Stars Write What They Know: Donny Hathaway

If there’s one thing Canadian quintet Stars has been able to do for the entire duration of its 10-year run it’s make us sigh wistfully over beautifully crafted lyrics and gorgeous, blooming melodies. Since 2007’s In Our Bedroom After The War, the band members (many of whom moonlight as Broken Social Scene players) scattered for a while to work on some very un-Stars-like solo and side projects. However, rest assured that just-released fifth full-length, The Five Ghosts (Vagrant/Soft Revolution), is Stars still being heartbreakingly Stars, with an underlying theme of mortality featuring lyrics that focus on love in a “til death do us part” kind of way. Prepare to swoon when you see them play the album live on their tour of Europe and North America this fall. Evan Cranley, Torquil Campbell, Amy Millan, Chris Seligman and Patrick McGee are guest editing all week. Read our Q&A with Cranley.


Torquil: Perhaps the greatest soul singer of all time is virtually unknown outside soul circles these days. Donny Hathaway killed himself in the late ’70s, jumping from the window of his hotel room at the Essex House hotel in New York. Starting as a backup player in Curtis Mayfield’s band, he became one of the most technically brilliant, emotionally complex soul singers of all time. He had a numgber of hits, notably with Roberta Flack in the golden age of duets: the early ’70s. His album Everything Is Everything shows him on the front cover, dancing in a schoolyard with a group of kids, in a beautiful cashmere coat. It’s one of my favourite depictions of urban sophistication and innocence mixed together. That’s pop.