A time when videos were much simpler and less common, legendary keyboardist Herbie Hancock was still the man.
If we can think back to the final decades of the 20th century, there was a great obsession with the future, the year 2000, and what was to come. With that being said, Herbie Hancock’s ability to incorporate computers and digital media to his sound was seen as progressive and futuristic, and the vocoder played a big part of that enhancement. Jazz had gone electric years before Hancock’s adaptation of the vocoder in the late 70’s, but altering your voice to give it a digital sound was really pushing the envelope. If purists thought that electric jazz was hurting the artform, I’m sure the vocoder was the lowest common denominator. Although the jazz traditionalists had their views, there was always that drive in Herbie to create something new, which has existed throughout his illustrious career. One flagship song of Herbie Hancock using the vocoder was I Thought It Was You, which was released on his 1978 album entitled Sunlight with a different version released on his 2nd album released in 1978 (only in Japan) entitled Directstep.
The Sunlight version features Byron Miller on bass and Ndugu Chancler on drums (who both played with Roy Ayers), and Wah Wah Watson and Ray Parker, Jr. on Guitar, and Raul Rekow on congas, with Herbie on the keys and vocals
The Directstep version features an entirely different group, with Alphonse Mouzon on drums (who also played with Roy Ayers), Ray Obiedo on guitar, Paul Jackson on bass, Bill Summers on percussion, and of course Herbie Hancock on keys and vocals.
Since both versions have their subtle differences, there must be a favorite. Which version of I Thought It Was You do you like best?
Here are some visuals for I Thought It Was You. One is a music video, while the other is a live performance.
I Thought It Was You Music Video
I Thought It Was You Live Performance