Song:The Closer I Get To You
Album:The Best Of Roberta Flack
Roberta Flack had a lot of success recording with Donny Hathaway. The Closer I Get to You was their biggest hit in 1978. The two were classmates at Howard University. Hathaway was pianist and arranger on Roberta's 1970 album Chapter Two. Both were signed to Atlantic Records and Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler suggested they record together to help both of their careers. The album Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway was released in 1972 and the single Where Is The Love reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100. After this, Roberta continued to have success with hits like Feel Like Makin' Love. But Hathaway was suffering from manic depression and was in and out of hospital. The Closer I Get to You was written by guitarist Reggie Lucas and percussionist James Mtume. They were both members of the Miles Davis band in the early 70s but at the time they were touring with Roberta. She was originally going to record the song solo. But her manager David Franklin suggested a duet with Hathaway. Hathaway was hospitalized at the time so they got permission to fly him in to record his vocal. the song appeared on Roberta's 1977 album Blue Lights In The Basement. The Closer I Get To You reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. There were plans for the two to record an album together. But Hathaway's depression got worse and he jumped from the 15th floor of the Essex Hotel on Jan. 13, 1979 at age 33. He had recorded two songs with Roberta and they appeared on the 1980 album Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway. Roberta directed a video for The Closer I Get To You and announced that all her royalties for the sales of the record would go to Hathaway's family. Here's the video for The Closer I Get To You by Roberta Flack featuring Donny Hathaway.