Two different decades, and two different sounds of romance.
In the 1960’s, the romantic duet reached its pinnacle when someone at Motown saw fit to pair Marvin Gaye with Tammi Terrell. You could also say that the pairing of Gaye and Terrell with songs by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson managed the same thing. Either or both ways, some of the best romantic songs ever made featured the four of them working together. When Marvin & Tammi sang, many believed the two of them were romantically involved (it wasn’t true). And until Terrell fell ill and eventually passed, their partnership was golden.
Just think of some of the classics the two sang: “Your Precious Love,” “You’re All I Need To Get By,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” are master classes in duet singing. To that, you can add today’s song, “If This World Were Mine.” While not as popular as the others (it only reached as high as #27 on the R&B charts as the flip to “If I Could Build My Whole World Around You”), it still resonates with romantic vibes.
Fast forward about fifteen years later, Cheryl Lynn was joined by Luther Vandross for a remake of the classic. If Marvin & Tammi present a more innocent version of romance fit for its time, then Vandross and Lynn do the same for their time. They slow the tempo down and focus on the words all the more, almost teasing out the phrases to each other. If it isn’t as good as the original, it certainly isn’t much worse. This one managed to make it to the top five of the R&B chart, peaking at #4 in 1982. Disregard the video below that says Mariah Carey is singing on the track; it really is Cheryl Lynn.
Same song, done two ways. Which do you prefer? I like both of them, and really can’t choose between the two. The second version was popular when I was a teenager, but the original has stood the test of time for a reason. Feel free to voice your choice in the comments, and as always thanks for reading and listening to today’s #RomanticTuesday song.