Throwback Thursday: Luther Vandross & Janet Jackson – “The Best Things in Life Are Free” (featuring Bell Biv DeVoe & Ralph Tresvant)
If I had my way, every day would be Thursday. That way, I’d be able to make a TBT post every single day.
I cherish these TBT posts because they allow me to share music that I really love. It is also a lot easier to discuss music that you already have a relationship with — it’s like having to describe an old friend versus a person you just met. Much of my life includes discussions about classic songs that I love, so these posts feel very natural.
This week’s selection is especially important because it is one of my favorite songs of all time. For as superficial and materialistic as I can be, I always remember that the best things in life are free. In 1992, Luther Vandross and Janet Jackson — with an assist from Bel Biv Devoe and Ralph Tresvant — collaborated on a song with that very message, and it was glorious.
Written by Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis, Michael Bivins and Ronnie Devoe, “The Best Things in Life Are Free” was the second single from the Mo’ Money soundtrack. It samples George McCrae’s “I Get Lifted,” which was written by Harry Wayne Casey and Richard Finch — both from K.C. and the Sunshine Band. As far as melodies go, they don’t get much sweeter than “Best Things.” It’s so good that almost nothing else about the song matters, except that it has the dopest new jack swing beat ever. And as if that wasn’t enough, the lyrics are beautifully simple — you will find yourself singing along even if you didn’t want to.
“Best Things” peaked at No. 10 in the US and No. 2 in the UK, which is more evidence that some of the best songs of all time weren’t No. 1 hits. Though it had a music video, I’m posting an audio of the track because the video featured a house version of the song that — though awesome — doesn’t come close to the original. Enjoy this classic!