Download Instrumental There’s a certain vocal styling I just hate. I call it the “Aaron Neville Slide”. Neville started this foolishness in 1966 with this song – “Tell It Like It Is”. You know what I’m talking about. The singer ends a phrase and then slips and slides all over the final note until you don’t even know what the note was. Drives me crazy. That style ended after a few years, but then Whitney Houston brought it back with a vengeance and it never went away. Just listen to someone sing the National Anthem. They can’t help themselves. Drives me crazy (I already said that, I know).
They call them “vocal runs”. I call them “irritating beyond belief”. Just stop it! It’s not necessary! End the phrase with a nice strong note that speaks for itself (a little vibrato would be nice). I love this song – but NOT the Aaron Neville original. I stumbled across a version by Don Johnson (yes, the Miami Vice guy – who knew?) and he doesn’t do all the vocal theatrics that have become so ridiculously popular. He sings it straight and pure – the way any song should be done.
I used Johnson’s version as a guide and came close – with no real cigar. I liked his arrangement mostly because of the sexy saxophone licks (that was fun to do). I did, however, leave plenty of room at the end for all you singers who just insist on doing the “Aaron Neville Slide”. But, please… just don’t.