This is what “covering” a song should be all about. It is no accident that this is the second time in this series that we have featured a cover that Donny Hathaway was involved with. In my humble opinion Donny Hathaway may have been one of the greatest arrangers ever in popular music.

If you make music you should take some time and analyze the similarities and differences between Aretha’s version and the Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway cover.

Interesting historical context is that these two versions were released within about a 4 or 5 year span of each other and of course all of the artists involved were labelmates on Atlantic. So, if folks who are on the same label around the same period time, arguably using some of the same musicians, studios, engineers, production staff etc., can come up with two strikingly different versions of the same song, what would be the excuse for so many people who have no relation to one another (save for the internet and homogenized media)sounding like clones?


Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.