The Song Lives On

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The Song Lives On
Studio album by Lalah Hathaway & Joe Sample
Released April 20, 1999
Recorded 1998-1999
Genre Jazz
Length 56:35
Label GRP Records
Producer Joe Sample & Bill Schnee
Lalah Hathaway chronology
A Moment
(1994) A Moment1994
The Song Lives On
(1999) The Song Lives On1999
Outrun The Sky
(2004) Outrun The Sky2004
Joe Sample chronology
Sample This
(1997) Sample This1997
The Song Lives On
(1999) The Song Lives On1999
The Pecan Tree
(2002) The Pecan Tree2002

The Song Lives On is the collaboration album by former Jazz Crusaders member Joe Sample and R&B singer Lalah Hathaway. The album was released on April 20, 1999.


In 1998, Lalah Hathaway and Joe Sample began working on their collaborative album. Hathaway sang most of the lead vocals on such songs as "When Your Life Was Low" and the cover song "Fever", while Sample supplied the instruments like piano.


The jazz influenced album contained mostly slow piano ballads with an extra addition of drums and horns. The songs of album are a little similar to Hathaway previous album A Moment. The track "So They Say" from her previous album, had an influence on the album, which were showcased in the song "When Your Life Was Low". Lalah Hathaway and Joe Sample also covered the song "Fever", which was slightly altered by adding more of the instrument known as the piano. The Song Lives On also contains a cover of The Crusaders' hit "Street Life".

Promotion and release[edit]

The album was bolstered by the single "When Your Life Was Low". After the release of the lead single, the album was released on April 20, 1999. The album debut at No. 196 on the Billboard 200, No. 53 on the Top R&B Albums chart, and No. 2 on the Top Contemporary Jazz Album chart.[1] The second single was the covered song "Fever".

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]

The album received a favorable review from Allmusic stating, "The daughter of the popular late R&B singer Donny, husky voiced Lalah Hathaway is the perfect foil for Joe Sample's compelling notion that The Song Lives On. Finding a happy medium between the graceful straight-ahead jazz trio vibe of his Invitation album and the plucky pop energy of Spellbound, Sample provides Hathaway on seven of the 11 tunes with a showcase for her sultry approach."[3]

Jonathan Widran further went on to say, "On a cover of his Crusaders hit "Street Life," Hathaway turns the title into a mantra and Sample echoes her sentiments with sharp, percussive reiterations of the song's main melody. Then Hathaway stops and Michael Thompson steps in with some edgy electric guitar lines. Other song choices range from reverent takes on standards like "Fever" and "For All We Know" to vocal versions of older, well-known Sample instrumental hits; for example, with Norman Gimbel's cheery lyrics, Hathaway turns the once moody "All God's Children" into a life-affirming love song."[3]

Commercial success[edit]

The Song Lives On went on to become one Lalah Hathaway and Joe Sample's most successful album to chart. In response to the album's success, Hathaway and Sample were honored with Billboard/BET On Jazz Award for "Mainstream Jazz Album".[4]

Track listing[edit]

1."The Song Lives On"Sample5:09
2."Fever"Cooley, Davenport5:40
3."Come Along with Me"Gimbel, Sample5:12
4."Living In Blue"Sample4:45
5."Street Life"Jennings, Sample5:49
6."When Your Life Was Low"Jennings, Sample5:43
7."One Day I'll Fly Away"Jennings, Sample5:40
8."When The World Turns Blue"Jennings, Sample4:29
9."For All We Know"Coots, Lewis5:13
10."Bitter Sweet"Sample3:58
11."A Long Way From Home"Sample4:57
12."It's A Sin To Tell A Lie" (bonus track)  


  • Jay Anderson - Bass
  • Lenny Castro - Percussion
  • David Delhomme - Synthesizer
  • Koji Egawa - Assistant Engineer
  • Lalah Hathaway - Vocals, Performer, Vocal Arrangement
  • Patrick Rains - Management
  • Walfredo Reyes - Drums, Drums (Snare)
  • Joe Sample - Piano, Arranger, Producer, Fender Rhodes, Instrument Arrangement
  • Alan Sanderson - Assistant Engineer
  • Doug Sax - Mastering
  • Bill Schnee - Producer, Engineer, Mixing
  • Steven Silverstein - Photography
  • Michael Thompson - Guitar (Electric)
  • Kirk Whalum - Saxophone


  1. ^ The Song Lives On "Charts & Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved: June 28, 2009.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b The Song Lives On "Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved: June 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Billboard/BET On Jazz Honor Kenny G, Krall. Billboard. Retrieved: June 28, 2009.