Our Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Songs list looks at a legendary musician, singer, songwriter and producer. Narada Michael Walden loved music. He loves classic music and Motown music. Before he became a songwriter and producer for other artists, he had a career as a drummer. He started his career as a jazz drummer. He worked with John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. While Narada Michael Walden was with the group, they recorded the album Apocalypse. The album gained a cult following. He also worked with different musicians during the early years of his career. His talent on the drums is amazing. He’s arguably one of the best jazz drummers in the business.
Narada Michael Walden met producer Quincy Jones and his life changed forever. Quincy Jones inspired him to become a writer and producer. He took his advice, and the rest was history. He is responsible for some of the biggest hits in music. Narada Michael Walden has 57 number one hits throughout his career. He has worked with the biggest names in the music industry. He has worked with Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Barbra Streisand, Mariah Carey, Clarence Clemons, Jackson Browne, Elton John, Kiki Dee, Gladys Knight, Regina Bell, The Pointer Sisters, Aretha Franklin, Angela Bofill, Tevin Campbell, Ray Charles, Starship, Carl Carlton, Diana Ross as well as many others. He won Grammys for his work in music.
Narada Michael Walden’s name may not be recognizable to everyone, but you have heard his music. He is responsible for a lot of songs on our playlists. He’s more than just a writer and producer. He is a talented jazz musician. He can make music come alive because he has a natural ear for it. Narrowing this list down to 10 songs was a challenge because he has a lot of hits. We were up for the challenge and picked the songs for this list. Our Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Songs list will feature his best songs.
# 10 – You’re a Friend of Mine – Clarence Clemons and Jackson Browne
The first song on our Narada Michael Walden Songs list is “You’re a Friend of Mine” from Clarence Clemons’ album Hero. The song has an r&b, soul and pop sound. The jubilant song is about a close friendship. The song is about people who have been friends for a long time. They let each other know that they can depend on each other no matter what happens. They tell each other they will be friends for life. No matter what happens they will be there for each other. This is the perfect way to celebrate having a long-term friendship. If you are friends with someone for a long time, you can play this song to celebrate your friendship.
Narada Michael Walden was good friends with Clarence Clemons. He wrote the perfect song for them to sing to celebrate their friendship. He wrote meaningful lyrics about friendship. We don’t get to hear too many songs about friendship. Most of the songs we hear are about the ups and downs of love. It’s good to hear a song about a positive friendship. Clarence Clemons does a tremendous job playing the saxophone. Narada Michael Walden is outstanding on the drums. Jackson Browne plays the guitar like a true rock star. Their friendship helps make the song what it is. If they didn’t get along, the song wouldn’t work. Here is a fun fact. Actress Darryl Hannah was dating Jackson Browne when this song was recorded. She appears in the song as a background singer.
# 9 – It’s Not Hard to Love You – Al Jarreau
The next song on our Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Songs list is “It’s Not Hard to Love You” by Al Jarreau. The son appears on his album Heaven and Earth. The song has an r&b and jazz beat. The emotional song is about the way a man feels about the woman he loves. He dreams about her and can’t wait to be with her. He wants to make love to her all night. He talks about how easy it is to love her. He tells the woman that no other man will love her the way he does. There isn’t a woman who wouldn’t want to hear a song like this about them. If you want to put a smile on your woman’s face, you should play this track for her. She will be smiling from ear to ear.
Narada Michael Walden has a talent for writing beautiful and romantic music. He knows what it will take to make a woman smile. The romantic lyrics will melt hearts of stone. The words are designed to put any woman in a romantic mood. His words with Al Jarreau’s voice were a perfect combination. The music is reminiscent of the tracks he’s written for Mariah Carey as well as other artists. You may be wondering where you’ve heard that melody before. Narada Michael Walden did a terrific job with the production on the track. He arranged the music so that it would be soft and romantic. Al Jarreau pours his heart out and he’s allowed to shine on the track. His signature scatting appears on the song. Narada Michael Walden and Al Jarreau are just what the doctor ordered for a brilliant love song.
# 8 – True Love – Elton John and KiKi Dee
The romantic song is from Elton John’s album Duets. The song has a soft rock beat. The stirring song is about a couple who are in love. They want to give each other true love. They inform each other that they have guardian angels for life. They promise to love each other forever. Everyone wants to be loved the way they talk about it in the song. We all want to have “true love.” The song is a cover song. Bing Crosby and Grace Kelly also recorded this song for their movie High Society. This track would make an excellent wedding song.
