Idolator Counts Down The 100 Greatest R&B Songs Of All Time (With My Mom) Part Three

In case you missed our earlier installments: A few months ago, Idolator’s Michaelangelo Matos sent out an e-mail to a handful of his associates with a proposition: Give me a list of your 100 favorite R&B songs. Well, those months went by and the only person to turn in a completed list was…my mother. In the third installment of Kathleen Turner’s 100 Greatest R&B Songs of All Time (with bonus YouTube links), we learn about her plans to take over for Bob Geldof, find out about her secret hippie roots, and discover that wine can turn a woman into a rabid Philadelphia partisan:

Once again, aside from cleaning up the spelling and grammar here and there (and the occasional editor’s note where applicable), I have left her musings mostly intact.

60. A Taste Of Honey – “Boogie Oogie Oogie”

Janice Johnson, where are you sweetie? Email us? Janice was a great bass guitarist, and to you foo foo’s, they did win Best New Artist at the 1978 Grammy’s. So there! Now not to be a nudge–even though I am–but what was with the “Sukiyaki” song? Boogie. What a great word!

(Editor’s note: Before we go any further I feel I should preface the first ten entries or so by saying that last Friday I received a text message around 11:30 p.m. that read “I AM DRUNK AND WRITING.” Forewarned is forearmed, etc.)

59. Archie Bell And The Drells – “Let’s Groove”

(Best I could do.)

I am going to defer to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff here. There is not much I can say about two Philly boys who made such an impact on the music world. Over 3000 songs, a list too long to even write a blog about! I bet could do a whole feature article on them, about being a suburban Philly girl and growing up with them. My radio is always set to 105.3 WDAS and Gamble and Huff are synonymous with the station. So now to the Drells: Houston funk but Philly raised!

58. Leon Haywood – “I Want To Do Something Freaky To You”

Another Houston boy, sampled twice by Dr. Dre.* And you know what? Unfortunately I have to say that Leon was a one-hit-wonder. And that makes me so sad!

(Editor’s note: Apparently my mother has taken up crate digging in my absence.)

57. Gwen McRae – “Rocking Chair”

You know what I want to do? I want to have a “We Are The World”-style concert with Gwen and Janice and many others on this list. Long gone but not forgotten. Is that possible? I just need financial backing. Anyone out there feel like helping out?

56. Erykah Badu – “Next Lifetime”

(Embedding disabled by request. Sorry y’all.)

My favorite CD of Erykah’s is World Wide Underground She is the essence of cool: jazzy, earthy, wonderful!

55. India Arie – “Video”

(Ditto this one. Damn you, Universal.)

Every young girl with body image problems should be made to listen to the song!

54. Heatwave – “Groove Line”

Well here is one more thing we can thank our armed forces for, a group of soldiers, enduring Vietnam and all that went with it, who drew together to write the disco-era theme song “Boogie Nights.” And Johnnie Wilder, although paralyzed from the neck down, went on to grand achievements with the likes of Quincy Jones. I am humbled!

53. Sade – “Smooth Operator”

Now Sade is only five years younger than myself. So is there hope for me? I guess my kids took care of any hopes I had for my Las Vegas showgirl dreams a long time ago. Oh well.

(Editor’s note: Jesus, way to guilt there, mom. Sorry for being born.)

52. Edwin Starr – “25 Miles”

First of all, Edwin Starr at his height looked a lot like Denzel and who doesn’t get excited looking at him? And being a hippie for a short time, his anthem “War” was our theme song. Although, I was only 5 years old. Just kidding. I was 14. But, with my Daddy having participated in five major battles of World War II, I was so torn [about my hippie allegiances]. It was a tumultuous time for all of us.

51. Spencer Davis – “Gimme Some Lovin’”

Spencer started his life as a postal worker and as a busker with Christine McVie and I swear this will be the only reference made to rock’n’roll on this list! The Spencer Davis Group was our “everybody’s getting high” group. What was wrong with us? You youngins have no idea.

50. Slave – “Watching You”

Lead singer Steve Arrington, what a voice! But hotter than the Ohio Players? I think not!

49. Jodeci – “Come And Talk To Me”

The sexy bad boys of the after-parties. I remember those, being in the after-hours clubs. This song is real baby-makin’ music!

