film by the same name. The song won a Grammy in 1985 for song of the year, best female vocal performance and record of the year. She set two records when “What’s Love Got To Do With It” hit number one on the Hot 100 and at age 44, she became the oldest female solo artist ever to top the charts.

8. Aaliyah — “Rock the Boat”

I remember when Aaliyah hit the spotlight, I was blown away! She was an icon I looked up to not only for her music but her style and personality. Aaliyah helped redefine contemporary R&B, hip hop and pop. She first gained recognition at the age of 10, when she appeared in the television show Star Search and performed in a concert alongside Gladys Knight. “Rock The Boat” is described to have a Caribbean feel with a mid-tempo beat, that had you rocking along with her.

9. 2Pac Feat. Dr. Dre — “California Love”

This is a party classic! It has such an explosive vibe that always keeps you on the dancefloor. 2Pac and Dr. Dre were such an iconic duo, one of the best rappers paired with the best producer. “California Love” is known as one of 2Pac’s most successful singles, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks! The first version of the song had three verses featuring Dr. Dre’s rapping. The only copy of this session is now in the possession of DJ Jam. It’s impossible to listen to this song and not feel like partying.

10. The Notorious B.I.G — “Juicy”

Biggy was an icon to many who could relate to him. His music described his childhood years living in poverty, his dreams of becoming a rapper, and his eventual success in the music industry. “Juicy” is B.I.G’s first single from his debut album in 1994 Ready To Die. The track includes a sample of Mtume’s 1983 song “Juicy Fruit”. The song is one of the greatest hip-hop songs of all time.

Story by D’Andrew, Get REAL Speaker.

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