“Forget Me Nots” by Patrice Rushen (1982)

Who’s got some roller skates?

When I think of “Forget Me Nots”, I think of a beautiful spring day. I think of rolling around a skating rink, bopping to the beat (this has not happened in real life, btw.) I think of Patrice Rushen’s easy smile and head full of braids and beads. I think of Will Smith’s “Men In Black” and George Michael’s “Fastlove”, which sample and interpolate “Forget Me Nots”, respectively.

I think of the warmth of Patrice Rushen’s keyboard playing, the slightly echoed handclaps that open the song and repeat throughout the track’s length. I think of that fantastic sax solo by future jazz star Gerald Albright. I think of Freddie Washington’s¹ unshakeable bass part, which keeps “Forget Me Nots” from being too lightweight.

Despite relatively modest chart fortunes (“Forget Me Nots” peaked at #23 on the pop charts and #4 R&B), its quality has ensured that Patrice’s anthem has lingered on for a lengthier pop culture life than thousands of songs that have charted above it. It’s jazz-funk-soul perfection of the highest order. And still feels like sunny weather and carefree times. Never hesitates to put a smile on my face.


¹-I’m clearly not referring to Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington, as played by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs on the ’70s TV show Welcome Back, Kotter. But doesn’t playing bass on an ’80s funk record seem like something TV character Freddie Washington would do?

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