SoulTracks Lost Gem: Rodney Franklin gave a beautiful “Song For You”


For a period in the 1980s, Rodney Franklin was among the most popular jazz pianists around, and with good reason. As the talent behind more than a dozen albums, he helped to usher in the period where R&B and jazz were blending into a tasty stew.

Born in Berkeley, California in 1958, Franklin was a child prodigy on the piano, who was already playing in bands around town by his mid-teens. He recorded with the band In One Piece at the shocking age of 14.

By the time Franklin graduated high school, he was gigging around California with such notables as Freddie Hubbard and Marlena Shaw. He was signed by Columbia Records and released his debut album, In the Center, in 1978. But it was his 1980 follow up album, You’ll Never Know, that shot him onto the charts, hitting the top 10 Jazz and spawning the international crossover hit, “In the Groove.”

Over the period 1980-88, Franklin became a fixture on the jazz charts, releasing an album nearly every year and building a strong audience for his soulful version of contemporary jazz.

Tonight we take a look at a special Lost Gem from Franklin. His 1985 ballad, “Song for You,” with vocals by Howard Smith, became a surprise Quiet Storm radio favorite for a period in the 80s, and, while never a charting hit, is still treasured by many more than three decades after its release.

Check out “Song for You” below and tell us what you think of this SoulTracks Lost Gem.

By Chris Rizik


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