January 30, 2019

James Ingram's American Success Story

The announcement of tonight's death of singer James Ingram hits home. His love song One Hundred Ways has been one of "our" songs since we first heard it while dating. And it made it to our mix tape while we were on our honeymoon- and many compilations since.

James' career was jump started by his appearance on Quincy Jones' disc, The Dude, which featured him on One Hundred Ways and Just Once, the latter hitting the Billboard Top Twenty and making him an instantly recognizable singerHis was a real success story, but it was only the beginning of a long career. 

His first full length album was the best, boasting the mega hit "How Do You Keep the Music Playing?" with Patti Austin. (Later that pair added Baby Come to Me to their list of hits.) One of my favorites was the swinging upbeat 40s tinged One More Rhythm meets 1980's R&B, showing his flexibility as an artist. Later, James duetted with Linda Ronstadt on the popular Somewhere Out There, used in the animated film, An American Tail by producer Steven Spielberg.

Well liked and much respected, James served other artists by writing and singing background vocals as well as leads.  From Michael Jackson to Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, the man was in demand. 

I was surprised and delighted when I heard about his "unofficial" duet with Donna Summer on The Mystery of Love- still one of my go to numbers due to his soaring vocals. (Check out the review of that landmark disc here.) It was one of the main reasons I purchased the disc, and I was not disappointed- it's one of the disc's strongest cuts.

He leaves a great legacy of music! May James rest in peace.

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