|"Tonight, I Celebrate My Love"|
|Single by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack|
|from the album Born to Love|
"Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" is a romantic ballad written by lyricist Gerry Goffin with Michael Masser and recorded by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack for their 1983 album of duets: Born to Love: issued as lead single the track - produced by Masser - became a million-selling international hit.
"Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" was one of two Michael Masser/ Gerry Goffin co-writes produced by Masser for the Born to Love album. Although the Born to Love sessions marked the first time either Peabo Bryson or Roberta Flack had been produced by Michael Masser, Flack had previously recorded two Masser co-writes with Gerry Goffin: "Independent Man" (album Roberta Flack/ 1978) and "Stay With Me" (album Roberta Flack Featuring Donny Hathaway/ 1980): also Masser's Ron Miller co-write "After You" was featured on Flack's 1977 album Blue Lights in the Basement. Flack's first recording of a Gerry Goffin co-write had been a remake of his earliest evocation of nocturnal intimacy, Flack's version of the Shirelles' classic - co-written with Carole King - "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" - featured on the 1971 album Quiet Fire - in fact becoming Flack's first solo single to appear on the Hot 100 in Billboard magazine also serving as Flack's solo debut on Billboard's R&B chart (Flack had previously reached both the Hot 100 and R&B charts with two duet singles with Donny Hathaway).
The second Masser/ Goffin co-write on Born to Love: "Comin' Alive", described by Masser as "an uptempo synthesized song", was considered by Masser for single release rather than "Tonight, I Celebrate...": (Michael Masser quote:) "but I just felt that there are people out there who want to be touched by a romantic acoustic ballad...Each year, through whatever else is the particular fashion or mode, there are always great ballads that break through."
Bryson and Flack had previously appeared on the R&B chart in Billboard with two duet singles: "Make the World Stand Still" and "Love is a Waiting Game", both from their collaborative 1980 Live and More double album. However "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" would be the first Bryson/Flack duet single to rank on the Billboard Hot 100 with a number 16 peak in November 1983: "Tonight, I Celebrate..." would also rank on the Billboard R&B chart (number 5) and on the magazine's Adult Contemporary chart (number 4).
A promotional video - Flack's video debut - was prepped for "Tonight, I Celebrate...". Directed by Martin Pitts, the video was a straightforward performance video showing Flack and Bryson singing the song - she playing the piano and he seated on a stool at her side - while session musicians may be seen in the background: the clip was taped at the Capitol Studios in Hollywood, the Born to Love album being recorded for Capitol Records - Bryson's home label - with Flack on loan from Atlantic Records (the track "Tonight, I Celebrate..." was in fact recorded at A&M Studios with Randy Kerber on piano: Flack did not play piano on any tracks on Born to Love).
In the UK, "Tonight, I Celebrate..." would peak at number two in September 1983, affording both Bryson and Flack their alltime best UK chart showing. "Tonight, I Celebrate..." was afforded further international success charting in Australia (number 10), Canada (number 4), Finland (number 13), Flemish Belgium (number 8), Ireland (number 5), the Netherlands (number 16), New Zealand (number 11), Norway (number 8), and South Africa (number 4).
"Tonight, I Celebrate..." would be the only Top 40 hit duet for Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack as the only subsequent single from Born to Love to chart on the Hot 100: "You're Looking Like Love to Me", peaked at number 58. "Tonight, I Celebrate..." would also be the only major hit duet for Bryson and Flack in the UK where "Heaven Above Me" was issued as the follow-up single to chart no higher than number 84. Bryson's first solo single release subsequent to "Tonight, I Celebrate..." would be the Michael Masser co-write "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" which with a number 10 peak would become his only solo Top 40 hit.
The Telegraph listed the song as one of the 50 best love songs of the 1980s, writing "Mmm! Dig those tinkly Eighties keyboards. Almost tasteful, considering its schlockbusting potential." The song is, according to The Telegraph, Roberta Flack's favourite song from her 1980's repertoire. The Monthly describes it as a "big romantic ballad".
|Australia (Kent Music Report)||10|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||8|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||11|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||2|
|US Billboard Hot 100||16|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||4|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||5|