Our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs looks at an r&b and jazz singer from the late 70s to early 90s. The late great singer was known for her statuesque appearance and her soulful voice. She had to compete with the likes of Angela Bofil, Jean Carne, Randy Crawford, Thelma Houston, Roberta Flack, Brenda Russell as well as others. She helped pave the way for Quiet Storm radio. Some of her hits include “Don’t Wanna Change the World,” “You Know How to Love Me,” “Can’t We Fall In Love Again?,” “Living All Alone,” “Bet’cha By Golly Wow,” as well as other hits.
Phyllis Hyman was bon July 6, 1949 – June 30, 1995. She received training in music by attending a tour with a group called New Direction. After the band broke up, she joined another group. She was in a movie called Lenny in 1974. She ended up in another band called Phyllis Hyman and the PH Factor. Phyllis Hyman moved to New York and she sang background for a singer named Jon Lucien. She sang background for him and sang in clubs. Her life changed when she met Norman Connors. He wanted her to sing on his album You Are My Starship. The album helped their careers skyrocket. One thing led to another and she was recording her solo music.
She released her eponymous album in 1977. The album peaked at number 49 on the r&b charts and number 107 on the Billboard 200 charts. The album features the singles “No One Can Love You More,” “Loving You-Losing You” and “I Don’t Want to Lose You.” “No One Can Love You More” was the most successful single from this album. Sing a Song came out in 1978. It features the singles “Rainy Day,” “Sing a Song” and “Living Inside Your Love.” You Know How to Love Me came out in 1979. It peaked at number 10 on the r&b charts and number 50 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the single “You Know How to Love Me.”
Can’t We Fall in Love Again? was released 1981. It peaked at number 11 on the r&b charts and number 27 on Billboard 200 charts. It features the single “Can’t We Fall in Love Again?” Goddess of Love came out in 1983. It peaked at number 20 on the r&b charts and number 112 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Goddess of Love” and “Let Somebody Love Me.” Living All Alone was released in 1986. The album peaked at number 11 on the r&b charts and number 78 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Living All Alone,” “Old Friend” and “Slow Dancing.” Prime of My Life came out in 1991. The album peaked at number 10 on the r&b charts and number 117 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the singles “Don’t Wanna Change the World,” “Prime of My Life,” “Walk Away” and “Living In Confusion.” “Don’t Wanna Change the World” would become her only number one single on the r&b charts.
I Refuse to Be Lonely was released in 1995. The album came out five months after Phyllis Hyman passed away. The album peaked at number 12 on the r&b charts and number 66 on the Billboard 200 charts. It features the single “I Refuse to Be Lonely.” Forever with You was released in 1998. The album peaked at number 66 on the r&b charts. It features the singles “Forever with You” and “Someone to Love.”
Phyllis Hyman was a troubled woman, but she never let it interfere with her music. Her voice was golden and beautiful. She had to compete with other divas for radio airplay, but she was able to get it done. She may not have been as popular as her colleagues, but she has left a mark on the music industry. It’s sad to think that this talented woman is no longer with us. She left the world too soon, but her legacy will live on through her music. She has a lot of r&b hits so narrowing this list down was a challenge. Our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs list will feature her best songs.
# 10 – I Refuse To Be Lonely
The first song on our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs list is “I Refuse to Be Lonely” from the album of the same name. The song has an r&b and jazz sound. The uplifting song is about a woman who wants to stand on her own after losing someone she loved. She lets him know that she has a right to stand on her own if he feels he needs to leave. She’s afraid, but she’s going to take the chance and be on her own. She knows that she’s going to get hurt, but she refuses to be lonely. This song helps you overcome loneliness. If you are feeling sad and lonely, this song will give you courage to stand on your own.
Phyllis Hyman tells you that it’s okay to be on your own. You are not lonely just because you don’t have anyone in your life. The music is breathtaking. It sounds like something that you would hear in a movie or in a jazz club. Phyllis Hyman’s vocals are impressive. She sounds angelic on this track. Her beautiful tone will send chills up and down your spine. She turned this song into a power ballad. The song might be difficult to hear because she ended her life because of depression. She’s singing about being strong, but she succumbed to her depression because of loneliness. The song is too beautiful to allow that to stay in your head.
# 9 – Prime of My Life
The next song on our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs list is “Prime of My Life” from the album of the same name. The song has an r&b and jazz sound. The optimistic song is about finding happiness after being disappointed. She grows stronger with each day. She’s been running away from everything until she realizes that she can’t run anymore. She’s not crying anymore. Phyllis Hyman realizes that she’s talented and has a new lease on life. The singer wants to look on the bright side of things. She refuses to hide anymore. She has the confidence to go for what she wants.
