Donny Hathaway: Jealous Guy

This live Donny Hathaway cover of Jealous Guy – from John Lennon’s Imagine – is so fantastic I don’t even quite know how to put it without sounding like a total weirdo. It’s important that this is listened to at full-volume on quality speakers or headphones; tinny computer speakers are completely unacceptable. (I’ll note that listening to any music on computer speakers is just a travesty that should be avoided at all costs. When faced with no music or computer speakers, silence is always the more noble choice.)

This performance is incredible. The way the band hovers over the beat measure-to-measure is astonishing. Put simply, the music breathes. As though every snare, every note is falling from on high, in perfect unison. There is a huge amount of space, and the rhythm section is locked so deep there’s no escaping. It’s some dirty-ass swamp funk. And the guitar and rhodes licks are sparing, filling the space just so. There are no wasted notes.

But the real winner is the way Hathaway delivers Lennon’s lyrics. It is something to be witnessed. Listen to the way he comes into the second verse, and then listen to it again. Good gracious. That is a man with conviction.

He was feeling insecure – you might not want him anymore! He was shivering inside! He was really shivering inside! He didn’t mean to hurt you! He’s sorry he made you cry! He didn’t want to hurt you, no he didn’t! He’s just a jealous guy!

This guy is basically falling to fucking pieces on stage, and by god we’re lucky to witness it.


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