48. Usher – “U Remind Me”

I really thought I had a shot at a marriage proposal from this cutie pie, but he did me wrong. And besides, there is a rule about dating anyone younger than your children. In my defense, I was a child bride! Is he the new Marvin Gaye?

47. Alicia Meyers – “You Get The Best From Me”

We are including Alicia in our concert as soon as I hear from the backers. I am personally ready to promote it. Call me! Ask Jess for my number.

46. Gerald Levert – “Pop Goes My Mind”

I remember the day that Gerald passed away, I called my boy and we were sad. With a father like Eddie Levert and Philly roots, the apple does not fall from the tree.

45. Earth Wind And Fire – “Reasons”

Okay so every time I hear EWF, I want to get my baton out and start twirling. And then I do. I did a lot of baton routines to EWF when growing up and sometimes I still put my majorette boots on. My Daughter and I fondly refer to them as Earth Wind and Car Fire because the last time we saw them my car burst into flames on the way home from the concert.

44. Tyrone Davis – “Turn Back The Hands Of Time”

So Tyrone wore love beads, and my father thought that wearing them would be a good idea. And you know the kids in my neighborhood laughed ’til we cried.

(Editor’s note: I would sell internal organs to see a picture of my grandfather in love beads.)

43. The Dells – “Stay In My Corner”

Four decades of music…top that! Do you people have any idea how great this was? Signed to Philly International, where they did some of their best work. Does anyone realize how important Philadelphia was to our entire musical world? I do.

42. The Time – “Jungle Love”

Now how in the world did The Time make it to 42 and Prince didn’t? Well, it is the beat darling! Why didn’t I go to high school with someone like Prince? Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting here in my stupid apartment.

(Editor’s note: I think the wine is making her belligerent at this point.)

41. Chaka Khan – “I’m Every Woman”

(Holy crap, Chaka on drums.)

This is truly my anthem! What, no Rufus? He will appear later in the Top 40, don’t worry! When I die, I want to come back as Chaka. And by the time you read this. my peeps and I will have just seen her. I just hope she calls me on stage to sing with her.

(Editor’s note: Unfortunately a family-wide hangover the day after this was sent prevented us from taking in the Chaka Khan concert. Officially, however, the cause of the cancellation was “the rain” and not “getting blind drunk the night before.” The family that boozes together…)

Earlier: Kathleen Turner’s 100 Greatest R&B Songs of All Time, No. 100 to No. 61

idolator
  • Ned Raggett

    My Daughter and I fondly refer to them as Earth Wind and Car Fire
    because the last time we saw them my car burst into flames on the way
    home from the concert.

    ?!?!

  • dollywould

    I love that your mother even knows who Jodeci is.

  • the rich girls are weeping

    Ok, now I’ve decided that this also needs to be a podcast or mix cd collection or something, hosted by Jess’ mom.

    Furthermore, yes ma’am, I do know the importance of Philly. I sure do. Also, we need to know WHY the car caught on fire. For reals.

  • dutchtwista

    ain’t the Archie Bell & the Drells song is called “Tighten Up”? still, a great pick

  • Jon Can Dance

    What I learned from this installment: Slave < The Ohio Players

    I don’t want this feature to ever end.

  • Halfwit

    All I’m picturing is your mom digging through the vinyl racks at AKA (Philly, what!), a pair of massive cans over her ears.

    Have you ever sat through her “when I was your age stories”? I’m sure they would be amazing, though I think that there are some things a child really shouldn’t know about his mother.

  • mackro

    I’m still freaked out at the frame of the Taste Of Honey video above where singer’s eyes are doing some Large Marge In Pee Wee’s Big Adventure type shit.

  • brainchild

    That Leon Haywood track was a pretty sizable hit… featured on K-Tel compilations and what not, so a crate digger certification (i just made that up) isn’t necessary to know that one. Also, the Dells were signed to either Cadet records based out of Chicago, not Philly International, when “Stay In My Corner” was released

  • KittytheKat

    To Brainchild>>>> I didn’t say that they were singed to Philly International when they did Stay in my Corner,,,,,I said they did some of the best work WITH Philly International. Read the blogs honey!

  • blasted_wit_yo_mom

    Well, Jess, I hate to admit it, but I got blasted wit yo mom again… on a school night! It was at that time that she told me that I was sh*t out of luck and would in fact not see lionel richie on the list. Next time she calls or writes, my response will be “Hello, is it me you’re looking for?”

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