If you listen to the song carefully, it will strike a chord in your heart. She’s singing about having confidence, but if you listen closely, you can hear the pain in her voice as she recites the lyrics. Phyllis Hyman deserves credit for being able to sing a song like this knowing the personal demons she was battling behind the scenes. As we mentioned in our previous entry, she was battling depression as well as other demons. Phyllis Hyman remained a professional while she recorded this song. This is a testament to how professional she was because she was able to sell the song. Her voice was masterful. She commands your attention throughout the entire song. She hits every note effortlessly. Phyllis Hyman starts the song softly and then turns it into a power ballad. The only complaint we have is the song ends abruptly. Other than that, song is beautiful.
# 8 – Under Your Spell
The hypnotic song is from the album Can’t We Fall in Love Again. The song has an r&b and post disco sound. The enchanting song is about her falling in love with someone. She feels like she’s under his spell. She can’t deny her feelings for the man she loves. She is helpless to control herself because he’s taken over her heart. She didn’t know that love could make her feel that way. She is happy to be with him. She doesn’t want the spell to be broken. Everyone wants to know how it feels to be in love with someone the way she loves him.
“Under Your Spell” was released during the post-disco era so there’s still a hint of it on this track. The musicians gave the listeners a chance to hear disco mixed with r&b music. The melody of the song is similar to Inner Life’s song “I’m Caught Up (In a One-Night Love Affair).” If you are familiar with Inner Life’s song, you will recognize the similarities as soon as the chorus starts. She sings the chorus similar to the way Inner Life sang their song. The song also sounds similar to Phyllis Hyman’s hit “You Know How to Love Me.” It will be hard to listen to this track and not move along to it. You will be clapping along with the beat as soon as the song starts. Phyllis Hyman’s vocal pitch is rich and smooth. The texture of her voice is exquisite. She sings this song in a higher pitch than she does on her other tracks. She carries a song in a way that no other artist can do.
# 7 – Old Friend
The sentimental song is from the album Living All Alone. The song has an r&b and jazz sound. The longing song is about her welcoming someone back that she missed. She doesn’t care where he’s been. She missed the time they spent together. She’s not going to let pride keep her away from him. She’s going to take him back no matter what happens. She is flooded with memories of her “old friend.” She goes into detail about the things they used to do together. The lyricist didn’t specify that this is about a lover. If you take the romantic elements out, it could have been a song to a friend.
The music has a somber beat to it. The music matches the theme of the track perfectly. If you miss someone, you wouldn’t want it expressed over a bouncy beat so it makes sense that she chose to have a melancholy sound. Phyllis Hyman’s voice is so pretty. Her phrasing is excellent. She enunciates the song very well. She belted at different points in this song. Phyllis Hyman starts the song in her lower register. As the song progresses, she vocally soars. She holds back a little, but she does give us a taste of her belting ability. The music is soft so we don’t expect her to shout throughout the song.
# 6 – Bet’cha By Golly Wow Norman Connors ft. Phyllis Hyman
The yearning song is from Norman Connors album You Are My Starship. The song has a jazz beat. The irresistible song is about a woman who is so in love with someone she can’t articulate how she feels about him. She has trouble putting her thoughts together so she puts a string of words together to express how she feels about the man she loves. The Stylistics made this song popular before she recorded it. She took a risk covering this song because it was successful for the group. She proved that she could be a risk-taker because she took the chance to record the song and it paid off for her. Her version didn’t chart higher than the Stylistics version of it, but she did a great cover of it.
Phyllis Hyman managed to make this song her own. The music and style of the song is different from The Stylistics’ version. She embraced the song and did her own interpretation of it. The music is slowed down on her version of the track. Their version of the song is a soul and r&b track while Phyllis Hyman’s version is a jazz standard. Phyllis Hyman’s version has a somber sound to it. Her voice is breathtaking. She commands the track while she’s talking about the man she loves. There’s no way you can resist her vocals while she is singing. She sounds like an angel in heaven. She has a voice from God. This version may not make you forget about The Stylistics’ version, but this one is just as good as their version.
# 5 – Can’t We Fall in Love Again? ft. Michael Henderson
The next song on our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs list is “Can’t We Fall in Love Again?” from the album of the same name. The song has an r&b beat. The emotional song is about a couple who were once in love, but want to try and get the magic back in their relationship. They want to remember what made them fall in love with each other in the first place. They tell each other that they should get back together and try again. This time they should make a better effort to make things work between them. If you are in a situation where you want to make magic happen in your relationship, this is the song you should listen to. It will give you an idea on how you can make your relationship work once again.
Phyllis Hyman and Michael Henderson’s voices were made to sing together. They have so much chemistry with each other. Their voices are magical. They match each other with each lyric they sing. They sing in time with the beat. The artists give each other room to shine. Michael Henderson has a baritone voice, but he manages to belt in the song. It could have been a disaster, but he was able to help turn this into a power ballad. It’s time to get to the queen. Phyllis Hyman’s vocals were outstanding. She was able to belt throughout the song. She held notes in the song. She was a shining star on this track. They had a battle towards the end. The winners are the listeners because we get to hear them sing so beautifully throughout the song.
