One song, three ways is back. The original of today’s song was actually first written and performed back in the 1960’s. It was remade by the songwriter and is his biggest solo hit. A couple years after that release, it was covered by one of the great R&B bands of the 1970s, who covered quite a few rock classics during the decade. Finally, in the 1990s, a beloved duo covered the song and is one of the favorite tracks from their only album.
The song is “Hello It’s Me,” written by Todd Rundgren and it is my choice for this #RomanticTuesday.
Love isn’t always sunshine and rainbows; as we all know, love is rather complex. This song may not be in the the “happily ever after” camp of songs; after all, the story is of two people who love each other very much, but for whatever reason can’t or won’t be together. The line everyone knows is “I never want to make you change for me,” which to me says that the narrator would rather his partner didn’t change in order to be with him.
Rundgren wrote the song for his band Nazz, which recorded it first, but he remade it for his classic album Something/Anything? in 1972. He was basically a one-man band, as he played, wrote, sang, produced and engineered three full sides of the double album. It does sound like he had a little bit of help on this track though, but it doesn’t lessen how good it is.
By 1974, the Isley Brothers had begun their 3 + 3 era, with the three oldest brothers joining forces with two younger brothers and a brother-in-law. They took a crack at Rundgren’s song, and I would venture to say that group, as well as lead singer Ronald Isley became Quiet Storm favorites with their version. This is another in their series of covers of rock and pop hits that they performed in the early 70s.
In 1996, the duo Groove Theory (Amel Larrieux and Bryce Wilson) introduced the song to a new generation of R&B fans. Their version leans heavily on the Isley Brothers interpretation, though it is interesting to hear the song sung from a female perspective.
Of the three, as much as I like Rundgren’s original, it’s the Isley Brothers that I like the best. I actually like all three versions; there isn’t a bad one anywhere. I can’t rightly put Groove Theory’s version over the Isley Brothers, since it borrows so much of the structure of their cover.
Do you like any of these over the others? Or do you just like the song? No matter which one you like, I thank you for reading and listening.