Classics: Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together (Glades)
“People are changing”, also came to sing Timmy Thomas. And so the times are doing too. Man, I remember when I first got to hear ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’. Damn it, I was in my early teens back then. Hangin’ out with friends at some local funfair. So hard to imagine people would (still) play this kind of music nowadays after nearly 40 years of corporatism on the radio stations here in France. And to such an extend, I guess I’m glad I was born before this whole sh** happened. Thus enjoying the presence of open-minded people on the radios as in the clubs back then.
To be honest, I was far from figuring I would have anything to do professionally with music at the time. Although I clearly felt nothing would be the same anymore. This after I’d heard Timmy Thomas singin’ ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’. Not only in terms of lyrics, but also in terms of production. With the aforementioned bringin’ me to definitely switch from Rock to Soul and more widely the groove. With thanks to its Hammond organ part over a rudimentary rhythm machine. And the whole almost soundin’ like a demo. Although seemin’ to me like quite avant-gardist at the time. Just like The Rolling Stones‘ ‘2000 Light Years Away From Home’ appeared to me a couple of years before.
A native of Evansville, IN, Timmy Thomas studied music locally before movin’ to Memphis, TN. Playing keyboards and organ, he first grabbed the attention as a backup musician for Cannonball Adderly and Donald Byrd.
He eventually sign a record deal with local label Goldwax Records, with his first releases seeing the light during the mid-60’s. Then, after delivering a one off on Climax Records, he landed in Miami, FL, back in 1972 where he started playing sessions for the TK group labels. And from then, it didn’t happen to be long before he signed a new deal with Glades Records. Soon after makin’ his debut for the label with the seminal ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’.
With thanks to its lyrics and their passionate delivery, ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ would be Timmy Thomas‘ most popular classic at the end. Eventually given various cover versions along with time. From Mark Anthony in 1982 to Sade on her 1984 ‘Diamond Life’ debut-album, among others.
Timmy Thomas eventually followed the year after with ‘People Are Changing’, in an overall similar vein. Then came his ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ album. The first of his four efforts in the series for Glades along with a Live album which closed his contract with the label in 1979. Meanwhile he also came to record a bunch of minor hits for T.K. including ‘Africano’, ‘Touch To Touch’ and the infectious ‘Freak In, Freak Out’. This in addition to contributions for various artists. From George to Gwen McCrae. But also Betty Wright and Blowfly.
The 80’s saw Thomas makin extra noise with the Funky ‘Gotta Give A Little Love (10 Years after)’. This as a part of the 1984 ‘Bachelor Party’ OST. And the year after, he came to share the bill with Nicole McLoud on ‘New York Eyes’, from her ‘What About Me?’ album.
More recently, back in 2013, Timmy Thomas resurfaced on ‘Sweet Heaven’ along with Tom Glide. Meanwhile Drake sampled ‘Why Can’t We Live Together’ on ‘Hotline Bling’ two years later.
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Why can’t we live together? Self-destruction!