“The Closer I Get To You” by Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway (1978)

The title of the Roberta Flack album that housed “The Closer I Get To You” was Blue Lights In The Basement. There couldn’t be a more accurate descriptor for what this song evokes. “The Closer I Get To You” is a slow dance classic; a perfectly sung, sumptuously arranged song that captures the first blush of a blossoming romance. James Mtume & Reggie Lucas wrote and produced this song, a bit of an anomaly in their catalog as they became much more well known for manning the boards on uptempo jams.

As I was prepping to write this blurb, it struck me that Roberta & Donny, who performed some of the most love-filled duets of any paired artists in history, were never romantically involved. Same-allegedly-goes for Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, although some intimates have suggested that their relationship was not as platonic as it was made out to be at the time (and for years after both their deaths.) Anyway, “The Closer I Get To You” exudes a level of warmth, that only two people who’d enjoyed a tight bond would be able to communicate effectively. Roberta and Donny, who’d known each other since their college days in the ‘60s, certainly possessed that bond.

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