In the fall of 2002, R&B music was a changing landscape. However, that didn’t stop The Prom Queen Of Soul, a.k.a., Mrs. Whitney Houston, from releasing her fifth album Just Whitney on December 10th, 2022. Just Whitney was Houston’s fifth studio album and the first after she renewed her contract with Arista for $100 million.
Slow Jam Saturday: Teddy Pendergrass & Whitney Houston, Hold Me
For this week’s Slow Jam Saturday, I wanted to feature a rarely mentioned duet between two late R&B legends. Teddy Pendergrass was already one of the premier voices in R&B when his duet “Hold Me” with future superstar Whitney Houston hit the airwaves in 1984. While Teddy P had a successful solo career on the Philadelphia International label, releasing five successive platinum albums (a record for an African-American R&B performer at the time), he moved to Asylum Records for his eighth album, Love Language.
Songs from the album were featured heavily on the soundtrack to the 1984 romantic comedy Choose Me, one of which is this week’s pick for Slow Jam Saturday. Linda Creed and Michael Masser wrote the song, while Masser also oversaw production. A gentle and lush arrangement opens the song before Pendergrass croons:
“I’ll hold you, and touch you
And make you my woman
And give you my love with sweet surrender
Tonight our hearts will beat as one
And I will hold you, touch you
And make you my woman tonight”.
Houston then comes before the second verse belting There’s something in your eyes I see A pure and simple honesty”. Listeners were treated to a preview of things to come from Houston’s angelic voice in the second verse as she sang:
“I believe you when you say that you love me
Know that I won’t take you for granted
Tonight the magic has begun
So won’t you hold me, touch me
Make me your woman tonight”.
Pendergrass’s vocal compliments of each other are second to none. When I hear the lyrics to the song at age 41, there are so many levels to the song. Whether it’s a first dance wedding song or experiencing intimacy for the first time, it’s a personal favorite of mine from both artists. Pendergrass would continue his career until his 2007 retirement, while all Mrs. Houston was only one year away from taking the music industry by storm. While I doubt the song will appear in Houston’s upcoming biopic, I Wanna Dance with Somebody; it was the perfect choice for Slow Jam Saturday.
Final Grade: A
Hold Me is available on all streaming platforms.
More reviews to explorer
The current lineup of legendary R&B trio features founding members Eddie Levert, Walter Williams, Sr., and Eric Nolan Grant, who joined the group in 1997. Tonight I get to cross an item off my musical bucket list as I’m attending the Washington D.C. stop of the group’s Last Stop on the Love Train tour.
No matter the music genre, every group has a standout member who is destined for solo stardom. Lionel Richie was already three years into a successful solo career when his former band, The Commodores, released its eleventh album, Nightshift.