# 4 – Living In Confusion
The lovelorn song is from the album Prime of My Life. The song has a jazz and r&b sound. The heart rendering song is about her being let down by her relationship. She’s confused by what he did to her. He played her for a fool and used her constantly. She’s in pain because he hurt her. The singer wished she knew he was going to treat her the way he did. She didn’t believe that he loved her. This is a track that everyone who has been in love can relate to in life. Most of us have had our hearts broken by someone who was supposed to be the one.
This song feels like we took a peek into Phyllis Hyman’s personal diary. She shows her vulnerable side as she talks about the pain she feels from being betrayed. Phyllis Hyman is at her best when she’s singing about betrayal. Phyllis Hyman showcases her different octaves on this track. Her vocals go up and down like an elevator. She shows the listeners how low her voice can get. She will make your jaw drop listening to her beautiful voice. She soars up to the sky with just as much ease as she had when she was in her lower register. The only complaint we have is the length of the song. The song is over seven minutes long, but we do get a chance to listen to her soul-stirring voice.
# 3 – Walk Away
The anthemic song is from the album Prime of My Life. The song has an r&b beat. The uplifting song is about a woman who has been through a lot and she’s had enough. She had to deal with a heartbreaking loss and wanted to “walk away” from him. She made the decision to think of herself first. She wanted to do something for herself. She didn’t want to sit and wait for the man she was supposed to love come back. This is an inspirational song for people who have trouble walking away from bad relationships. This song will teach you that you don’t have to settle for less. It teaches you that you can walk away from a bad situation.
Phyllis Hyman covered Dionne Warwick’s song. She did an excellent cover of the song. She didn’t do a Karaoke version of it. She made the song her own. She did things in her version that Dionne Warwick didn’t do. She had more power in her voice than Dionne Warwick had in her voice when she recorded the song. Dionne Warwick sang the song softly while Phyllis Hyman went for the gold. She belted in this song and we loved it. Phyllis Hyman’s voice is absolutely flawless. She could sing the alphabet and sound beautiful doing it. She has excellent timing because she sings in time with the beat. She holds notes in the song that Dionne Warwick didn’t do in her version.
# 2 – Don’t Wanna Change the World
The celebratory song is from the album “Prime of My Life.” The song has an r&b and New Jack Swing sound. The bouncy song is about a woman who wants to be with a man she likes. She doesn’t want to do anything major like changing the world. She just wants to be his girl. She wants to do whatever it takes to win his heart. She talked about how she spent a lot of time working and not having any fun. Once she saw him, she wanted to win his heart. She wants him to give her a chance. She thinks she has what it takes to be the woman in his life.
This banger gave Phyllis Hyman a chance to do a song with tempo again. This midtempo jam has a New Jack Swing sound to it. She hadn’t recorded a song with this much tempo since she recorded “You Know How To Love Me.” She is a master at singing touching and heartwarming ballads. She showed the listeners that she could sing a dance song. The gamble she took paid off because the song went to become a number one hit for the singer. It’s ironic that her heartbreaking songs are where she’s the most comfortable, but her highest charting song was a positive song about love. Phyllis Hyman sounded good on this song. She makes you believe that she wants to be with the man in the song. She manages to hit some high notes in the song. She doesn’t reach for the stars the way she does in ballads, but she gives this song her all. She sounds like she’s having fun on the track.
# 1 – You Know How to Love Me
The number one song on our Top 10 Phyllis Hyman Songs list is “You Know How to Love Me” from the album of the same name. The song has a disco beat. The loving song is about a woman who is in love. She tells her man that he knows how to love her. She wants to stay with him because he knows how to treat her right. She believed that she and her man would be together for life. Phyllis Hyman talks about how her man makes her happy despite what people say about them. She said he was a dream come true for her.
The music is fantastic. It captures the disco era perfectly. It has a little bit of funk mixed in it too. This song is perfect to hear when you want to get up and dance. The song was recorded in the late 70s, but it can still get the party started. The song might not be in Phyllis Hyman’s wheelhouse, but she owned it. She sang this song as if she wrote it. Her voice is phenomenal. There aren’t enough words to express how great her voice is on this track. She sings the song in time with the beat. If you thought she wasn’t going to belt because the song isn’t a ballad, you would be wrong. Here is some trivia about the song. Phyllis Hyman wanted to become a mainstream artist, but her label wanted her to do another dance song. She was ready to leave her label when she recorded this track. She was a team player and recorded the song. You would never know that she had issues recording this song because she remained professional.
Feature Photo: (C) John Mathew Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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