from the album It's Real (1989)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #1 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15
Today's song of the day comes from R&B/pop singer James Ingram, who after getting his big break providing vocals on two big singles on Quincy Jones' The Dude album, spent the rest of the decade appearing on various top-40 collaborations, among them the #1 "Baby Come To Me" with Patti Austin and the Grammy winning #2 soundtrack hit "Somewhere Out There" with Linda Ronstadt. In 1989, Ingram released his third solo album It's Real, on Jones' Qwest label but produced by a myriad of people besides himself. The first single from the set was the "new jack lite" title track, which climbed to #8 on Billboard's R&B chart (It was also a minor British hit at #83). That was followed by the similar "I Wanna Come Back", and peaked at #18 on that list, then came a cover of the Aretha Franklin classic re-gendered as "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Man" that got to #30. However, none of these singles made even a dent on the pop chart, possibly because the change in style was jarring to those accustomed to "soft rock" Ingram. That was remedied on the fourth release from the set, "I Don't Have The Heart". A touching break-up ballad written in the perspective of the dump-er by Alan Rich and Jud Friedman, the realistic view of a man trying his best to let a lovelorn partner down easy was different and sympathetic, and got the response from mainstream radio finally for one of his solo turns, albeit a "classy friendzoning"...
"I Don't Have The Heart" became Ingram's second trip to #1 on Billboard's American pop chart in October of 1990. The single also spent two weeks at #2 on their Adult Contemporary (or "easy listening") radio chart, while crossing over to #53 on the R&B list. The record was nominated for a Grammy Award for Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1991, losing out to the late Roy Orbison's live recording of "Oh Pretty Woman".
A fifth single from the It's Real album, "When Was The Last Time The Music Made You Cry", made the top-40 Adult Contemporary at #29, and slipping on to the R&B list at #81. In 1993, Ingram released his fourth studio album and last with Qwest, Always You, but the only charting R&B single, "Someone Like You", got to #34 on the Adult Contemporary list. He wouldn't appear again on the pop Hot 100 in America, though his collaboration with John Tesh, the wedding-tailored "Give Me Forever (I Do)", which peaked at #5 on the AC chart, popped in on the Pop Airplay list at #66 in 1998.
Since then, James most recently put out a gospel-styled album in 2008, Stand (In The Light), which got to #63 on the R&B albums chart. He was also nominated for two more Grammys, in 1995 for his duet with Dolly Parton, "The Day I Fall In Love" from the film Beethoven's 2nd, and the following year for his collab with Anita Baker on "When You Love Someone" taken from the film Forget Paris.
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R&B singer Stacy Lattisaw also released "I Don't Have The Heart" as a single from her own 1989 album What You Need, but it failed to chart...
And here's the flawless Gladys Knight, who performed the song on an awards show in 1990..
Finally, here's a fan clip of Ingram performing "I Don't Have The Heart" live in concert in 2012...
Up tomorrow: A song so nice it appeared twice on the charts in 1990.