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  1. #1
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    Great Ballads Of The 70's & 80's Discussion

    One tradition that soul/r&b has is those great ballads. The good ones are very heartfelt and have a feel of their own. I am very fond of them and with the current thread on Charles Love of Bloodstone passing away, it got me to thinking about ballads in a curious way. When did r&b ballads become popular? When I think of ballads, I think of The Intruders, "I Want To Know Your Name," "Tear Drops Are Falling," from their "Save The Children" album as well as songs by other groups like The Whispers, "Olivia", and Bloodstones "Go On And Cry My Son" and "We Go A Long Way Back."

    Rick James had some great ones also [["Fire & Desire, Ebony Eyes") I don't apply the word ballads to any other era, other than when these groups or individuals were out for some reason. What is the definition of ballads as it applies to r&b groups and what are some of your favorites.

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    The flood gates are now open. This topic should be found further down on this page in another post, but here are some of the most beautiful '70s and '80s ballads. Many of them didn't get the love they deserve by popular radio, but they are so smooth. I'll just post some by the Whispers first and when I'm home later, I'll pop up some more of my favorites. "Lady" is one of the best ballads of any era:

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    "Do They Turn You On" is soooo sweet:

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    I probably sing this one in my sleep. "This Time" was on one of the most underrated albums from that era. The Scott brothers transitioned from the '70s to the '80s without breaking a sweat.

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    More proof? I have it right here:

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    And can a song be both a "classic" and underrated? If so, "Welcome Into My Dream" fits that definition. You might be able to tell that I am a huge fan of these brothers by now...

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    In conclusion, when SOLAR signed The Whispers, the record label got credibility and the band got the best producers for its sound. There is very little from that era that I don't like. It's hard for me to define a great ballad because it isn't based upon criteria like the smoothness of the lead singer's voice [[Teddy Pendergrass proved that) or the background vocals [[a solo a capella song can be beautiful). I just know what I like when I'm liking it.

  8. #8
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    Hi, Mr. June, Jerry Oz and all!

    I also have the same problem for to define "what is a ballad and what is not"; is the tempo? is the fact of a slow tempo plus an mellow feel? Can be a ballad funny?

    The fact is all the "ballads I love and have loved along decades have some common denominators: they make me "cry" in some or another degree. These are some ones:

    - The Chi-lites: "Love Comes In All Sizes" [[with his classical end part!)
    - The Intruders: "Gonna Be Strong" [[their first record for G & H and IMHO the best as ballad and in general sense, orchestration, well constructed,...)
    - The Dramatics: "I Cried All The Way Home" [[they really cry and makes cry)
    - Soft Touch: "Look Up and Look Down" [[one of the best and sensual falsetto I have heard)
    - Teddy Pendergrass: "Cold Cold World" [[the definition of melancholy)
    - Dee Dee Sharp: "What Color Is Love" [[the short version, with the nice and mellow trumpet notes)
    - Carmen Lundy: "You're Not In Love" [[jazzy vocals and also mellow trumpet notes)
    - Little Dooley: "[[It's Got To Be) Now Or Never" [[what a diamond!)
    - Anthony White: "I Can't Repare Your Love" [[my fave of his PIR album)
    - Curtis Mayfield: "Sparkle" [[delicatessen and intimism as all the "Never Say Can't You Survive" LP
    - Blue Magic: "Looking For A Friend" [[simply ethereal)
    - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: "I'm Weak For You" [[IMHO, apart from a masterpiece ballad is the epitome of what I consider the perfect blend of soul and jazz)
    - Sharon Paige: "I'm Searching For A Love" [[what a present for our ears made this woman to all of us)

    ... [[to be continued; I can't stop to name ballads and ballads

    -

  9. #9
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    Thanks Jerry and Manny. I'll be honest, I haven't heard the majority of those songs. but am checking them out. "Searching For A Love" is a good one that I like very much Manny. My wife and her sister had the Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes CD that the song is on and the both said they didn't like the album. I found the CD in the trash. I played back "Searching" "Be For Real" and "To Be True" and they have since changed their minds about the album.

