“Half-Crazy” by Johnny Gill (1985)

Three years before he released his first record as a member of New Edition, and five years before he rubbed us the right way, Johnny Gill had a modest R&B hit with “Half-Crazy”, a piano ballad I (if I remember correctly) overheard one night in my bedroom as my parents were watching the video in the living room. I fell in love with the tune immediately, although I’m pretty sure a fair amount of time went by before I heard it regularly. In 2019, this sentence I’m about to write seems so foreign, but up until the beginning of the century, if there was an old song that you wanted to hear again, you had to chase that motherfucker down. Particularly if, like “Half-Crazy”, neither the song nor the album that contained it was an especially big hit. I eventually ended up purchasing “Half-Crazy” on a Johnny Gill compilation that came out around 1999 or 2000, and it hasn’t left the rotation since.

JG is blessed with one of the all-time great soul voices, but “Half-Crazy” came out when Johnny was 18, and he still seemed like a boy that sounded like a man. It was hard to find material that suited him (which is why another few years passed before he was able to garner consistent solo success). “Half-Crazy” is definitely an adult song (and all praises due to one of the greatest unsung lyricists of all time, Linda Creed, for writing this song), and Johnny sings the shit out of it. How can you inhabit emotions like this before you can purchase alcohol?

Not a whole lot more I can say here. Just listen to the song…

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