Song of the Day: Minnie Riperton, “Lovin’ You” (1974)

“Lovin’ You” is the signature song of Minnie Riperton and a highlight Motown tune. Riperton’s music career had started as a receptionist for Chess Records. However, her magnificent talents and her well-documented four-octave coloratura soprano range gave rise to her star shortly thereafter.

She wrote “Lovin’ You” with her husband, producer Richard Rudolph. Although over the years, it has become a lovers’ anthem, the music was originally intended as a lullaby for their daughter Maya, who can be heard singing at the end of some unedited versions. Stevie Wonder, who produced the track and the 1974 album Perfect Angel on which it appeared, plays keyboard backing.

The sound of chirping birds completes the picture of perfect bliss, as Riperton sings about the anticipation of growing old with a loved one. This part of the lyrics is particularly bittersweet: Riperton would sadly be dead just four years after the release of “Lovin’ You,” aged 32, from breast cancer. Over 500 people were reported to have attended her funeral and it is said she died listening to a tape of music Wonder had recorded for her and in the arms of her husband.

“No one else can make me feel the colors that you bring / Stay with me while we grow old, and we will live each day in springtime.”

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