by Lawrence J. J. Leonard
When we hear someone say, “it is what it is,” are we admitting that we are accepting things the way they are or accepting people for the way they act? Not necessarily. It may be more along the lines of “facts are facts.” Some things we just cannot deny. There will be people in our lives who are as flawed as characters in a play. At times, those people can be us. Doing what is best can break our own hearts.
Consequently, a reputation can open a door that would rarely be approachable on our life journey. Such was the opportunity for singers Michael McDonald and Patti LaBelle. Michael had been four years separated from the Doobie Brothers rock band when he got a call from Patti. It was an invitation to turn a song into a duet for her upcoming “Winner In You” LP. She had just released the #1 Dance chart single “New Attitude” out of the film soundtrack for “Beverly Hills Cop.” It had also cracked the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Rock fans never stopped adoring Michael’s full-bodied melancholy tone. But, his solo work was moving deeper into the beats of 1980’s rhythms. So were Patti’s when she cut a new song track. Decidedly, she told her recording engineer that the vibe was not on point. She wanted to redo it as a duet. When asked who she would like to sing with, Patti immediately suggested Michael. Rock fans could not have been prouder.
Despite the two of them being on different coasts, a team of producers worked out the audio and the video separation elements. This brought them together for radio and MTV audiences. And yet, the song was wholeheartedly about being apart, alone, and torn up over a difficult break-up. No matter how we try to make a relationship work there will be circumstances where staying together is not in our best interest.
The smash CD single “On My Own” was the biggest recording ever for both singers. It peaked at the top, #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as in Canada, Holland and The UK. International acclaim as a bona fide Top 20 hit came from fans in Australia, New Zealand, and Sweden. it was a ‘cross-over’ hit sensation in both Pop, Adult Contemporary, Rhythm and Blues, and Top 40 music formats. Patti’s album “Winner In You” became a certified triple platinum work by the RIAA – Recording Industry Association of America.
The song’s theme hammered home the loneliness of not being with that one person who was supposed to be there until the end of time. But, it is what it is, a relationship that had no real commitment, no agreement for love between two people. It is okay to feel the loss and eventually accept that some relationships just do not work out the way we might hope.
Copyright © 1960-2017 Lawrence J. J. Leonard All rights reserved.