When I heard this infectious slice of Northern Soul on the radio I thought two things: first that it was by a black dude, and secondly that it was a reaction to the state of the world today. Wrong on both counts.
First of all, it came out way back in 1973. Secondly it’s by a white dude. A very white farm boy from Alabama in a cowboy hat.
Born back in 1939, Razzy Bailey wrote I Hate Hate as an anti-war song and strengthened the emotional power of its lyric – urging an end to hate between left and right, black and white, young and old – by adding a children’s choir and re-releasing it under the name ‘Razzy & The Neighbourhood Kids.’
Obviously, those lyrics ring as true today as they ever did, which is why the song was revived in Andrea Arnold’s 2016 road movie American Honey.
Bailey paid his dues in his high school’s string band, Future Farmers Of America, and made his recording debut in 1966 with a song called 9,999,999 Tears.
Off the back of his songwriting success, Razzy had a string of solo hits showcasing his style of R&B-influenced country music, including seven chart toppers on the country charts.
The peak of his success was in the late 70s and early 80s, from his first No.1 – the glutinous What Time Do You Have To Be Back In Heaven? – via a country-fried cover of Wilson Pickett’s In The Midnight Hour, through to his peculiarly named last one, She Left Love All Over Me.