The cheating song has long been a staple of R&B. Some of the best of them came out in the early 70s. If it wasn’t “Thin Line Between Love And Hate” by The Persuaders, where the cheater ends up in the hospital “bandaged from feet to head,” you had Luther Ingram’s “If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right) where he knows he’s wrong, but he won’t (or can’t) quit the other woman.
Four months after Ingram’s hit debuted on the R&B charts, this smooth charmer about adultery started making its way to the number one spot.
I can’t think of too many songs about cheating on a partner that sound as good as this.
1972 was a very, very good year for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Records. Besides this smash by Billy Paul (which, if you couldn’t tell is today’s Morning Groove), the new label hit with songs by The O’Jays (notably “Backstabbers”) and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes (notably “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”). But the label’s biggest hit that year was this MFSB-backed piece of sophisticated soul. And the song has proven to stand the test of time, having been covered by others, such as Michael Bublé, The Dramatics (who had a top ten R&B hit with the song three years later), and Freddie Jackson to name a few.
I actually had another song lined up for today. But news broke late yesterday afternoon that Paul passed away at the age of 81. For fans of classic R&B, it’s been a tough few days. First Prince and now Billy Paul. Though he became famous for this one song, he had several other R&B hits. But it will be this one that he will be remembered by. RIP, Billy Paul (born as Paul Williams in Philadelphia). And thank you, for giving us this great song that will always be remembered as one of the greatest cheating songs of all time.
I hope you enjoy “Me And Mrs. Jones.” And as always, thanks for reading and listening.