“True Love” reunites Elton John and Kiki Dee. They worked together on the single “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and they recorded this track together. Narada Michael Walden did a masterful job on the production of the song. The music has his stamp on it. It has a soft rock sound mixed with pop music. The track sounds like something that would be played in a movie. The music is pretty and might put a smile on your face. The song might make you think of your own true love. Elton John and Kiki Dee make magic happen again. They sound like no time has gone by between them. They work well together and allow each other to shine.
# 7 – So Far, So Good – Sheena Easton
The idealistic song is by Sheena Easton and it from the About Last Night Soundtrack. The song has a dance pop and synth beat. The charming song is about a woman being happy with how her relationship is going so far. Everything is working out in their relationship. She’s not sure if it’s love, but it’s close enough for now. The song tells you that’s it’s okay to take a leap of faith on love. She is happy that things are moving along great. The song fits for the movie and it can fit for the listeners too. You don’t have to watch the movie to relate to the lyrics.
Narada Michael Walden produced a fun 80s track. The beat is catchy and will get you out of your seat. The melody starts off like Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know.” The song has the same rhythm and tune to it. The beat is classic without sounding dated. Narada Michael Walden is a genius on the drums. He could teach lessons on how to play the drums. It’s one of the best parts of the instrumentation. There is a saxophone solo that will blow your mind. The song is fun to dance to and have fun with it. Sheena Easton’s perky vocals make the song pop. Her voice is pretty and powerful. She performs runs throughout the song. She hits every note effortlessly. Narada Michael Walden knows how to produce a song to allow the singers to shine brightly.
# 6 – Freeway of Love – Aretha Franklin
The metaphoric song by Aretha Franklin appears on her album Who’s Zoomin’ Who? The song has a pop, r&b and soul beat. The breezy song is about riding around in a pink Cadillac. She’s going on a ride with someone on a beautiful day. You’re going out and you have all day and night to get there. This is the type of jam you listen to when you are taking a road trip with friends or someone you love. A lot of things can happen when you are on the road trip. She goes into detail about what she does on the road trip.
Narada Michael Walden has worked with a lot of divas throughout his career. Aretha Franklin is at the top of the list of divas. He wrote this fun jam, and she was an excellent choice for the song. She was known for her soul music. In fact, she’s the Queen of Soul so he took a chance giving her a dance and pop song. They worked well together on this track. He wrote a fun song for her to sing, and she proved she could handle anything and do it with class. The track is a mixture of his other hits throughout the song. You can hear bits and pieces of his hits on this track. It will be fun trying to figure out which songs he was thinking of when he created this banger. He also arranged the song to have a Motown vibe. “Freeway of Love” helped revive her career. The song gave her a chance to be popular again.
# 5 – How Can I Ease the Pain – Lisa Fischer
The next song on our Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Songs list is “How Can I Ease the Pain” by Lisa Fischer. The song appears on Lisa Fischer’s album So Intense. The song has an r&b and soul sound. The sorrowful song is about a woman who falls in love with a womanizer. He uses people to get what he wants. She’s afraid that he’ll never stop coming to see her and she’s also afraid she won’t be able to turn him down. She won’t be able to resist him for long. She knows he’s wrong for her, but she can’t stay away from him. He is like her forbidden fruit. She feels she can’t get over him if he won’t stay away from her. She questions how she can ease the pain in her heart if he won’t leave her.
Lisa Fischer and Narada Michael Walden wrote a song that will make you think. If you have been there, you will be nodding your head in agreement as she recites the lyrics. There aren’t enough words to express how captivating this song is. He brought the best out of Lisa Fischer. She can really sing. She was known as a background singer, but she proved she was ready for the lead role. She put her heart and soul in this song. She shouldn’t have just been a background singer. She hits complicated notes that other divas probably wouldn’t dare attempt to do. They should work on more songs together because they make a great team.
# 4 – I Love Your Smile – Shanice Wilson
The affectionate song was recorded by Shanice Wilson and appears on her album Inner Child. The song has r&b, pop, New Jack Swing and dance beat. The flirty song is about a girl who has a crush on a guy from school. She loves his smile and wants to be with him. She wants to be his girlfriend. She would do anything to be with him. She wants to look good for him. The song was meant for kids, but adults were able to relate to it too. The song has a sweet take on love. It displays an innocence of love.
