How Dusty Springfield Made Adele Possible
Son of a Preacher Man did them all one better by being sultry enough to make Bonnie Raitt a fan yet bombastic enough to send young listeners digging through mom and dad's crates for Motown records and anything backed by a wall of sound. All the charts had to do was wait for the emulators to take the mic.
Fiona Apple dropped her debut album Tidal two years later in 1996 and needed only one torchy piano-laden single -- Shadowboxer -- to give the world a peek at what was coming down the pike and just one string of lines to foreshadow the success of an artist such as Adele:
"Once my lover, now my friend/what a cruel thing to pretend/what a cunning way to condescend/once my lover ... now my friend."
Another couple that could have had it all. Another wounded heart bleeding into a lyric sheet. Another soul laid bare. Apple made it clear that her brand of blue-eyed soul emphasized the blue and the spurned lover of the album's opening track Sleep To Dream ("I tell you how I feel but you don't care/I say tell me the truth but you don't dare") punched that point home. It wasn't until Apple appeared in her underwear in a drunken-afterparty-themed video for the lamenting single Criminal that she and her sound went mainstream.
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