The Temptations’ first #1 Hit on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart was “My Girl” in 1965. 4 years later, they had their 2nd #1 with “I Can’t Get Next To You”, and the difference between these 2 songs tells you a lot about the 1960’s. “I Can’t Get Next To You” features a different lead vocalist, a more aggressive, funky beat and a trippy vibe courtesy of producer & songwriter Norman Whitfield. The early Temptations songs are great, but for my money, they were never better than when they teamed up with Whitfield and created “psychedelic soul”. Let’s listen to each piece of the puzzle that created this masterpiece.

“I Can’t Get Next To You” (Barret Strong & Norman Whitfield) Copyright 1969 Jobette Music Co., Inc. All rights controlled and administered by EMI Blackwood Music Inc. on behalf of Stone Agate Music (A division of Jobette Music Co., Inc.)

Aretha Franklin recorded over 40 albums during her career; this episode, we revisit a song from her breakthrough album, “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” from 1967. This was actually her 11th album (!), but it was the first one recorded for Atlantic Records and it’s the one that made her a legend. Aretha Franklin was probably the single most influential singer of our time– just listen to any episode of American Idol for proof.

Aretha was not only a great vocalist, she was one of the greatest interpreters of songs in history. She didn’t just cover a song, she made it her own. “A Change Is Gonna Come” was Sam Cooke’s finest moment, but Aretha strips it down to its purest form and imbues it with pain, world-weariness, and hope – one of the greatest emotionally cathartic moments on record.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” (Sam Cooke) Copyright Kags, BMI

When a great soul singer meets a song by one of the great pop songwriting teams, magic ensues.  Al Green takes a song by the Bee Gees and turns it into one of the classic singles of all time.  Let’s nurse our broken hearts together as we dig into this amazing song.  Please take a minute to share this podcast, and thanks for spreading the word!

“How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” (Barry Gibb & Robin Gibb) Copyright 1971 Gibb Brothers Music