Randy Crawford, one of the most pure and distinctive voices of the 20th century, is 67 this week.
Veronica Crawford, as she was born, got her break in 1972 when she was a backing singer for George Benson and then opened for him on tour later that year. Her debut single was a cover of Knock on Wood which failed to chart. In 1978 former Genesis guitarist, Steve Hackett, invited her to add vocals on Hoping Love Will Last, the opening track on his second solo album Please Don’t Touch!.
She made her name commercially in 1979 when Wilton Felder of the Crusaders invited her to sing on their hit Street Life and although she was uncredited, it was a big chart hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
She then launched a successful solo career, a released her fourth album, Now We May Begin which contained the hit single One Day I’ll Fly Away which reached number two in 1980. She followed it with Secret Combination which brought further hits You Might Need Somebody, a cover of Brook Benton’s Rainy night In Georgia and the title track. Another single that failed to chart was the marvellous You Bring the Sun Out. That album featured Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro – guitarist and drummer from Toto respectively.
Success died off in the late eighties, but in mid-nineties she recorded the acclaimed album Naked and True which featured a cover of George Benson’s Give Me the Night that reached number 60 in 1997. Seven months previous R&B singer Shola Ama made her debut with a cover of Crawford’s You Might Need Somebody which peaked seven places higher than the original.
Let’s remember her last UK top 10 hit, the beautiful Almaz, a song which an Eritrean refugee neighbour of Randy’s had asked her to write a song about for his wife. Randy said at the time, “I witnessed this perfect love affair between them and as refugees they were looking for a world where love survives.”