Not one but two versions of an R^B classic written by Valerie Simpson and her late husband Nik Ashford are in the iTunes top 10 R&B today.
The song is “You’re All I Need to Get By,” recorded first by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell in 1968. It went to number 1 on the R&B charts and 7 on the pop charts. It’s never stopped being played on the radio or selling. But the current Wal Mart commercial featuring Aretha Franklin’s cover is on TV and radio constantly. Consequently, both versions are now in the chart.
Aretha’s version, which can be heard in the commercial, was recorded as a single in 1971 and later collected for “Aretha’s Greatest Hits” that year. It went top 20 and became a staple of her shows and future greatest hits compilations. While we’re waiting until 2021 for the movie “Respect” and the TV series, “Genius,” it’s a thrill to hear Aretha so often every day.
Also in top 10 are Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day,” which is featured in an omnipresent AllState commercial. “Lovely Day” was never the hit on the same magnitude as “Lean on Me” or “Ain’t No Sunshine,” but over the years it’s grown and grown. The song sounds particularly good in this commercial.
Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me” rounds out the four classics in the top 10. I’m not sure why– maybe someone can tell me. It must be in a commercial or somewhere on TV. Solomon was quite a guy and quite a performer. Large and in charge, he traveled with a famous gold throne as his mobility decreased. But he was still a powerhouse of a singer.
One other song that floats in and out of the R&B top 10 is Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming.” It was used in two big commercials in the last year, and is a welcome presence when it turns up.
Pretty cool that these wonderful artists are sharing the top 10 with The Weeknd, Aloe Blacc, Andra Day, and other whippersnappers!