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  • Writer's pictureHenery X (long)

The Hit List

Songs that moved me in ways like no other

Music literally saved my life.-Henery X

The Hit List

2023, Henery X

When I say I love music, it’s not an exaggeration. Put it like this. If music was a woman, I’d marry it and we’d have a bunch of little musical notes running around making people happy. Yeah, it’s that serious for me. And I’m not selective, I love all music, of course some genres more than others, but the bottom line is there’s nothing I won’t listen to. Below are ten songs that left my spirit vibrating at a high rate of speed seconds after hearing them. So, without further ado…. My Hit List.

Whatever It Takes, by Anita Baker

Anita Baker is my all-time favorite female singer. I’ve been in love with her since her second album, Rapture. So she can do no wrong with a song in my mind. Many of her songs I’ve listened to over and over, but Whatever It Takes holds a special place in my heart. Everything about the song is perfection to me. When I was younger, I wanted to marry Anita Baker, and I still have a major crush on her till this day. They’ll never be another like her. In my humble opinion, that is.

Cherish The Day, by Sade

Sade is my second favorite female singer. If there was no Anita Baker, she’d be number one without question. Like it is with Anita, I love every song Sade has ever sung. But Cherish The Day just has that type of appeal that captivates my attention and consumes large portions of my time every time I listen to it. I once said that if we had the privilege of hearing an Angel sing, she would sound exactly like Sade. Her voice has a haunting melody that I’ve never heard before, and I think I never will again.

Ain’t No Way, by Aretha Franklin

Yep, you guessed it. Aretha Franklin is my third favorite female singer. The Queen of Soul wasn’t just given that title, she flat out earned it as well. Out of the three women I’ve shared, Aretha’s songs make me think of days gone by. She sang her songs as I was learning through play. My mother was a huge fan of her music, so it was always playing in our home. As I got older, I began listening to her music because of my mother. Ain’t No Way makes me cry every time I listen to it. How she’s confessing to that man he’ll never experience the best of her if he doesn’t open up makes me wish that was me she was singing to. Before she finished the song, she would have known my entire life story. Gone, but her music will ensure she’ll never be forgotten.

Inner City Blues, by Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye is my all-time favorite male singer. Like it was with Aretha, my mother loved Marvin’s music, so I grew to love it as well. Inner City Blues stands out to me because of how relevant it is right now. He speaks about things we all can relate to, things that never got better, but worse. My favorite song by him serves as a reminder that we must become the change we desire to see or begin to question our level of sincerity. Like he so boldly says, “It makes me wanna holla, the way they do my life. This ain’t living, this ain’t living….” He was a man amongst men, for sure.

That Girl, by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder is my second favorite male singer. In my humble opinion, only Prince has arguably done more in the music industry than Stevie has. This man has never made a song I didn’t love. He’s a musical genius. But That Girl has a special place in my heart because the first time I heard it was in high school, and when I was hanging out with a girl, I really liked. It instantly became our song, although she didn’t feel the same way I felt, nor did she know how I felt about her. Yes, I never told her how I felt until years later. Our paths crossed, and I shared how I had a crush on her. And to my surprise, she told me she felt the same way. We had a good laugh about how our shyness kept us from becoming more than friends.

Be Ever Wonderful, by Earth, Wind & Fire

In my humble opinion, Earth, Wind & Fire is the greatest band ever assembled. They have never created a song I didn’t regard as a classic. But Be Ever Wonderful not only spoke to my mind but just as important, it made me believe I could do anything as well. It was one song I listened to as I was writing my books. It definitely helped to keep me focused on accomplishing my goal.

Lights Down Low, by Boney James

Lights Down Low single-handedly made me fall in love with instrumental smooth jazz again. When I was a teenager, they had a jazz station out of Detroit I used to listen to all the time. The music made me long to be a musician myself, so much so I attempted to play every instrument in the school band class, but never could master not one. Anywho. As I got older, the station was canceled, and I got off into hip hop. But then one day I was listening to the radio, which was a rarity. I began scrolling for something good, and Lights Down Low had just started to play. I was hypnotized by the sound. Nothing else mattered more at that moment than that song. Once it ended, I immediately ordered the cassette tape. And the station, which was dedicated to instrumental smooth jazz, became my station of choice. Instrumental smooth jazz was and is, the background music for most of my writing.

Hells Bells, by AC/DC

Like it was with Lights Down Low and instrumental smooth jazz, Hells Bells made me fall in love with Rock & Roll. What I love most about the song in question is the opening, in particular the ringing of the bell. I can’t explain it, but that bell, and then the introduction of the guitar, makes me want to write something every time. There are so many other songs by them I love, especially Shoot To Thrill and Back In Black, but Hells Bells will always be my all-time favorite. That opening is magical to me.

I Hope You Dance, by Gladys Knight

Though Lee Ann Womack originally sang the song, and I love her version as well, I love everything about Gladys Knight more. My love for Gladys makes her version the one I listen to when I need to be reminded of what life is all about. The lyrics of this song are arguably the best usage of words ever. If you’re not motivated after hearing this song, there’s just no motivating you. I always shed a tear or one hundred when I listen to this song. Thank you, Lee Ann Womack, for giving Gladys Knight something she could make her own. Again, both versions are powerful in their own special way.

Closer To My Dreams, by Goapele

Closer To My Dreams was the song I had on repeat as me and my wife were striving to bring our T-shirt company Tee That Rule into existence. Her singing those words kept me focused and determined to get the job done. I was confident that the clear vision I saw in my mind would become a reality. And Closer To My Dreams only enhanced my belief. Every time I listen to this song, I cry like a newborn baby, and for more reasons than one.

Like a song can make us smile once we hear it, that same song can make us cry a river. Time has a way of changing the meaning of a song for us.-Henery X

Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my offering. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life, as a river does into a sea.

Remember. I’m not here to convince you to believe. I’m here to offer you something else to consider.

May we never lose our desire to outdo what we’ve already done.

Continue to be a lighthouse for all those who feel lost in the sea of life.

Peace, Love, and the utmost Respect.

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