  10. #10
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    Some others:

    - [[Named by Mr. June) Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: "To Be True" [[my favorite HM & BN track leaded by Harold's voice)

    - Eddie Kendricks: "The Newness Is Gone" [[I was addicted to this song during MONTHS)

    - The O'Jays: "Let's Spend Some Time Together" [[sweet, swinging, jazzy, elegant...)

    - The O'Jays: "You Got Your Hooks On Me" [[a masterpiece track from an integral masterpiece album)

    - Spyder Turner: "Is It Love That You're After" [[I can't definite it, is superb...)

    - Michael Henderson: "In The Night Time" [[mellow)

    - Marvin Gaye: "Symphony" [[if you don't cry, or almost cry, you are made of ice)

    - Clarence Carter: "Light My Fire" [[IMHO, the best cover of this song and his voice... wow!)

    - Brook Benton: "A Little Bit Of Soap" [[it's possible to sing mellow and to be a crooner)

    - Jerry Butler: "Thank You Early Bird" [[the same comment as the prior... and IMHO the best track writed by Leon Ware)

    - Sharon Paige & Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes: "After You Love Me Why Di You Leave Me" [[this woman and her voice made me crazy... I want one album -or five- from her!)

    - South Shore Commission: "Any Day Now" [[what another female voice! I prefer this cover than the one by Chuck Jackson or the one by Percy Sledge)

    - Isaac Hayes: "It's Heaven To Me" [[what can we say more about Mr. Ike? He was a master of mellow, of groove, of "disco-soul",...)

    ... To be continued


    Mr. June, you are fortunate if your wife likes some of the same music that you likes. Mine is more eclecthical in taste but finally she likes the most "corny" of my discography and we can travel on the car hearding and enjoying both of us The Delfonics, The Stylistics, The Chi-lites.

    In fact you referred before to an album that contains "To Be True", "Searching..." and "Be For Real"...? [[these tracks belongs every one to a different album, respectively the same titled, "Wake Up..." and "I Miss You") perhaps you referred to a compilation of HM & TBN greatest hits?

    I remember around 15 - 16 years old that I falled in love instantly with "I'm Searching..." and Sharon's voice [[exactly not instantly as I have had first on tape and was the final track of the B side... the best for the end )

    Cheers to all

  11. #11
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    Hi,

    Jerry, you sure do love your Whispers! Good for you!

    My additions [[not my favorites but I really like them):

    Dells... Passionate Breezes
    Impressions...Loving Power
    Dramatics...Be My Girl

    Like what was mentioned before, I really miss the soulful ballad era.

  12. #12
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    I love a lot that I think fell off the radar for most music fans. There's this one by Randy Crawford, which gives me chills:

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    And this one by Keith John, from "Do the Right Thing" is another that I sing in the car when I'm the only one there:

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    I won't post the videos for the staples of what I play when I provide music for parties, but without even thinking hard, I can tell you that these songs will be played every single time:
    Reasons - Earth Wind and Fire
    Always and Forever - Heatwave
    Send For Me - Atlantic Starr
    Slow Jam - Midnight Star
    Given In to Love - Lakeside
    Make It Last - Con Funk Shun

    The '70s and '80s were a great time for ballads, in my opinion. They were the best of what those decades provided.

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    I love this as well:

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    Great Day - The whispers

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    A ballad doesn't necessarily have to be about love and romance, or even about another person. Here's a nice write-up about what a ballad is.

    Nevertheless, here is a very short list of some of my favorites, and I do not have a specific time frame.

    Stay In My Corner - The Dells [[1968 version)
    Let It Be [single version] - The Beatles
    Could It Be I'm Falling In Love - Spinners
    The Bells [mono single version] - The Originals
    Love Won't Let Me Wait [single version] - Major Harris
    Wildflower - Skylark
    Killing Me Softly With His Song - Roberta Flack
    Stairway To Heaven - O'Jays
    I Call Your Name - Switch
    That Girl - Stevie Wonder
    Girl I Need you - The Whispers
    Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong - The Whispers
    The First Cut Is the Deepest - Rod Stewart

  18. #18
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    "Always & Forever" Heatwave! It had the sound and feel of a future classic from the moment I first heard it in October 1977!



