John Legend (real name: John Stephens) has clearly found his niche. He has a sound and style that are uniquely his (I love his expressive voice) and his new album, “Love in the Future,” clearly shows him in fine form.

This rather long awaited album is a must for his large and loyal following.

However, when artists primarily, or exclusively, record songs they wrote, there is the possibility of “sameness” sometimes creeping in. The music can be too predictable, at least for some of us. Two other artists who come to mind in that respect are Prince and Kem.

This is not to be considered a putdown of John Legend or his latest offering. Just something for him, and others, to ponder.

THE MARVIN GAYE “Got To Give It Up” controversy notwithstanding, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke continues to be my favorite song. True, he crosses some “lines” with regard to good taste, but the song is exciting and almost hypnotic. One day I listened to it five times in a row.

I also just purchased Thicke’s “Blu­rred Lines” album. It’s very good — not a dud to be found anywhere — but this guy seems to be obsessed with songs about sex. He is always singing about the pleasures of the flesh. One would assume that he and his wife, Black actress Paula Patton, are very active.

DUKE FAKIR, the last remaining member of the legendary Four Tops, sure is healthy looking for a man his age. He is 78 and will be 79 in December. He currently sings with Ronnie McNeir, Lawrence Payton Jr. (son of fellow original member Lawrence Payton) and Spike Bonhart, but has said he will retire when he reaches 80.

That would probably be a good idea because the Four Tops consisting entirely of replacements just doesn’t seem right.

By the way, the Four Tops recorded an album with the great Norman Whitfield producing, but there has been an inability to get a record company to release it, but Fakir is not giving up.

PHARRELL WILLIAMS, often just identified as Pharrell, is certainly a man of many talents — record producer, songwriter, rapper, singer, fashion designer, dancer. In one capacity or another he has been affiliated with many artists, in addition to making his own records.

One thing that is nearly impossible to believe is that Pharrell is 40 years old! He looks 17.

SHONDA RHIMES, director-producer and creator of the phenomenally successful TV series “Scandal,” takes issue with those who say the show promotes immorality.

“We’re not making adultery acceptable,” she said. “We’re telling the story of these two characters (‘professional fixer’ Olivia Pope portrayed by Kerry Washington and the president of the United States, Fitzgerald Grant, played by Tony Goldwyn) who very specifically have this kind of relationship. We’re not giving a judgment on it one way or the other.”

There are those who would beg to differ, but that’s life.

Joshua Ledet, top three finalist from season 11 of “American Idol,” has a top-quality heartbreak song oddly titled “Here to Die” that he is trying to get a label deal for. The title is kind of disconcerting, but it’s about the end of a relationship, not about a man actually wanting to depart this earth.

Justin Timberlake, megastar singer and actor, surprised the media and everyone else when he said recently that he would love to play the Riddler in a “Batman” movie. The idea of portraying a “sociopath” intrigues Timberlake.

People often talk about legendary screen star Elizabeth Taylor having been married eight times, but the great jazz, blues and pop songstress Dinah Washington was right up there with her. She was married seven times!

Love this Tina Turner quote: “My legacy is a person who strived for something better and got it.”

BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW…that when Mo­town changed the Supremes’ name to Diana Ross & the Supremes, Berry Gordy decided to automatically change Martha & the Vandellas to Martha Reeves & the Vandellas because he was sure Reeves would start complaining and he didn’t want to hear it.

MEMORIES: “Don’t Walk Away” (Jade), “Real Love” (Mary J. Blige), “Fight the Power” (the Isley Brothers), “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head” (Jean Carn), “Mighty Love” (the Spinners), “Slip Away” (Clarence Carter), “Careless Whisper” (Wham! featuring George Michael), “Flash Light” (Parliament), “I Feel Good All Over” (Stephanie Mills), “I Wanna Get Next to You” (Rose Royce).

BLESSINGS to Roderick Hairston, Carol Smith Dixon, Ken Coleman, Kim Trent Coleman, Ron Stevenson, Dan Aldridge, Mary Evans, Sylvia Quarles, Montez Miller, John Mason and Aaron Riser.

WORDS OF THE WEEK, from reader Greg Hendricks: “It is a travesty to deny or alter who you are in an attempt to appease people who don’t care about you anyway.”

Let the music play!

Steve Holsey can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and PO Box 02843, Detroit, MI 48202.

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