Name Your "Unofficial" Song(s) - You Consider A "Standard" Today FORUM: SoulfulDetroit Forum: Name Your "Unofficial" Song(s) - You Consider A "Standard" Today
Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 04:47 pm:

Yesterday - I posed the question in another thread - but I mentioned "Classic", when I meant "Standard." They both can be classics but standards - IMO. We already know of some of the usual suspects here.

Moon River
Somewhere Over The Rainbow
That's Life
For Once In My Life
Pizza Pie (Dean)
Reach Out And Touch
Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Baby)
Impossible Dream
"I Love You"
Kaesarasara (sp?) (Doris)
My Cherie Amour

& countless others.

But - what about "Walk On By", "We Are The World", "I Will Always Love You", "My Girl." & etc.

Should a great Standard be based on the traditional slow to mid-tempo type tune? IYO - what song do you truly - truly feel should be considered a Standard and by today's standards. And keeping in mind - the many songs that are already out there and are considered Standards?

I"ll be back w/more - and some might not agree w/my short list - and that's cool. We all are "Grazin' In The Grass", here. LOL!

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 06:24 pm:

IMO, a "standard" is a song that can be easily identified, has withstood the test of time and can be sung or performed by almost anyone, regardless of tempo or mood.

Several Motown songs could be considered "standards". For example:
My Girl
My Guy
Baby Love
Tracks Of My Tears
Ooh Baby Baby
I Can't Help Myself
For Once In My Life
A Place In The Sun
Reach Out I'll Be There
You've Made Me So Very Happy
I Wish It Would Rain
I'll Be There
Never Can Say Goodbye
Touch Me In The Morning
Do You Know Where You Going To (from Mahogany)
Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Get Ready

I'll stop there with the Motown.

As for Burt Bacharach, almost every song he has written with Hal David is a standard today.

From Philly -
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me
Love Train
I Love Music
Only The Strong Survive
La-La Means I Love You
Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time
When Will I See You Again
Just Don't Want To Be Lonely
Love Won't Let Me Wait
If You Don't Know Me By Now
The Love I Lost
Wake Up Everybody
Don't Leave Me This Way

Chicago Soul Standards -
Oh Girl
Have You Seen Her
For Your Precious Love
Higher & Higher
Soulful Strut
Can I Change My Mind
The Shoop-Shoop Song
Stay In My Corner
Oh What A Night
Rescue Me
At Last

Memphis Soul Standards:
Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay
Soul Man
When Something Is Wrong With My Baby
Let's Stay Together
Hold On, I'm Coming
Green Onions
The Dark End Of The Street
The Letter
Suspicious Minds (Okay, I'm stretching it a bit but let's face it, Candi Staton did a hell of a job on this tune!)
I'm Your Puppet

Honorable mentions - Going In Circles, Grazing In The Grass, A Natural Woman, Try A Little Tenderness...

That's just a short list of tunes I consider to be standards today.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 06:35 pm:

Wow! Thanks KevGo. We know what we like and think is a Standard - but what about the tunes that TPsTB will think are standards? Some of the ones we mention might not make their list, and we can submit our list - but what tunes do they think should be classified as Standards? We have to narrow it down to perhaps what criteria they would use to rank them and w/i their "Estimation."

Day By Day

(A couple of others they proclaim Standards)

I'm off to my daughter's Freshman Orientation. I'll holla back.

Top of pageBottom of page   By caliluv ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 06:58 pm:

I'll let this one pass, there's waaaay too many

Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:37 pm:

Btw KevGo - I think you have picked some outstanding nominations. Many of the ones you picked should make it for real. Would the ones that make these kind of calls agree? Who are they btw?

Surely these should qualify IMO.

Tracks Of My Tears
You've Made Me So Very Happy
Touch Me In The Morning
My Girl
My Guy
Do You Know Where You're Going To

What about.

I Will Survive
I'm Every Woman

The above two should make it - but would they? I am thinking that the cats of old who surely have their names and songs linked w/making Standards - that many would sing and cover, and almost in tribute to the original singer/song - and for the most part. The old and cool cats set the Standard in the chiefs of the music industry minds as to what was conidered a Standd song.

Whitney hit it out of the atmosphere w/Dolly's "I Will Always Love You." Yet - is it considered a Standard?

