Reflections: An R&B legend – and a survivor

Eddie Levert_webThere are plenty of reasons to have admiration and respect for Eddie Levert, lead singer of the O’Jays. For 50 years (fifty!) he has been belting out pure R&B — straight, no chaser. He epitomizes the genre and is what is meant by the term “soul singer.” (He’s also a nice person.)

Another remarkable thing about Eddie Levert is his fortitude, coupled with his determination to persevere no matter what. 

It is a horrendous thing for any parent to lose a child, but Levert lost both of his sons, singers Gerald Levert and Sean Levert, within a period of a year and eight months. He must have a strong spiritual foundation, plus be secure in the knowledge that his sons would have wanted him to carry on, in his life and his career.

Eddie Levert deserves a courage award.

A LONG TIME ago someone coined the saying, “You’re only as old as you feel.” Then a more cynical person countered with, “You’re only as old as you are.”

Both are true, which came to mind when it was learned that Madonna’s new album, “MDNA,” and Lionel Richie’s new release, “Tuskegee,” debuted at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively on the national Pop sales chart.  

Richie’s album sold a very impressive 199,000 copies in a one-week period, and Madonna’s sold more than that.

Keep in mind that Lionel Richie is 62 years old and Madonna is 53.

It’s good to know that artists in an older demographic can still set the charts on fire in a youth slanted industry.

BOOS AND HISSES to seven of the twelve children of the late legend and icon Ray Charles who are proving themselves to be money grabbers. In his will, Charles left them $500,000 each on the condition that they not seek any additional money from his estate.

But now “the greedy seven” are attempting to obtain the ownership to over 50 lucrative song copyrights, even though the copyrights are owned by the Ray Charles Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides funding for hearing impairment charities and other educational organizations.

Usher fans are looking forward to June because that is when the singer/actor’s new album, “Looking For Myself,” is scheduled to be released.

Adam Lambert, the talented season 8 first runner-up on “American Idol,” promises that his upcoming album, “Trespassing,” will be exciting, with a focus on dance, house, disco and funk. Producers include two of the best, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell Williams.

SO WHAT’s up Jaleel White? First the former “Family Matters” child star, who comes across as likable, is accused of being physically abusive to Bridget Hardy, a former girlfriend and mother of his child.  Then he gets into widely publicized over-the-top argument with “Dancing With The Stars” partner Kym Johnson.  And then he tops it off with an obviously contrived “emotional moment” on the show.  (He put his hand over his face, but when he removed it there wasn’t even a trace of moisture in his eyes.)

Speaking of “Dancing With The Stars,” from what I’ve seen so far this season, the most deserving to win the Silver Ball trophy is the amazing pro Mark Ballas and his surprisingly good partner, classical singer Katherine Jenkins.

Heejun Han, “American Idol” finalist who was recently voted off, was way out of line to say publicly that P. Diddy was “kinda drunk” the week he coached the finalists. Even if what he says is true, there are some things you keep to yourself.

Dionne Warwick, who was seen in the audience on “American Idol” and “Dancing With The Stars” recently in the same week, is one of those people you have to give props to for surviving adversity. 

That includes the “Psychic Friends Network” commercials, being seen having lunch with accused murderer O.J. Simpson and being caught with marijuana. No matter what, she holds her head high with great dignity and pride. Anyone who wants to say or think something negative can just “walk on by.”

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that Channel 2 anchorman Huel Perkins is a huge fan of songwriter/singer Laura Nyro.

MEMORIES:  “If I Could” (Regina Belle), “Band of Gold” (Freda Payne), “Sherry” (the Four Seasons), “When Will I See You Again?” (the Three Degrees), “How Long? (Betcha Got a Chick on the Side)” (the Pointer Sisters), “Angel” (Angela Winbush), “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” (Jackie Wilson), “Say You, Say Me” (Lionel Richie), “Baby Don’t You Do It” (Marvin Gaye), “Miss You Like Crazy” (Natalie Cole).

BLESSINGS to Cliff Russell, Linda Burgess, Carlton Pearson, Terry Cabell, Michael Goodin, Freddy Anderson, Marva Stafford, Mojo, Verna Green and Greg Mitchell.

Let the music play!

(Steve Holsey can be reached at and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.)

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