Hiding in (Anything but) Plain Background Vocals
You know those times when you really enjoy a song but there are certain parts of the song where you really get lost in the groove. Maybe it’s the way the artist rides the beat during the bridge, maybe it’s the vamp, or maybe it’s just the harmonies on the background vocals that hit your sweet spot, but whatever it is those songs stick to you like glue. In some cases maybe it is just your favorite artist but in other cases, maybe your favorite artist utilized the talents of another one of your favorite artists without you even knowing it or maybe you did notice if you are a music aficionado.The title says the vocals are hidden but actually they are right there for our enjoyment. Either way, let’s take a look at seven songs that you may or may not know the artist brought in the heavy hitters to help them out on the vocals. Rihanna – DisturbiaOriginally this was a Chris Brown song but Chris felt it was more of a song a female should sing. Word on the street is he tossed it to Rihanna to knock it out but they decided to keep some of his background vocals from his original demo of the record. Good thing for Ri Ri because this record went on to be a hit for her.
Madonna – Justify My Love
In my humble opinion this one of Madonna’s dopest songs. It’s just got a sexy groove to it. Did you know that groove was assisted by one of the greatest rockers of all time? That’s right lets put some respect on Lenny Kravitz name for helping Madonna execute the sound of Justify My Love as he laid some backgrounds of the record for the pop icon.
Michael Jackson – PYT
Now, this is probably one of the most popular songs of all time. When this MJ song comes on, people still go ape sh*t. You know that classic part of the song when MJ’s sings, “Pretty Young Things repeat after me, say Nah, Nah, Nah?” When you hear the female “Nah, Nah, Nah’s, well that is Janet and Latoya Jackson helping out their brother. Many know this already but since MJ is my personal favorite, I had to put this one on the list.
Alicia Keys – You Don’t Know My Name
On this Kanye produced classic by Alicia Keys, the man who is now on the EGOT list, Mr. John Legend laid down some background vocals for Ms. Keys. This was before Mr. Legend was a legend and he was working in Kanye’s camp. He was definitely known around the industry but wasn’t as popular among the fans just yet.
Stevie Wonder – All I DO
Now, this Stevie classic I have no words for. This joint right here makes you say stuff like, “This joint right here!” Growing up in the CHI, this was an instant “keep the party going” classic. Well, Stevie had a little help with this one too. Michael Jackson, Eddie Levert, Walter Williams from the O’Jays, and Betty Wright laced the backgrounds on this song. That’s and all ALL star team on the vocals.
Usher – U Don’t Have to Call
You don’t have to call, it’s okay girl – and the girl the Neptunes called to lace the background on this Usher groove was their protege at the time, Kelis. That’s right, there are some Kelis vocals in this classic Usher record. Who knew?
Chaka Khan – I’m Every Woman
This Chaka Khan classic which was written by Ashford and Simpson is one of the greatest female anthems of all time. We all know Whitney remade the record later but did you know a 14-year-old Whitney Houston alongside her mom, Cissy Houston laid some backgrounds on the original version. Chaka knew then what we all have come to know now, Whitney had the gift. She was Every Woman a long time ago.
BONUS Chaka Khan – Papillon
If you listen closely you will hear Luther Vandross, Cissy Houston and Whitney singing the amazing background vocals.