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donny hathaway

Donny Hathaway

b. Donny Edward Hathaway, 1st October 1945, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 13th January 1979, Essex House Hotel, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Donny Hathaway hailed from Chicago, Illinois, although he grew up in St. Louis with his grandmother, Martha Cromwell, who was a respected Gospel singer in her own right.

His mother was Drusella Huntley.

Donny grew up, as did many of his contemporaries, with Gospel musical roots.

Donny Hathaway

After graduating from Vashon High School in 1963, Donny studied music at Howard University in Washington during 1964, where his room mate was Leroy Hutson.

Leroy and Donny were later to pen the song 'The Ghetto', together.

It was at Howard where he first met his wife, and also, a later musical collaborator, the singer/songwriter, Roberta Flack.

Donny Hathaway

Donny majored in musical theory before performing in a cocktail jazz group called the Ric Powell Trio.

I Thank YouJealous Guy

'i thank you' b/w 'just another reason' - 1971-45 / jealous guy - 1972-45

He was then employed as a producer with Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label, while a, Mayfield penned, duet with June Conquest, 'I Thank You' b/w 'Just Another Reason', became his first hit in 1971.

Donny later worked at the Chess and Stax labels with The Staples Singers, Carla Thomas and Jerry Butler.

While at a music fair he met King Curtis who took him to Atco / Atlantic Records, who signed him as a solo artist.

Everything Is EverythingDonny Hathaway

everything is everything - 1970 / donny hathaway - 1971

LiveCome Back Charleston Blue

live - 1972 / come back charleston blue - 1972

In 1970, Donny released the album 'Everything Is Everything', (featuring 'The Ghetto', 'Believe To My Soul' and 'To Be Young, Gifted And Black'), followed a year later by the self titled album, 'Donny Hathaway' (featuring 'A Song For You').

Donny's later albums included 'Live' and 'Extension Of A Man', (including 'Flying Easy', 'Love Love Love', 'Someday We'll All Be Free' and 'Valdez In The Country').

He also recorded the theme song for the TV series 'Maude', and wrote the film soundtrack to 'Come Back Charleston Blue'.

Donny Hathaway

Donny Hathaway

His compositions were recorded by acts such as Aretha Franklin and Jerry Butler, however, Donny is best remembered for his duets with Roberta Flack.

Live at the AstrodomeRoberta Flack and Donny Hathaway

live at the astrodome - 1972 / roberta flack and donny hathaway - 1972

Extension Of A ManThe Best Of Donny Hathaway

extension of a man - 1973 / the best of donny hathaway - 1978

The coupling reached their pinnacle on the singles 'Where Is The Love' (in 1972) and 'The Closer I Get To You' (in 1978), both of which reached the U.S. Top 5.

Roberta Flack Featuring Donny HathawayIn Performance

roberta flack with donny hathaway - 1980 / in performance - 1980

Donny was also, throughout the decade, battling severe bouts of depression, which occasionally required him to be hospitalized.

Donny HathawayDonny Hathaway

Sessions for a second album of duets with Roberta were underway when, on the 13th January 1979, Donny was found dead, at the age of 33, on the sidewalk below the 15th floor window of his room in New York's Essex House Hotel.

The glass had been carefully removed from the window, and there were no signs of struggle, leading investigators to rule his death a suicide.

Donny's close friends were mystified, considering that his career had been on the ascendancy.

Towards the end of his life he suffered from personal and identity problems, which hospitalised him from time to time.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson conducted Donny's funeral, which was attended by Roberta Flack and Stevie Wonder, amongst others.

Donny was laid to rest at the Lake Charles Park Cemetery, Bel-Nor, St. Louis County, Missouri, U.S.A.

Roberta & Donny

donny with roberta

He left a number of children including his daughter, and Soul singer, Lalah Hathaway.

In 1980, Hathaway achieved a posthumous U.K. number 3 hit with another Roberta Flack duet, 'Back Together Again'.

Place Of Passing

Donny HathawaySomeday We'll All Be Free

Real Player



Everything Is Everything (Atco Records 1970)

Donny Hathaway (Atco Records 1971)

Donny Hathaway Live (Atco Records 1972)

Donny Hathaway Live At The Astrodome (Nasty Records 1972)

Come Back Charleston Blue film soundtrack (Atco Records 1972)

with Roberta Flack:

Roberta Flack And Donny Hathaway (Atlantic Records 1972)


Extension Of A Man (Atco Records 1973)

The Best Of (Atlantic Records 1978)

with Roberta Flack:

Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway (Atlantic Records 1980)


In Performance (Atlantic Records 1980)

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