Donny Hathaway


I saw a fascinating, hour-long documentary on R&B legend Donny Hathaway last night. Even though I started listening to him in the late ‘70s—right before he died, when his duet with Roberta Flack “The Closer I Get to You” was all over the airwaves—I learned some interesting things about him. I knew he battled mental illness, but I didn’t know that he was actually diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic in the early ‘70s, a fact that became increasingly difficult to hide from his family and friends as his career went on. This fact really resonated with me, as I’ve fought a decades-long battle with the same diagnosis (thankfully under some degree of control now). But despite eventually becoming overwhelmed by his darkness, Donny left a legacy of  absolutely transcendent music. IMO some of the best R&B you’ll ever hear.

 

The name of the series, for those interested, is called Unsung, and they’ve also had episodes on other R&B icons, including Tammi Terrell, Otis Redding, Phyllis Hyman, and Florence Ballard, among others.


lynott
Pure genius. His singing and Fender Rhodes playing was brilliant.
Excellent program- lynott.
Thanks for the programming heads-up lynott. You can feel the emotion in his voice - especially on live recording. Like jesusa0 said ... pure genius.