Kenny Rankin had the voice and the guitar prowess that made him such an elegant and sophisticated singer, session musician and songwriter. His crossover jazz style interpretation of standards music brought a fresher perspective to some of the Beatles‘ songs as well as covers of artists such as Stephen Bishop, The Rascals and even Curtis Mayfield.
He was such an underrated singer but his contemporaries acknowledged his silent genius. His music exudes a kind of purity without the trappings of indulgent musical affectations. His music comes out fresh, unblemished from commercial pretensions – it then elevates to an art.
He was a favorite musician of Johnny Carson and performed at The Tonight Showfor more than 20 times. He was beloved by the Beatles that John Lennon asked him to play his version of Blackbird when Lennon & Paul McCartney were inducted in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His rendition of My Guitar Gently Weeps impressed George Harrison that his family used the cover for George’s funeral service.
Teki has a number of favorite Kenny Rankin songs. What first comes to mind is the track Peaceful (both the original Mind Dusters album and the acoustic version included in his album, Like A Seed. The track would later become a hit for Helen Reddy. Another favorite is the song Regrets from the album, After The Roses. The song speaks to a fervent apology couple with the longing of wanting to recast the past. Teki still believes that Silver Morning is the best KR album to have ever been produced. It’s distinct for the song re-creations of music from the Beatles, as well as the interspersing of original compositions such as Haven’t We Met.