Songs that Changed Music: Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way (ft. James Gadson & Jimmy Webb)
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➡️➡️Learn more about Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way (ft. James Gadson) here: The allure of a great disco song is an infectious arrangement, lively instrumentation and a stellar vocal to take you away into the stratosphere – such as the inescapable “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Thelma Houston. After years of record deals on Capitol Records with The Art Reynolds Singers and 1969 debut album Sunshower produced by the legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb on ABC-Dunhill, Thelma Houston simply didn’t have a hit. Even with a record deal on Motown Records’ west coast venture, MoWest none of her songs were taking off. It was not at all due to a lack of talent. It wasn’t until Motown’s Head of A&R Suzanne de Passe took notice of Teddy Pendergrass’ vocal on the initial version of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” by Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes. While observing Thelma’s talent during a Las Vegas performance, de Passe was impressed and convinced that a female voice was needed for the song to be a hit – and that voice belonged to Thelma Houston. The production went into high gear, taking off from where producers Gamble & Huff left off with the original 1975 Pendergrass version with more frantic emotion, prominent instrumentation across bass, drums, strings and horn sections and one once-in-a-lifetime vocal from Thelma Houston that has become her signature song. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977 as well as achieving #1 status on the Hot R&B Songs and Dance Songs charts. To put the song’s success into perspective, it joined other No. 1's that year including “Dancing Queen” by ABBA, “Hotel California” by the Eagles and “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder. “Don’t Leave Me This Way” earned Thelma Houston a Grammy in 1978, victorious over fellow nominees Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Dorothy Moore and Diana Ross. Thelma actually didn’t attend the Grammy telecast that year simply because she didn’t think she was going to win. At the 1975 ceremony, Houston was nominated for the first time for her minor 1974 hit “You’ve Been Doing Wrong For So Long”, but ultimately that award went to Aretha Franklin for “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing” – closing out an eight-year winning streak for the Queen of Soul. Thelma just didn’t think she would beat out Aretha Franklin. ❤️My Favorite Plugins:
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