Sam's Summertime was first sung in "Porgy & Bess", wasn't it. Then look how many folks have covered that song. Perhaps how many times a song has been covered might have something to do with how a Standard is rated and accredited - IMO.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Des ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:45 pm:

This is a good question/Thread.
I take it from SB's Thread layout (and some of the selections) that we're talking a more traditional Standard ie one that finds its way into the Jazz canon,crooner and multi-racial covers etc.
I think KevGo's definition is accurate (except for the 'regardless of tempo or mood'). However,perhaps controversially,I don't agree that many of the Motown/Chicago or Memphis songs he listed fall into the category he defined himself.
I just can't see/hear many non-Black Westerners doing many of the cuts justice.
That point makes those songs non-Standards - 'Classics' - YES.
I'd stress that ALL Kev's choices are most definitely Classics in or of their genre - but not cross-culturally,in the sense that they would be enhanced or attractive to 'anyone' to cover.
A few writers of what I'd term modern (ie post 1960) Standards are :
Bacharach & collaborator
Tom (or Antonio Carlos,if you prefer) Jobim (late 50's for many,I acknowledge)
'Tapestry'-period Carole King
Stephen Sondheim
Early (and latest) Elton John & Bernie Taupin
Early Jim Webb
Early Paul Williams
Early David Gates
Rupert Holmes

Like I said earlier,this is my take on Standards - hope no offence taken by my opinion....what say you?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Common ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 08:48 pm:

KevGo: I didn't know that Candi Staton did a cover of "Suspicious Minds". I'm familiar with Dee Dee Warwick's version. Do you know what CD Candi's version is featured on? I would love to hear it.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 10:35 pm:


Thanks for the props bro!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:21 am:

Them original term "standard" didn't apply to soul music as we know & love it. It meant songs from the "Great American Songbook" written by American composers from the late 1800's to 1950, basically, as in tin pan alley. From composers like Gerswin, Berlin, Warren, Arlen, Van Huesen, Porter, etc... Songs recorded primarily by jazz & pop artists such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Alice Faye, Kay Starr, Jimmy Scott, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Johnny Hartman, Nat King Cole, etc...

Of course, we can have standards apply to soul music ourselves as to which songs endure the test of time and are recorded by many artists because they are that good, which is totally different from the established standard as it applies.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 12:49 pm:

First of all, you'd be surprised to find how many "non-Black Westerners" have done many of these songs justice.

For example, the UK's own Swing Out Sister did a great version of "Am I The Same Girl" (a/k/a Soulful Strut)in 1992. Year priors, Dusty Springfield did a wonderful version of the same song.

Tony Bennett was one of the first artists to make "For Once In My Life" a hit (prior to Stevie Wonder's hit version).

Frank Sinatra & Mel Torme cut songs from Stevie Wonder's catalog (i.e. - "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life").

Nick Scotti recorded "Wake Up Everybody" for his now-sadly-out-of-print album for Madonna's Maverick label.

Hell, even Dan Penn recorded his composition "I'm Your Puppet" for MGM Records prior to James & Bobby Purify's hit (the Box Tops also did a really soulful version as well).

Bill Deal & the Rhondells recorded "Can I Change My Mind" as an album track for their Best Of release on Heritage Records.

I even have a video clip of Bing Crosby singing "My Girl" with the Temptations from the ABC-TV show "The Hollywood Palace" (circa 1965).

At the risk of lighting a fire here on this Forum, I find your "pidgeon-holing" to be quite disturbing. Judging by the list you had posted, am I to assume that you feel that an song rooted in R&B cannot become a "standard"? If that is the case, to quote Gamble & Huff - "I feel sorry, sorry for you..."

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:02 pm:

Soul Sister:
If I may offer a challenge here in this forum...
maybe it's time we start reinventing this whole concept of what is "The Great American Songbook."

As much as I like the "classics" there are far too many great songs that have been written over the past fifty years to be ignored by the rather "high & mighty" cabaret/vocal music community (I can say this because I've dealt with those folks for the past ten years). There are younger and even older musicians in this circle that would love the chance at tackling modern material and there is a lot of it to be devoured. Hell, it took a Bobby Darin to bravely introduce a Ray Charles song ("I've Got A Woman") to the Copacabana audience in the late 1950s. Your dear Jimmy recorded Simply Red's "Holding Back The Years" (and I'm sure he performs the song in his show).

We can start with the following composers:
Ray Charles
Stevie Wonder
Smokey Robinson
Burt Bacharach
Dan Penn
Bobby Eli
Thom Bell & Linda Creed
Dianne Warren
Ashford & Simpson
Marvin Gaye
Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong
Eugene Record & Barbara Acklin
Curtis Mayfield
Gamble & Huff
The Isley Brothers (especially during their 3+3 years)

I'll stop there for now.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Common ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 01:19 pm:

Hello everyone,

I forgot where I heard this from but Frank Sinatra, who later covered The Beatles' "Something" said that was best love song he ever heard or something to that effect. I guess it's all a matter of emotion & lyrical content.


Top of pageBottom of page   By SB ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 07:18 pm:

What Is Up Ya'll?

I would also include Curtis's "Gimme Your Love", as being one of my all time fave songs. I adore(d) that whammy. I would classify it as a classic and standard - but many might not agree. I am listening to Curtis right now, and I could never get tired of the listening and the digging. Curtis was another really cool and jazzy cat, and some 'moe stuff. So - I hear you KevGo. We need to start our own list.

Barry White had an Orchestra - and we know that he composed songs that could be considered standards. And in my book. Quincy has composed a few standards hasn't he? But does one really have to have an Orchestra? And Orchestras can come in many shapes and forms. The musicians that played w/Motown & the others back in the day played in Orchestras - and IMO. They made them strings and other instruments set the tone and mood - and they WORKED it.

