I’ve always liked and respected President Jimmy Carter —and the fact that he designated June Black Music Month back in 1979 is just one of many reasons. This morning, TJMS producers have asked us to take a look at music that makes us feel better, and if you were around back in 1979 (or just read about it, like me), you know they needed some feel-better music. Inflation, gasoline lines, energy crisis, oil spills that polluted the ocean and other major threats to the environment, unrest around the world—1979 paralleled 2009 in a lot of ways.
Thankfully, a lot of feel-good music was born during that time. Billboard magazine’s R&B singles chart of 1979 included “Got to be Real” by Cheryl Lynn; “Aqua Boogie” by Parliament; “Aint No Stoppin’ Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead;” “We are Family” by Sister Sledge; “Good Times” by Chic and “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson … all music that makes me smile.
There have been tons of hits before and since 1979 that have lifted our spirits and helped us make it through a rough period by just bringing great memories every time we hear them. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers; “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder; “Happy Feelings” by Maze; “Be Optimistic” by Sounds of Blackness, and “There’s Hope” by India Arie are just a few classics that come to mind. Whether it’s about love, graduation, conquering an illness or electing the first black president of the United States, music has and will always have a place in our hearts and in our lives. And whether you listened on an eight-track or an iPod, you probably heard it first on your favorite black radio station.
This morning’s In Studio Jam guest is new artist Laura Izibor, and she’ll perform, among other songs, her hit song, “From My Heart to Yours,” live in the Red Velvet Cake studios. That single inspired our topic of songs that make you feel better because it’s one of those songs that seem familiar the first time you hear it. The kind of song that you can’t really sing without smiling. It’s gonna be a song a couple will dance to at their wedding reception and a song some Dad will sing to his little girl.
Thirty years after the Black Music Month began, a lot has changed or disappeared, but the most important things remain constant — love, friendships, family — and the hits that make you feel better every time you hear them. This morning’s “For Real, For Real” poll asks you about the one song that makes everything better each time you hear it. If you’ve got one, and I know you do, holla at me here on BlackAmericaWeb.com, Facebook, Twitter or text me at OhOhOh (646464).