Toronto Mike

Bruce Willis Was My Gateway to The Staples Singers

I used to buy 45 singles. I had a record player, purchased at Consumers Distributing, and I'd walk over to Sam the Record Man at Jane and Bloor to buy the Top 40 hits of the day.

I had caught the video for Bruce Willis's Respect Yourself and loved it instantly. Of course, I had to buy the 45 single. I knew nothing about Bruce Willis the actor, nor did I know it was a cover, I just knew I loved that song.

Years later, I learned Respect Yourself was a song originally by The Staple Singers.

The Staple Singers blew my mind. Mavis Staples was the anchor, but I loved it when Pops chimed in. Their recording of The Weight with The Band for The Last Waltz is one of my all-time favourite songs. It's the only version of The Weight I play at home.

Do yourself a favour and watch the excellent documentary Mavis!. It's streaming for free on CBC Gem right now. There's a lot of great content on CBC Gem, by the way.

And yes, back in '86 when I was listening to Bruce Willis's Respect Yourself, I quickly learned he was on a popular television show called Moonlighting and only a couple of years away from becoming a bona fide movie star.


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