Donny Hathaway started his career in music as a producer for Custom Records, owned by Curtis Mayfield. He released his first single in 1969, the June Conquest duet I Thank You Baby, and earned a major label record deal later that year. His debut album arrived in 1970, and although it was not a huge hit, it was the subject of much critical acclaim. He released several more solid gospel-infused, piano led soul albums throughout the rest of the 70s, but is best remembered for his duets with Roberta Flack. They released several hit singles together, including You've Got A Friend and The Closer I Get To You, and recorded an excellent album that sold better than any of Hathaway's solo material. The pair were mid-way through recording a second album of duets when Hathaway started showing signs of severe paranoia, repeatedly stating that he thought people were trying to steal his music. Several hours after leaving the studio he was found dead, having appeared to have jumped out of a 15th floor hotel room.
Followers: Anthony Hamilton, Jamie Foxx, J. Holiday, D'Angelo, Brian McKnight, Gerald Levert, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, India.Arie, George Benson
Influenced By: Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown
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