Classic Tracks: "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)"

Recording JT's version of the Motown hit

How sweet it is! The James Taylor track of that name with Carly Simon vocals and a David Sanborn sax solo went to Number 5 on the Billboard 100 in 1975, dominating radio and adding a sweet voice to the din of the turbulent mid-1970s.

The Russ Titelman/Lenny Waronker production of “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” became the most successful version of the Holland-Dozier composition, originally recorded by Marvin Gaye in 1964.

Titelman and Waronker produced about 15 projects together, and speaking of their teamwork, Waronker says, “When you’re working with somebody, you have to have the same aesthetic. Russ and I had been really close for years. I had ultimately convinced him to come work for Warner’s. He wasn’t sure he wanted to work for a big company, but it worked out really well. I think we had the same taste for the most part.”

Waronker adds that their mutual knowledge about songs allowed them to bounce off of one another well, and Titelman’s temperament balanced his personality perfectly. When Waronker got negative, Titelman calmed him down.

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