A Black, Gay Music Critic’s 100 Favorite Singles

Last week I shared my 50 favorite albums in response to Rolling Stone’s list of “500 Greatest Albums.” This week, I decided to compile my 100 Favorite Singles based on 50+ Black, gay years of listening to music and more than two decades of writing about it. (Check tha resume.)

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One caveat: I only included singles that were available on Spotify, so Aaliyah and some of my most beloved club divas (Vikki Love, Kechia Jenkins, Chanelle, etc…) are missing. Nevertheless, this list represents my personal — sometimes painful, often joyous — journey through life as represented by the songs I love. [Spotify playlist]

CRAIG SEYMOUR’S TOP 100 SINGLES

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  1. “Ain’t Nobody” — Rufus and Chaka Khan

2. “Be Happy” — Mary J. Blige

3. “The Pleasure Principle” — Janet Jackson

4. “Can’t Knock The Hustle” — Jay-Z with Mary J. Blige

5. “Come and Talk To Me (Hip-Hop Remix)” — Jodeci

6. “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)” — Soul II Soul ft. Caron Wheeler

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7. “There’ll Never Be” — Switch

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8. “Angel” — Aretha Franklin

9. “Can We Talk” — Tevin Campbell

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10. “Unbelievable” — The Notorious B.I.G.

11. “Mountains” — Prince and the Revolution

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12. “Wait For Love” — Luther Vandross

[Bonus: Faith Evan’s lovely — yet poorly recorded — live, cover of “Wait For Love”]

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13. “You Brought the Sunshine” — The Clark Sisters

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14. “Over And Over (12” Version)” — Sylvester

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15. “What Can I Do For You?” — Labelle

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16. “Make Yours a Happy Home” — Gladys Knight & The Pips

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17. “Baby, I’m for Real” — Esther Phillips

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18. “Baby Be Mine (Live)” — Miki Howard

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19. “Time Will Reveal (Extended Version)” — DeBarge

20. “I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)” — Hi-Five

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21. “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” — Barbara Lynn

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22. “Weak (Bam Jams Jeep Mix)” — SWV

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23. “Hypnotized” — Linda Jones

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24. “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” — Cissy Houston

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25. “The Healer” — Erykah Badu

26. “Ex-Factor” — Ms. Lauryn Hill

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27. “The Boss (12” Remix)” — Diana Ross

28. “The Roof (Back In Time)” — Mariah Carey

29. “Needed Me” — Rihanna

30. “Got ‘Till It’s Gone” — Janet Jackson ft. Q-Tip

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31. “Baltimore” — Nina Simone

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32. “God Is Amazing” — Deniece Williams

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33. “The Glow of Love (Long Version)” — Change ft. Luther Vandross

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34. “Young Love’” — Teena Marie

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35. “Thinking of You” — Sister Sledge

36. “I Want Your Love”- CHIC

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37. “When Love Calls” — Atlantic Starr

38. “Funkin’ for Jamaica” — Tom Browne

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39. “Flowers” — The Emotions

40. “Something In The Way (You Make Me Feel)” — Stephanie Mills

41. “Friends (Extended Version)” — Jody Watley ft. Eric B. & Rakim

42. “In My Songs” — Gerald Levert

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43. “The Sweeter He Is — Pt. 1&2” — The Soul Children

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44. “Was That All It Was (12” Version)” — Jean Carn

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45. “You Used To Hold Me So Tight” — Thelma Houston

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46. “It’s Alright” — Sterling Void

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47. “This Is for the Lover in You” — Shalamar

48. “So Gone” — Monica

49. “Heaven Knows” — Lalah Hathaway

50. “Bitch Better Have My Money” — Rihanna

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51. “Next Lifetime (Live at the Jazz Cafe, London)” — Erykah Badu

52. “Lady (Just The Beat Mix)” — D’Angelo ft. AZ

53. “Full Moon” — Brandy

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54. “Just Us” — Two Tons Of Fun

55. “Promised Land” — Joe Smooth

56. “That’s The Way Love Goes” — Janet Jackson

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57. “Love Light In Flight (12” Mix)” — Stevie Wonder

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58. “Always Be My Baby (Grove A Pella)” — Mariah Carey

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59. “Saturday Night, Sunday Morning” — Thelma Houston

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60. “Jump to the Beat” — Stacy Lattisaw

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61. “When You Get Right Down to It” — Ronnie Dyson

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62. “The Fruit Song” — Jeannie Reynolds

63. “No Time” — Lil’ Kim

64. “Inside Out (12” Version)” — Odyssey

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65. “Touch and Go (12” Version)” — Ecstasy, Passion & Pain

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66. “Buffalo Stance (Arthur Baker’s ½ Way 2 House Mix)” — Neneh Cherry

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67. “Cold World (RZA Mix)” — GZA ft. D’Angelo

68. “Steelo” — 702

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69. “Always” — Pebbles

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70. “If You Should Ever Be Lonely” — Val Young

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71. “Misdemeanor” — Foster Sylvers

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72. “You Know How To Love Me” — Phyllis Hyman

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73. “I Was Born This Way (12” Vocal)” — Carl Bean

74. “Good Beat (Extend the Beat Mix)” — Deee-Lite

75. “Don’t Look Any Further” — Dennis Edwards ft. Siedah Garrett

76. “Superficial People” — Ten City

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77. “Baby Love” — Mother’s Finest

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78. “You’re Gonna Need Me” — Dionne Warwicke

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79. “Reasons (12” Version)” — Minnie Riperton

80. “Soon as I Get Home” — Faith Evans

81. “One Woman Man” — Dave Hollister

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82. “The Agony and The Ecstasy” — Smokey Robinson

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83. “Theme From Which Way Is Up” — Stargard

84. “Muscles (12” Version)” — Diana Ross

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85. “Can’t Get Enough” — Liz Torres ft. Master C & J

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86. “Anger (Extended Mix)” — Marvin Gaye

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87. “Rejoicing (Deee-Liteful Stomp Mix)” — Ultra Naté

88. “Day To Day” — Evelyn “Champagne” King

89. “There Goes My Baby” — Donna Summer

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90. “This Time (The Bomb Mix)” — Chanté Moore

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91. “Feelin’ Lucky Lately” — High Fashion

92. “High Energy” — The Supremes

93. “I Like” — Kut Klose

94. “Flawless (Remix)” — Beyoncé ft. Nicki Minaj

95. “I’m On Your Side” — Jennifer Holliday

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96. “Crush” — Grace Jones

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97. “Change The Beat” — BeSide ft. Fab 5 Freddy

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98. “Thinking About You (Bruce Forest Dub Version)” — Whitney Houston

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99. “Yu-Ma/Go Away Little Boy” — Marlena Shaw

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100. “High Noon (Part 2)” — Two Sisters

Thanks for taking this musical ride with me. If you’d like to check out more of my work, you can go to RandBeing.com; read my biography, Luther: The Life & Longing of Luther Vandross and my memoir, All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.; follow me on Twitter; and sign up for my weekly music newsletter.

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