HITS Daily Double

Ralph MacDonald, RIP

RALPH MACDONALD, who wrote the classics “Where Is the Love” and “Just the Two of Us,” died Sunday morning in Stamford, CT., after a long illness. He was 67. He had suffered from a stroke and lung cancer in recent years. Born in Harlem on March 15, 1944, MacDonald was a working musician as well as a writer and producer. Until health problems sidelined him a year and a half ago, he continued to tour regularly as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. The son of Trinidadian calypso performer MacBeth the Great, MacDonald got a gig as a percussionist in Harry Belafonte’s steel band at age 17, writing the material for Belafonte’s Calypso Carnival in 1966. While working with Roberta Flack, he pitched her “Where Is the Love,” and her duet with Donny Hathaway became a smash. As a percussionist, MacDonald worked with Billy Joel, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Grover Washington Jr. and Amy Winehouse. “Just the Two Of Us” was first released on Washington’s 1980 album Winelight, which MacDonald wrote and produced. He’s survived by his wife, Grace, and four children. (12/19a)