As many soulheads know, “Hotline Bling” samples Timmy Thomas‘ classic tune, “Why Can’t We Live Together” from 1972. Beginning with a haunting, almost ska-like soundbed, the song is a plea for World peace and has been covered by a number of artists including soulful rockers like Joan Osborne and Steve Winwood. However, in our opinion, the best cover to date is by one of our favorite artists, Sade (In case you missed it yesterday, please also peep our celebration of the 30th anniversary of Sade’s amazing Promise LP.). Her 1984 version, which appeared on her debut album Diamond Life, pays homage to the original but certainly adds her characteristic flavor courtesy of her bandmates Stuart Matthewman, Andrew Hale, Paul Denman, Dave Early and Martin Ditcham (the latter two appearing in the 1984 performance below).
Check out both tracks below and let us know whose version you prefer.
Timmy Thomas – “Why Can’t We Live Together” (1972)
Sade – “Why Can’t We Live Together” Live (1984)