Liner Notes – Luther Ingram

Luther Ingram

Before the recording industry gave us the great Luther Vandross, there was another famous Luther. Born November 30, 1944, Luther Ingram sang one of the 70’s most memorable R&B songs.

When us Baby Boomers complain of the explicit, profane and even vulgar lyrics by far too many recording artists today, if the kids really knew their music history, they could hurl Luther Ingram’s hit, If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right), right back in our faces.  These “suggestive” lyrics were not so suggestive; they spelled out a story about an un-repenting, illicit affair with a married woman who had two little children.  However, I promise you, because Luther’s voice was so smooth and emotional with such beautiful music and melody, as a teenager I totally accepted it as a sexy love song; never once thinking of the moral implications.  I also overlooked his exotic look with heavy makeup and drawn on eyebrows.

Luther Ingram recorded on Koko Records, an independent label distributed by Stax (label of Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Rufus and Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Albert King, Bar-Kays and Staple Singers).  His significant music accomplishments span the years 1969 through 1972.  His first break came in 1969 with Top 20 hit,  My Honey And Me, a song he wrote with John L. McFarland.  Ain’t That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) almost reached the Top 40 in 1970.  This song was covered in years to follow by Johnnie Taylor, Lou Rawls, Isaac Hayes & David Porter (an uptempo rocking version) and Reggae Dub versions by Alton Ellis & U Roy, Earth & Stone and Dennis Brown.  In ’71 he co-wrote Respect Yourself for the Staple Singers with Mack Rice.  Then Luther’s last big contribution, in fact his biggest contribution came in 1972 with over a million sales and reaching number 3 on the Pop Charts with his classic,  If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right). He returned to the Top 40 one more time with I’ll Be Your Shelter (In Time of Storm) and recorded off and on until 1992.  Struggling with kidney disease and diabetes for years, Luther Ingram passed away of heart failure on March 19, 2007.

Enjoy this live video performance of, If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right), from the famous 1972 Wattstax concert in the Los Angeles Coliseum.