For this #RomanticTuesday, I thought I would try to create another musical love letter. For those who don’t know, I borrowed the concept from radio DJ Kevin “Slow Jammin'” James, who used to do these during his Quiet Storm shows on WKYS-FM in Washington, DC (or it might have been WHUR-FM) when I listened years ago. I did one before, years ago on Valentine’s Day and I posted it on the blog. This time, I’m using the songs of one artist rather than multiple ones.
I picked Anita Baker, because over the weekend I read a story on SoulTracks.com that mentioned that Ms. Baker had tweeted that she was, or would be retiring from making music. Granted, it’s been over a decade since a new album was released, and almost five years since any new music was heard (a cover of Tyrese’s “Lately”). At the time that song was released, it was supposed to be followed by an album called Only Forever, but no album has come forth. So it could have been that she retired already and is just now getting around to announcing it.
Anyway, this love letter serves as a kind of tribute to an artist who was an integral part of many of my Quiet Storm memories. Her music was made for the format, and many of her songs appeared on countless Quiet Storm shows all across the nation and even the world. Though her recorded output was small (six proper solo albums, and assorted duets and featured appearances), her influence on that type of music was huge. I was fortunate to see her live years ago, and even though she wasn’t at her best (she was feeling a little ill, as I recall), she gave a good performance.
Her career is a testament to determination, and never giving up. While she grew up singing and was very popular in her hometown of Detroit, she was often told that she wasn’t good enough or even that she could not sing. She even stopped making music for a time after the label that released her debut recording, an album with the band Chapter 8, was convinced that she wasn’t good enough to sing. After the release of her solo debut album, The Songstress, her record label went out of business. But that album got the attention of executives at Elektra Records, where she released her blockbuster album, Rapture (my favorite), and the rest was left to the history writers.
If indeed this is it for Anita Baker, I would like to tell her thank you for the songs and the memories. My favorite song of hers is and will remain “You Bring Me Joy,” and she certainly did that with her music. Wherever your journey takes you from here on out, Ms. Baker, thank you so much.
The love letter contains eighteen solo songs from Ms. Baker, with one song from her time as lead singer for R&B band Chapter 8, (which predated her solo career), and a duet with gospel greats The Winans. All song titles are in bold. I hope you enjoy this love letter, and thanks as always for reading and listening.
There’s No One In The World who loves me like you. I remember how I used to say, I Just Want To Be Your Girl. Sometimes, I would wonder, “Will You Be Mine?” I knew love wasn’t like in Fairy Tales, but now I know there Ain’t No Need To Worry. What I have with you is a Sweet Love, a Good Love. You’re My Everything, and You’re The Best Thing Yet that has come into my life. You Bring Me Joy and I love you with Body And Soul. It seemed to be a Mystery, but It’s Been You all the time. Your love has me Caught Up In The Rapture. Now, there are No More Tears, because we give each other the Same Ole Love 365 Days A Year. From now on, I’ll do Whatever It Takes to make you happy, because I’m Giving You The Best That I Got. Thank you for being my Angel.
All songs by Anita Baker, except for “I Just Wanna Be Your Girl” by Chapter 8, and “Ain’t No Need To Worry,” by The Winans featuring Anita Baker.