To some extent, you have to hate Quincy Jones. He’s one of those massive talents who seems to rub it in your face. Okay! We get it! You’re better than we are! But I suppose that is made up for by the fact that he provides us with such great music.
In 1981, Jones released the album The Dude. It’s not a great album. But you might see it is the ur-Thriller. Much of the sound of the album is very much what Jones would create for Michael Jackson the following year. None of the songs are written by Jones — in general, he didn’t write much on his albums. He depended upon songwriters he often worked with like Rod Temperton. And the singers included a variety of people, especially Patti Austin.
But the album is particularly notable because it is the debut of James Ingram who sang the two hits off the album. And those two songs kind of sum up 1981 for me. (Or 1982?) The reason I’m thinking about it is that stupid Apple iPhone commercial that features “Just the Two of Us.” It was a huge hit in 1981 — three weeks at number one.
The strange thing is that the two James Ingram songs that I thought were so big were not. The first was the “Just Once” by Mann and Weil. It’s a fine song, but it kind of annoys me. It only reached number 17 on the “Hot 100.” The other did a bit better: “One Hundred Ways” made it to number 14. The thing is that I think it is just a wonderful song and I never get tired of it. It is one of the most romantic songs ever written. And Ingram is fantastic on it and the production is that perfect light jazz infused rhythm and blues.
The song was written by songwriter Kathy Wakefield, producer Ben Wright, and Tony Coleman, who I believe is a drummer and King Coleman’s son. All of this is just by way of introduction. I love the song. And here is James Ingram on Soul Train lip-syncing to it:
Point of order: this is probably not the best romantic advice. If you do “find one hundred ways” you are most likely to spoil her and look desperate. Everything in moderation, my friends. It is true that, “Being cool won’t help you keep a love warm.” But being too warm will make love overheat. On the other hand, in my experience, most men tend to error on the side of coolness and lack of engagement. And in the end, maybe you don’t want to be in a relationship where you have to play these games. Maybe the song is right and you should just show what you feel. That’s the right thing to do. But don’t blame me if she leaves you for a guy who is cooler and doesn’t let the violins play.