Friday night, I did something I haven’t done for a long, long time. I listened to commercial radio—specifically, the Quiet Storm with Jeff Brown on WHUR-FM.
How I came to do this was a bit of serendipity. My upstairs neighbor had the radio on, and I could hear it just as plain as if I was in the same room. All of a sudden, I heard the familiar opening notes of Smokey Robinson’s “Quiet Storm,” which signals the beginning of the program. I thought it was off though, because I remembered the show beginning at 7 PM years ago and it was 7:30. At any case, I found the audio stream on my computer and started listening. The memories came flooding back to many nights listening to the program in days gone by.
And I have to admit, I enjoyed listening to the program; so much so, I listened to the whole show. The music was a great mix of classic favorites and some newer tunes as well. The one thing I didn’t like-the long commercial breaks each hour. They were a necessarily evil though, because each set between the ad breaks ran for about an hour.
There was one song that was played, closer to the end of the show, that has stuck in my head all weekend. I’ve heard it before, but I never remember it hanging around in my consciousness for so long. The song was “You And I” by Stephanie Mills. For whatever reason, when those first notes hit my ears, it was like an old friend had come back to visit-similar to what listening to the show had been on that night.
The song also made me realize that while she was in her hitmaking prime, I had always underestimated and underrated Ms. Mills. I always thought she was a great singer, and I liked bunches of her songs. But I had never, put her among the elite female vocalists of the day-the Arethas, the Pattis, the Anitas, the Whitneys. And yet, while I love all of them, I gained a greater appreciation for Stephanie’s talents as the years went on.
So I guess there are things that you can go back to. I will make more of an effort to listen to the Quiet Storm program than I have in the past, and I will go on loving Stephanie Mills’ songs for as long as I can enjoy her singing.