Donny Hathaway

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Donny Hathaway (1945-1979) continues to influence many of today's great musicians.

Donny Hathaway (October 1, 1945 in Chicago - January 13, 1979 in New York City) was an African-American soul musician best known for his duets with Roberta Flack. He grew up in St. Louis and played piano, earning a fine arts scholarship to Howard University in 1964. He was offered jobs in the music industry before graduating, and left school after only three years.

He worked as songwriter, session musician and producer for The Staple Singers, Jerry Butler and Aretha Franklin, as well as with Curtis Mayfield. His debut solo single was "I Thank You Baby", a duet with June Conquest, followed by the influential (though only a minor hit) "The Ghetto, Pt. 1". His debut LP was Everything Is Everything (1970), which was critically acclaimed. His second album, Donny Hathaway, was a major hit, including the collaboration with Roberta Flack on Carol King's "You've Got a Friend". The pair released a long series of duets, and Hathaway also began working on soundtracks. He also developed severe depression which temporarily ended his relationship with Flack, though they re-united for "The Closer I Get to You" (1978). More recording was set to follow with the duo, but Hathaway was found dead in an apparent suicide in 1979.

Donny Hathaway's out of print Donny Hathaway Live has been cited as an influence by numerous artists, including India.Arie and Stevie Ray Vaughn. This short live album includes noted R&B musicians Willie Weeks (bass) and Cornell Dupree (guitar).

Hathaway was considered an eccentric by many, and claimed himself to be a devotee of mid 20th Century French classical composers. Several anecdotes about Hathaway are contained in Jerry Wexler's book Rhythm And The Blues.

Notably, modern R&B singer Ruben Studdard grew up with Hathaway's music, and did a cover version of the Hathaway song "For All We Know."

Hathaway was a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans.de:Donny Hathaway fr:Donny Hathaway

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