R.I.P. James Ingram

I was so sad to hear the news today of the untimely passing of James Ingram. He was a respected voice in my household and one of our favorite R&B singers.

In the Sandoval house, we learned about James Ingram when the musical world did——as a signature voice on Quincy Jones’ 1981 album The Dude. That I knew that both sides of that album as well as I knew Thriller, which was released the next year and also produced by Jones, says a lot about the musical mix I grew up with. We listened to pop and rock (well, I did), but we also listened to the music my folks played——oldies, R&B, jazz, and soul——a lot of sounds that morphed into “adult contemporary” over the years.

James Ingram was a master of the R&B love song. He had a voice of passion and range. He was a real talent and a true artist. Maybe the nicest thing I can say is that even after all these years (I probably haven’t played a James Ingram song in decades) I still know the words to all my favorites he sang. He was that much a part of the soundtrack of my youth.

Here are my favorites. None are surprises or “deep cuts.” They are probably his biggest hits, but they’re all gems.

Just Once (1981)
Definitely my favorite James Ingram song, from The Dude.

One Hundred Ways (1981)
Another hit from Jones’ 1981 album, a classic love song in the adult R&B style.

Baby, Come to Me (1982)
His first hit duet with Patti Austin.

Yah Mo Be There (1983)
From Ingram’s debut solo album, sung with Michael McDonald.

I Don’t Have the Heart (1990)
His last “big” hit, this one was on the repeat tape of this one office job I had.

R.I.P. James Ingram.

2 thoughts on “R.I.P. James Ingram

  1. I missed him when he was around. Trying to think of a similar artist I knew … maybe Luther Vandross, but admittedly, I came to Luther through Arsenio Hall, who loved him so much. You said it right, though … if someone’s songs get inside you, it doesn’t matter if it’s been 20 years, you still know them.

  2. Luther’s not a bad comparison. I think of him more in the Jeffrey Osborne kind of orbit, which is to say not as pop successful as Luther. But it’s all adult contemporary R&B.

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