Shout out to Issac.

Common - I agree w/Mr. Sinatra. I loved that "Something", by the Beatles. It is absolutely one of my fave songs by the Beatles. I loved that "Come Together, album.

Chris Rock is hosting the MTV awards starting at 8:00 p.m. - btw? I might peep over there now and again. Chris is a "Sometimes You Feel Like A Nut", character, at times - and so funny. LOL!

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 07:55 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Des ( on Thursday, August 28, 2003 - 08:44 pm:

Kev/ First up - don't be disturbed by my view -- there's nothing sinister in what I wrote.Secondly,don't patronise me with Gamble & Huff lyric quotes or paraphrases.
SS opined accurately on what a Standard is and how a Soul Classic can be lauded and revered for what it is - A Soul Classic.
Your challenge to discuss the reinvention of the concept of 'The Great American Songbook' is a good debate in prospect.
I think it's tough to agree a common outlook on Standards versus Classics. However,Soul Classics definitely do belong in an expanded,modern list of 'Great American Songs' and it would be fun to see/hear what posters here would regard as songs to enter that canon.
Kev/ re yr comments on who covered what -- it's always a matter of personal taste.....But I repeat - don't be disturbed.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:07 am:

Hey Baby, I have no disagreement with what you said, only stated the facts as to the way it always was and still is as far as the definition of a standard. I never said any of the music we love in the soul genre couldn't become standards.

Yes, my dear Jimmy did record an album of songs written by modern rock/pop artists in '98. This album was a blessing in disquise for it opened up a whole world of the younger generation to appreciate and know him, they fill his audiences today. No, he does not do "Holding Back The Years" in his show but he does do Elton's "Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word" and Lennon's "Jealous Guy" which he gets requests for.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:14 am:

Thank You for being open enough to get where I'm coming from.
Much Appreciation,

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 01:43 am:

ok I have to say this is an all time classic, standard, original and no one can touch it...
Diana simply made it more popular and her version is forever compared to the original - so she really did Tammi and Marvin a justice by recording their classic..Any time this is ever sang/recorded it will always be compared to theirs..

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough"

a standard that no one can touch..I do love Diana's version....but it's the original version that is a standard for me..



Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:55 am:

Soul Sister & Des:
First of all, I GOT what both of you are saying. What I'm saying is that we need to reivent this whole concept of what is a "standard" and the first thing we need to do is stop the damned pigeon-hole-ing of classic songs rooted in R&B/soul music as being just "soul classics".

To say that songs such as "My Girl", "My Guy", "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" & "The Tracks Of My Tears" are just "soul classics" when they have been recorded by singers ranging from the original artists (Tempts, Mary Wells, Stevie & Smokey respectively) to Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Rivers & Mel Torme is absolutely ridiculous. These songs have been etched into the collective minds of millions of people here and abroad.

Two years ago, I managed & produced a gig for a jazz/R&B/pop act at a cabaret space in Manhattan. The group incorporated Motown tunes such as Stevie Wonder's "Love's In Need Of Love Today" and Smokey's "I'll Try Something New" next to -ahem- standards -ahem- such as "Stormy Monday" and "Since I Fell For You". These selections were all warmly received by the audience.

We need to start embracing these tunes as standards so that the Great American Standards can REALLY be called that and stop limiting ourselves to the thought/argument of "that's the way it always was and is".

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 11:01 am:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 11:17 am:

I have no argument with you there as I said all I was stating were the facts period.
Yes it would be wonderful to have those tunes classified as standards, that is NOT my issue at all!

What I do take issue with is when people catagorize pop, country, and others as soul records when they have NO soul in them at all! There is a big difference in depth, feeling, delivery, and the meaning it has to life when it touches someone's heart, not to mention the style of singing by the artist himself.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 02:04 pm:

I hear you...And yes, I've seen "Fake Books" for classic R&B tunes.

Soul Sister:
I know that singers such as Jimmy have embraced modern tunes in their repertoire and that's fine. Nnenna Freelon recorded an album saluting Stevie Wonder's catalog while Cassandra Wilson has been known to take an pop/soul tune and interpret it her own way.

What I'm saying is there should be more of that and not limit the so-called Great American Songbook to a limited club - which to me is anything but American.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By STUBASS ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 02:29 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By R&B ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 02:35 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 03:26 pm:

When Vinnie Barrett and I first conceived the idea for Love Wont Let Me Wait, we wanted to write a modern day standard, and everything about it was done on purpose, i.e, the mood , the arrangement, the vocal sound, was done to conjur up an image of a "standard".
Because of that, there have been over a hundred versions recorded and released.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Soul Sister ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 09:47 pm:

For the second time I agree with that 100%.
All The Best,

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Friday, August 29, 2003 - 10:37 pm:

Soul Sister:
I hear ya'!

Bobby Eli:
That's why I listed your songs...They should be considered standards as well.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

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