Narada Michael Walden helped write the perfect song for the child star. Shanice Wilson had a wholesome image and this song fit in with it. If you are a fan of the singer, you know this song as soon as you hear the scatting. The song has a laid-back dance beat. Narada Michael Walden is on the drums for this track. Brandford Marsalis plays the saxophone on this track. He is a genius, and that solo makes the song stand out. You will be impressed with his talent. Shanice Wilson was a teenager when she recorded this track, but she sounds like a seasoned singer. She belts towards the end of the song as if she were trying to turn it into a power ballad. Shanice Wilson and Narada Michael Walden wrote a brilliant song.
# 3 – Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now – Starship
The enthusiastic song is recorded by Starship. The song appears on the Mannequin Soundtrack as well as their album No Protection. The song has a soft rock sound. The heartwarming song is about a couple who want to be together no matter what happens. They will stay together even when the world is done. They will still have each other. The track is basically about love overcoming obstacles. They will do their best to stand strong forever. The couple is determined to make their relationship work no matter what. They refuse to let anyone and anything get in the way of them being together.
The track is featured on the Mannequin Soundtrack, but you don’t have to know the movie to know the song. The lyrics will resonate with anyone who is in love. The song expresses how it feels to love someone without it sounding cheesy or corny. Narada Michael Walden’s production is on point for this track. He made this a dramatic song with sweeping vocals. He arranged the song so Grace Slick would be the one singing lead. He gave her the high sections to sing on the song. He made the right choice because she belted in the song. She is the standout vocalist on the track. Narada Michael Walden made the choice for her to sing in the song and it paid off. She was in the band for years and she wasn’t being utilized the way she was on this song. The movie may be forgotten, but this jam will be around forever. The song peaked at number one on the Hot 100 charts and we’re not surprised by that at all.
# 2 – How Will I Know – Whitney Houston
The questionable song is recorded by Whitney Houston from her eponymous album. The song has a funk, dance, r&b and pop beat. The innocent song is about a woman questioning whether a guy likes her. She wants to know if he will ever love her. She used to pray that he would want to be with her. She wasn’t sure how he felt about her. She was too shy to approach him about her feelings. She hoped he would know how she felt and fall in love with her. She questions how she will know if he loves her. If you have fallen in love for the first time, you might be nervous the way the narrator is on this track.
“How Will I Know” helped launch Whitney Houston’s career. She was on a roll with the hits from her debut album. Narada Michael Walden almost lost out on the chance to work with the pop diva. He was working on Aretha Franklin’s album and was afraid he didn’t have time to work with Whitney Houston. He was able to handle his schedule so he was able to write this song for her. Narada Michael Walden is at home writing lyrics about falling in love. He knew the right words to say to express how it feels to wonder if someone is in love with you. He did an incredible job on the production.
The song has melodies similar to Sheena Easton’s “So Far, So Good” and Jermaine Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off.” “How Will I Know” was recorded first, but this song can be heard in those songs. Narada Michael Walden and Whitney Houston worked so well together. They went on to work together on a couple of albums.
# 1 – Vision of Love – Mariah Carey
The number one song on our Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Songs list is “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey. The song appears on her eponymous album. The song has pop, r&b and soul beat. The uplifting song is about loving yourself. She believed that she would always succeed despite obstacles. The “vision of love” is what happened when her dreams became a reality. She learned to love herself when others didn’t want to be there for her. She had to deal with alienation from people so she looked to herself to make her life he way she wanted it to be.
“Vision of Love” is the track that introduced the world to the power diva Mariah Carey. She is one of the divas that Narada Michael Walden worked with throughout his career. He knows what to do to bring out the best in people. He knows how to help the divas shine brightly. This song was no exception to the rule. They were a dynamic duo because they struck gold on this song. He did a phenomenal arrangement of this song. The music is flawless. The instrumentation will touch your heart. It will make you feel emotional as you listen to her sing. The music was a great accompaniment to her vocals. Mariah Carey sounds amazing on this track. She does everything right vocally. She shows the world why she’s one of the power divas. She’s one of the queens of the whistle register. She showed it off to the world for the first time on this track. This song became her first number one track.
Feature Photo: Craig ONeal, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Top 10 Narada Michael Walden Produced Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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Well rounded top ten contemporary songs by prolific producer Narada Michael Walden. I’d like to add his self-produced song,I Shoulda Loved You, an R&B favorite from the 80s. Thanks for sharing some of Walden’s most remembered hits!