Just a few days ago I wrote about the dangers of covering legends. Taking on the wrong song by the wrong artist is like touching music’s third rail. Apparently young D’Angelo and Erykah Badu didn’t know or didn’t care in 1996 when they remade the classic “Your Precious Love” originally sung by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. The result was magic, and what we didn’t necessarily know at the time was that D’Angelo and Erykah would eventually become legends themselves and worthy of covering the likes of Marvin and Tammi.
The original version of “Your Precious Love” was released in 1967 and peaked at #5 on the Billboard Pop Singles Chart. The D’Angelo and Erykah Badu version was included on the 1996 soundtrack to the movie High School High. What was High School High, you ask? High School High starred Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere…yes, Jon Lovitz…as high school teachers. The movie is a spoof on the Dangerous Minds-type, white teacher/savior comes to the inner city school and magically relates to the troubled minority teens and helps unlock something special within them. It’s a truly stupid movie as evidenced by its 19% Rotten Tomatoes score. I remember getting a few laughs out of it and enjoying it at the time, though. Anyway, the question is, how did this idiotic movie score a soundtrack containing music by De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Jodeci, The Roots, RZA, Method Man, Inspectah Deck, U-God, D’Angelo, and Erykah Badu? I have no idea other than to say the 1990s were like that. It was common for a 90s soundtrack to far outshine the movie it was created to support.
The next question: How does D’Angelo and Erykah Badu’s remake stack up to the original? That goes back to what we talked about last week. How do you feel about remakes? I think D’Angelo vs. Marvin Gaye is a draw on this track. Flip a coin. They’re both fantastic. However, I find Erykah Badu to give a far superior performance on this track compared to Tammi Terrell. No disrespect to the legendary Ms. Terrell, but I prefer Badu here. There are moments in the original version when I find Terrell’s voice isn’t up to the task and even sounds flat at times. No such issue with Erykah Badu. She crushes it. I also prefer the instrumentation on the 1996 remake, but that really has more to do with growing up in the 90s. The remake doesn’t stray far from the original, but it is more bass heavy and when I listen to the two side by side, that’s the version I prefer.
When my wife and I were married in 2005 we struggled to decide what we could give all of our guests as a little gift. Someone gave me the idea of creating a mix CD and putting a copy at each person’s seat at dinner. Being the music nerd that I am, I relished the challenge and stressed for months over which songs to include. We wanted love songs, but songs that represented us. Mostly upbeat songs by artists that we enjoy. The highlight of the CD was an original song that my brother wrote and recorded specifically for this mix. We also had songs like “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys, “Take Me With U” by Prince, and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Lauryn Hill. I even found a way to sneak Mos Def and Talib Kweli into the mix! I was going to include “Your Precious Love” by D’Angelo and Erykah Badu on the CD. However, Chelsee and I were in the car with my parents on the way to dinner one night not long before our wedding and when that version of “Your Precious Love” started playing my dad damn near drove off the road. I can still hear him. “What the hell is this? This isn’t Marvin and Tammi!” Uh oh. I decided for my dad’s sake that I’d replace the remake with the original on our mix CD. I had to include D’Angelo on that CD, so I added “Higher” instead. What’s funny is I know my dad actually listened to that disc occasionally and he gave copies to some of his friends and co-workers. I’m glad I got Marvin and Tammi on the CD for him. Also, the thought of dad rocking Black Star in his truck makes me very, very happy. I worked my ass off on those CDs. I made a custom cover and sleeve with notes. I had to burn about 300 of those things. My son and I were cleaning our basement four days ago and found a box with at least 25 of them. If anyone is interested in a copy holler at me.
By the way, it’s appropriate that we got a song from our wedding CD on this day because today is my wife’s birthday. If you see Chelsee today please wish her a happy birthday. I’d wish her one here but I guarantee she has better things to do than read my bullshit. She has to listen to me all day. The last thing she wants to do is read me, too.
Somehow we’re down to the final five songs on the D’aily. We have one song remaining from each of D’Angelo’s albums, one duet, and one more cover from a 90s soundtrack. I swear I didn’t plan it this way. I’ve been completely at the mercy of my D’aily Random Song Generator. There’s still some amazing music coming in these final days. Tomorrow we close out the week with yet another 90s soundtrack cover song. Appropriately, we did save the best for last in this category. No more hints because if you don’t know what you’re about to get hit with tomorrow I what to keep it a surprise. D’Angelo is about to close your week with a bang. Enjoy your Thursday. I’ll be back tomorrow with a monster of a track.