The Genius of Henry Stone and Timmy Thomas' "Why Can't We Live Together"

Jacob Katel
Everybody wanna live together.

Timmy Thomas is in a Hialeah warehouse slapping palms with a Cuban Santero named Oba Frank Lords. In the back room, there's an altar with a straw-hatted guajiro sculpture set down beside a sacrificial blade. Up front, in a 12-foot-by-12-foot production studio equipped with little more than a computer, keyboard, and microphone, the pair are remixing Timmy's historic record "Why Can't We Live Together."

The track has sold over ten million vinyl copies worldwide, went number three on the pop charts, might be the first hit song to use electric organ with a drum machine, established Henry Stone's TK Productions as the biggest independent music company in the world, and became South Africa's anti-apartheid rallying cry, and then Nelson Mandela's official song for inauguration as president.

It was recorded in Hialeah in 1972. And Thomas will perform the new version live with Oba and a full backing band at Charlie Rodriguez Live Entertainment's TK Disco Reunion Concert at Hialeah's Milander Auditorium on Saturday, October 12.

See also: Willie Clarke on the Rise and Fall of TK Records

Guajiro en serio. Ya tu sabe. Dale.

Oba's sacrificial Santeria blade and altar.

As a kid, Oba Frank Lords swept floors at TK's studio and got to see KC and the Sunshine Band record "Get Down Tonight" and Jimmy "Bo" Horne sing "Dance Across the Floor."

Later, he made his own mark on music with classic Miami freestyle groups Erotic Exotic and Secret Society. He currently works with Saul Alvarez at 4Tune Entertainment , where they recently remixed an official Pitbull cut with Elvis Crespo.

But one of Lords' all-time favorite songs is "Why Can't We Live Together," and Timmy Thomas is his idol.

Location Info


Milander Auditorium

4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah, FL

Category: General

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