As most of you know I usually write about books, but this is one of my rare forays into music. I have discovered the perfect rock and roll song and a fine live performance of it. It is an old song that has never really gotten the credit it deserves. The song is “You Can’t Change That” by a band called Raydio which was led by Ray Parker Jr. It came out in 1979 and only reached number 9 on the charts, but this is not your typical number 9 song. Here is an excellent video from 1979 on YouTube of Raydio doing this song. You can watch it also by clicking on the picture.
I’ve watched the video and listened to ‘You Can’t Change That’ probably over a hundred times, and I have still not tired of it. It is an exciting lively warm performance that you just want to hear and see over and over.
Early on in the video you see Arnell Carmichael jumping around the stage, and that is indicative of what is to come. The tune starts out with Ray Parker Jr. singing with the rest of the band joining in as needed:
Honey, I’ll always love you
I promise I’ll always love you
‘Cause I think the whole world of you
And you can’t change that, no, no
Parker’s voice is smooth and steady. He is the group leader. But then Arnell Carmichael takes over the vocals moving things to a new dimension of pure energy and bliss:
There’s nothing you can do or say
I thought about this for many a day
And my mind’s made up to feel this way
And you can’t change that
This is a powerful performance by Arnell Carmichael, and he owns this song. Whenever he sings, your ears perk up and take notice. His energy and spirit are contagious, and the whole band is smiling because they know they have nailed it.
Ray Parker Jr. is probably most famous for his Ghostbusters movie theme song (“I ain’t afraid of no ghost”), but ‘You Can’t Change That’ is the one song which captures the spirit of rock and roll more than any other song I know. Thanks especially to Arnell Carmichael for that.