Before singer/songwriter Carly Simon attempted to fully embrace the excess of the ’80s with a misguided stab at New Wave, she released this single in 1982 from the soundtrack of the forgotten flick “Soup For One.”Â While it made nary a peep on the pop charts in America, it’s still fondly remembered as a dance floor classic, as well as a U.K. Top Ten hit.
“Why” (download) was written and produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards as Chic and came at a time when both Chic’s and Simon’s careers had cooled a bit.Â A laid back (is that redundant) reggae shuffle set to an after-hours disco beat, “Why” was certainly a departure for Simon, more noted for strummy guitar-based meditations than morning music vibes.Â While her normal fanbase and Top 40 radio steered clear, the Chic cachet made it a huge hit in club land, becoming a standard in many post 1 a.m. DJ sets, especially with the slightly sped up and more percussive extended version (download) (which is damn hard to track down, you’rewelcomeverymuch).
Besides the killer groove, “Why” also boasts an excellent vocal from Simon, as her voice wavers between angry and resigned, asking repeatedly, “Why does your love hurt so much?” I’ve always said the best dance music comes from loss and pain, not happiness and joy, and this nearly forgotten, tucked away little gem proves that point.
Simon must have some affection for the single, since it made both her Anthology box set and the Clouds In My Coffee collection.Â “Why” has also been remixed, re-released and remade a few times since its original release, as well as sampled by A Tribe Named Quest for their ’90s hit, “Bonita Applebum.”
“Why” peaked at #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.
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