Songs We Mistakingly Thought Were Sung By Black People

Songs We Mistakingly Thought Were Sung By Black People

Still heartbroken over the death of beloved Bobby Caldwell? Well, here are other excellent blue-eyed soul singers you need to know.

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Photo : Ethan Miller/BET // Vinnie Zuffante/Michael Ochs Archives ( Getty Images )

Fam, we still are struggling with the death of our favorite Blue-eyed soul singer, the great Bobby Caldwell. Read this story I recently wrote about how one of his songs inspired the rapper Common’s greatest hit. Every so often, we will hear a song we swear was sung by a Black person, and not just any Black person but a real “sanging” sistah or brother. That is until you see the white singer blowing their heart out on Youtube. And all you can do is smile. The late Bobby Caldwell is the perfect example but there’s many more. Here’s great songs we ...well... I thought were sung by Black folk.

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2 / 19

Bobby Caldwell - “What You Won’t Do For Love”

Bobby Caldwell - “What You Won’t Do For Love”

Bobby Caldwell - What You Won’t Do for Love

We have to start with the king. When Bobby Caldwell broke into the music scene with his 1978 single, “ What You Won’t Do For Love ,” many people thought he was Black. But not only because of his husky soulful voice but the label he was signed to, TK Records. An R&B label, popular among the Black listeners, TK wanted to hide Caldwell’s race and did not show his face on his self-titled debut album. Fans did not discover he was white until he went on tour with Natalie Cole to promote his album.

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3 / 19

Bobby Caldwell - “Open Your Eyes”

Bobby Caldwell - “Open Your Eyes”

Open Your Eyes

When this song came out in 1980, people already knew Bobby was clearly a White man. But for young people who are hearing the songs decades later, I can’t imagine them guessing it’s anyone other than a Black man.

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4 / 19

Lisa Stanfield - “All Around The World”

Lisa Stanfield - “All Around The World”

Lisa Stansfield - All Around the World

All these years later, new fans of this soulful tune are shocked to know the great songstress is a white woman from England.

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5 / 19

Michael McDonald - “I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You’re Near)”

Michael McDonald - “I Keep Forgettin (Every Time You’re Near)”

Michael McDonald - I Keep Forgettin’ (Every Time You’re Near) (Official Music Video)

The first time I heard this song, I thought it was a voiceover. There’s no way that voice belongs to that white man. Just look at this video reaction to this song by these young Black men and you’ll understand how I looked when I heard it.

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6 / 19

Daryl Hall & John Oates - “I Can’t Go For That”

Daryl Hall & John Oates - “I Can’t Go For That”

Daryl Hall & John Oates - I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) (Official Video)

Watching this music video, I can’t believe I thought this was a group full of Black men. Turns out, the famous two singers are white. But, you have to admit, this song right here is a bop.

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7 / 19

Jon B. - “They Don’t Know”

Jon B. - “They Don’t Know”

Jon B. - They Don’t Know (Official Video)

Before Justin Timberlake, there was Jon B. This man is clearly white, but just check out the haircut and the woman in the above music video and you would’ve thought this man was Black in another lifetime.

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8 / 19

Teena Marie & Rick James - “Fire and Desire”

Teena Marie & Rick James - “Fire and Desire”

Fire And Desire

Rick James is a legend; nobody is questioning if he’s Black or not. But the soulful singing skills of his former white girlfriend/ singing cohort, the great Teena Marie, who’s featured on this track, might surprise some young people. But do know that Teena was beloved by millions of African Americans. When I first heard this song though, I thought there was no way.

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9 / 19

Teena Marie - “Square Biz”

Teena Marie - “Square Biz”

Teena Marie - Square Biz - 1981 pop music video

Everything about this performance is Black, except the woman singing. The backup singers, the band, everything.

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10 / 19

KC & The Sunshine Band - “That’s The Way (I Like It)”

KC & The Sunshine Band - “That’s The Way (I Like It)”

K C & THE SUNSHINE BAND That the way I like it 1975 - BayechCom

Okay, this one genuinely shocked me. I’ve heard this song my whole life. I didn’t give it a second thought, it’s clearly a song by a Black funk group. It turns out, many of the people in the group are indeed black, except the lead singer, Harry Wayne Casey.

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11 / 19

KC & The Sunshine Band - “I Get Lifted”

KC & The Sunshine Band - “I Get Lifted”

KC & the Sunshine Band - I get lifted

KC & The Sunshine Band did it again on their 1975 track, “Get Lifted.” It still baffles me that the lead singer is a pale white man.

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12 / 19

Average White Band - “A Love of Your Own”

Average White Band - “A Love of Your Own”

A Love Of Your Own - Average White Band

Like many groups on this list, Average White Band was a Funk and R&B in the 1970s and 80s. The name should be a dead giveaway. But if you listen to this track without knowing who the band is, you’ll have no idea it was packed with white men.

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13 / 19

JoJo - “Leave (Get Out)”

JoJo - “Leave (Get Out)”

JoJo - Leave (Get Out) (Official Music Video)

JoJo has been and still is... in the R&B game for a minute now. She’s one of the only white girls still active in the genre. In fact, she just released a solid album two years ago. But, if you never laid eyes on her, you might assume she was Black.

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14 / 19

Nina Sky - “Move Ya Body”

Nina Sky - “Move Ya Body”

Nina Sky - Move Ya Body (Album Version, Edited) ft. Jabba

Ok this probably shouldn’t be on this list because some will definitely argue the singers are part of the diaspora, and maybe true , but still. I did not know who made this song until now. I’ve heard it in countless movies from the mid-2000s. I always thought it was a young Black R&B singer from like Atlanta or Brooklyn, who came and went. Turns out it was the Puerto Rican-American duo Nina Sky.

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15 / 19

P!nk - “Most Girls”

P!nk - “Most Girls”

P!NK - Most Girls (Video Version)

Maybe this is on me, but whenever I heard people reference P!nk, I just assumed she was Black, especially when I heard this track. It sounded like your typical R&B song sung by a Black woman during the mid-2000s. You could only imagine how shocked I was when I saw a picture. I’ve even heard some Black people say they thought she was light skin.

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16 / 19

Christina Aguilera - “Ain’t No Other Man”

Christina Aguilera - “Ain’t No Other Man”

Christina Aguilera - Ain’t No Other Man (Official Video)

Christina is probably the most well-known person on this list. Everyone and their mama should know by now that Christina Aguilera is white, but that voice says something else.

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17 / 19

Robin Thicke -” Lost Without U”

Robin Thicke -” Lost Without U”

Robin Thicke - Lost Without U (Official Music Video)

Robin Thicke is also a well-known singer, so most people already know he’s not Black. But, like Christina Aguilera...his voice, and his ex-wife, would be no indication.

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18 / 19

Envyi - “Swing My Way”

Envyi - “Swing My Way”

K.P. & Envyi - Swing My Way

Young R&B fans should recognize this song, as it was sampled on Bryson Tiller’s popular 2015 track, “ Exchange .” It’s clear that K.P. is Black, but I had no idea that the woman singing, Envyi, is not.

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