Song of the Day: “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” by Steve Perry

“Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” was released in March of 1984 as the B-side of Steve Perry’s hit single “Oh Sherrie” which peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. For my money, “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” might be the greatest recorded example of Perry’s abilities as a soul singer. Yes, that’s right. I said soul singer. He is of course known as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time for his days fronting Journey, but Perry grew up idolizing Sam Cooke, and you can feel the spirit of Cooke and other soul legends on this track written by Perry, drummer/percussionist/songwriter/producer Craig Krampf, and legendary guitarist/songwriter/producer Danny Kortchmar.

Kortchmar is of course well known for his guitar, songwriting, and production work on music by Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Linda Ronstadt, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Neil Young, and countless others.

Krampf was a founding member of the short-lived rock band Alien Project along with Steve Perry and went on to work with other artists including Kim Carnes, Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie, Melissa Etheridge, Paul Stanley, Cher, The Motels, and others. Three of the demos that Perry and Krampf recorded under the Alien Project name were eventually released as bonus tracks on the 2006 CD reissue of Perry’s solo album masterpiece Street Talk. “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” also appeared as a bonus track on the same CD.

Reflecting on “Don’t Tell Me Why You’re Leaving” in the liner notes for the 2006 reissue of the Street Talk CD, Perry wrote that the song was “recorded for fun by some studio musicians with a specific type of R&B in mind that I always loved. We had some fun with this track.” Indeed they did, and you can hear it on the record. It’s three minutes and six seconds of pure energy. So turn the volume way up, and listen to the song in the link below.


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