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    For me when it comes to the all-classic "Soul Ballad", It's probably the obviouses; the Barry Whites, the Teddy Pendergrasses, and Peabo Bryson.

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    Another that has always touched my heart with its intensity & passion; that I swear, I promise will be played that someday of my wedding day;
    Last edited by Ngroove; 03-17-2014 at 11:36 PM.

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    Here's one of my favorite Soul ballads........


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    I have roughly 1,200 or more cds/albums but my favorite song of all time is "You're My Latest, My Greatest Inspiration" by Teddy Pendergrass. That song wrecks me everytime

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    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Here's one of my favorite Soul ballads........

    Never heard this song before but absolutely beautiful

  24. #24
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    "Love Me Down" by Atlantic Starr! Awesome track!

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    I would bring up Jodeci as having some wonderful ballads, but they were more of a '90s band. Oh, and the Manhattans' "Forever By Your Side" was the only song that I was able to have input into my wedding service [[she picked the rest of them...). Speaking of the Manhattans, don't forget "Kiss and Say Goodbye", "There's No Me Without You" and "It Feels So Good To Be Loved So Bad".

  26. #26
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    Thinkin' in some 80's soul ballads, is very hard to me to find more that these few:

    - Gene Dunlap & The Ridgeways: "It's Just The way I Feel It"

    - Shirley Jones: "She Knew About Me"

    - Teddy pendergrass "Only To You"

    - David Ebo: "I Rather Be By Myself"

    - Joana Gardner: "Pick Up The Pieces"

    - [[not sure if is from the last 70's or first 80's) Smokey Robinson: "Being With You"

  27. #27
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    Two Hearts are always better, together, forever

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    Mr. June,

    To be perfectly honest, love ballads have always been popular, because even after you went out & partied, there was always a need for a love song.

    Truthfully, tempo is not always the best indicator of what constitutes a ballad, it's the feel & groove.

    For example, a song like "Hypnotized" by Linda Jones is a ballad at about 73 BPMs. That is definitely ballad territory. On the other hand, "What'cha See Is What'cha Get" is about 3 beats faster, but it has a much funkier groove that makes you want to dance to it, as opposed to make love to it. But if you listen to their "Be My Girl" or "I Can't Get Over You", though not much slower, they have a completely different groove, the beat & arrangements have a languid feel that makes you want to go slow & easy & to simply chill.

    As to the question how long have ballads been popular, even as the Blues/R&B of Ivory Joe Hunter, Charles Brown, Percy Mayfield, Ruth Brown, The Clovers, Johnny Ace, The Dominoes & The Orioles was morphing into the R&B/Doo Wop of The Five Royales, The Flamingos, The Moonglows, The Dells, Lavern Baker, Ray Charles & so many others, ballads have always been popular.

    If you were attracted to a woman, what better way to set the mood than with a ballad? You got kicked in the butt by love, get yourself a bottle, put on that sad song & get it out of your system.

    Honestly, in nearly 54 years of living, I've never know a time when ballads weren't popular. Even when I was about 3 years-old, my parent & our neighbors were playing ballads. At that age, I had no idea that I was hearing songs that were made 10 years before I was born or even earlier than that for the matter.

    But since Edison & the wax cylinder, you show me a period in time when a man had his eye on a woman, trust & believe, there's a ballad that'll cover it

    Be back later with some of my favorites, as well as the earliest ones that I remember hearing while I was an infant.
    Last edited by juicefree20; 03-21-2014 at 07:17 AM.

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    *******LET"S NOT FORGET THE GREAT BALLAD/ LOVE SONGS OF THE STYLISTICS**********

    1. You Are Everything.
    2. Betcha By Golly Wow.
    3. I'm Stone In Love With You.
    4. You Make Me Feel Brand New.
    5. Stop,Look, Listen To Your Heart

    **************All the other great Ballads of their Tremendous Catalog****************

    Thom Bell and Linda Creed were amazing when you look ar their Song Qualities!

    Too many to name when it comes to BARRY WHITE!

    Barry White was at the top of the Pyramid when it comes to SEXY Ballads!

    Abraham Smooth Wilson

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