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Category Archives: female vocalists

“THE DELICATES – I WANT TO GET MARRIED”

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The Delicates formed in South Central Los Angeles as the Darlenes after Richie Darlene Henderson, aka Darlene Walton, formed the group with Freddie Poole, Billie Rae Calvin, and Brenda Joyce. Discographers always lumped their recordings with a previous and more successful Delicates’ group that recorded on Unart, United Artists, Roulette, and possibly Celeste Records, but they were two separate entities. These Delicates recorded on Challenge, Soultown, and Pulsar Records. They signed their first contract while in junior high school after wowing ’em at Friday night Sock Hops, or Canteens as they were called in some areas. Ex-Robin writer and producer H. B. Barnum acted as the liaison for their initial studio sessions. At the time, Barnum was busy arranging for Lou Rawls, Holland-Dozier-Holland, and others, producing the O’Jays on Imperial Records, and running Little Star Records, among other things. Barnum later managed the Honey Cone, the Sweet Inspirations, a later-day edition of the Toys, with original June Montero and two new members. The Toys’ project ended faster than the original Toys from New York, NY (who couldn’t get along). Bobby Sanders took over from Barnum and played a major role in the production of their recordings and subsequent deal with Challenge, a label that initially (1957-1958) was owned in part by TV cowboy Gene Autry; Autry sold his interest in 1958. Berry Gordy was also interested and had Frank Wilson and Hal Davis cut a demo on them entitled “Crying,” written by Davis and Vincente Love, but Motown only wanted Poole and the deal never materialized.

They debuted on Challenge late in 1964 as the Delicates with “I’ve Been Hurt” (written by Love) b/w “C’mon Everybody.” 1965 saw two final releases on Challenge: “I Want to Get Married,” a Bobby Sanders/Darlene Walton song, and “Stop Shovin’ My Heart Around” b/w “Comin’ Down With Love.” Nothing sold outside of Watts, so they left to kick off Sanders’ Soultown label with a reworking of “Stop Shovin’ My Heart Around” as “Stop Shovin’ Me Around.” A final single on Pulsar Records, Sanders and Jerry Flanagan’s “I’ve Got a Crush on You” undersided by “You Said You Love Me,” ended the Delicates career as front-line recording artists, but opened the door for lucrative careers as session singers, particularly, Brenda Joyce and Billie Rae Calvin, who sang on the Four Tops’, Diana Ross’, and Edwin Starr’s recordings.

It’s been said that Bobby Taylor reintroduced Joyce and Calvin to Motown, but it was Norman Whitfield who put the two in the spotlight by grouping them with Joe Harris (Moroccos, Peps, and Ohio Players) to form Undisputed Truth’s original lineup, the one that glossed with “Smiling Faces Sometimes.” But success was fleeting, after a couple of albums, the Magictones, an unsuccessful Detroit vocal group, replaced the soft singing femmes, and with Whitfield’s tinkering, changed the sound into an amalgamation of psychedelic/soul/and metal-rock. In 2001, Freddie Poole was still singing with Sherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence as the Former Ladies of the Supremes. ~ Andrew Hamilton, Rovi…

http://www.mtv.com/artists/the-delicates/biography/

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in 1960s, female vocalists

 

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“Doris Troy – Just One Look”

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Just One Look” is a song co-written by American R&B singers Doris Troy and Gregory Carroll. The recording by Doris Troy was a hit in 1963. The Hollies, Anne Murray and Linda Ronstadt recorded hit versions of their own. There have also been many other versions of this song.

Doris Troy version

Background
Details vary as to how the Doris Troy version came to be released on Atlantic Records. According to the book Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders,[2] James Brown saw Troy performing in a nightclub (under her then-stage name Doris Payne), and introduced her to Atlantic.[3] According to a more recent and detailed story in Soulful Divas,[4] Payne recorded a studio demo of the song and took it to Sue Records first, but their lack of response led her to offer it to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic, where the label released the demo unchanged. The personnel on this song included Horace Ott on Piano, Snags Allen on guitar, Barney Richmond on bass and Bruno Carr on drums (although legendary session musician Bernard Purdie has claimed that he was the actual drummer on the demo).[3]

Reception
In 1963, Doris Troy scored her only hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Just One Look”. The song spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 10,[5] while reaching No. 3 on Billboard ’​s Hot R&B Singles chart,[6] No. 8 on New Zealand’s “Lever Hit Parade”,[7] and No. 1 on Canada’s CHUM Hit Parade.[8] The single’s release was the first time she started using “Doris Troy” as her stage name, though her pen name remained Doris Payne.[3]

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Maxine Brown “Oh No Not My Baby”

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“Oh No Not My Baby”is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King.[1] The song’s lyrics describe how friends and family repeatedly warn the singer about a partner’s infidelities. The song is regarded as an American standard due to its long-time popularity with both music listeners and recording artists.

The first released version of “Oh No Not My Baby” was by Maxine Brown,
according to whom the song had first been recorded by her Scepter Records’ roster-mates the Shirelles with the group’s members alternating leads, an approach which had rendered the song unreleasable.

Brown says that Scepter exec Stan Greenberg gave her the song with the advisement that she had to “find the original melody” from the recording by the Shirelles: “they [had gone] so far off by each [group member] taking their own lead, no one knew any more where the real melody stood.”

Brown recalls sitting on the porch of her one-level house in Queens listening to the Shirelles’ track play through her open window. A group of children skipping rope on the sidewalk picked up the song’s main hook before Brown herself; hearing the children singing “Oh no not my baby” as they skipped gave Brown the wherewithal to determine the song’s melody. Brown recorded her vocal over the Shirelles’ track with the group’s vocals erased; Dee Dee Warwick provided the harmony vocal on the chorus.[2]

Released in September 1964, Brown’s “Oh No Not My Baby” spent seven weeks in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1964 – January 1965 with a #24 peak.

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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in 1960s, female vocalists

 

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“Petula Clark – Downtown (HQ)”

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Downtown” is a pop song composed by Tony Hatch which, as recorded by Petula Clark in 1964, became an international hit, reaching No. 1 in Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 in UK Singles Chart. Hatch received the 1981 Ivor Novello award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[1]

The song has been covered by many singers, including Dolly Parton and Emma Bunton.

As recorded by Petula Clark

Background
Tony Hatch had first worked with Petula Clark when he assisted her regular producer Alan A. Freeman on her 1961 No. 1 hit “Sailor”. In 1963 Freeman had asked Hatch to take over as Clark’s regular producer: Hatch had subsequently produced five English-language singles for Clark none of which had charted.

In the autumn of 1964 Hatch had made his first visit to New York City, the purpose being to seek material from music publishers for the artists he was producing. Hatch would recall: “I was staying at a hotel on Central Park and I wandered down to Broadway and to Times Square and, naively, I thought I was downtown. Forgetting that in New York especially, downtown is a lot further downtown getting on towards Battery Park. I loved the whole atmosphere there and the [music] came to me very, very quickly”.[2] According to Hatch he was standing on the corner of 48th St waiting for the traffic lights to change, looking towards Times Square when “the melody first came to me, just as the neon signs went on.”[3]

Hatch envisioned his embryonic composition “as a sort of doo wop R&B song” which he thought to eventually pitch to the Drifters:[4] Hatch had scored his biggest success to date with the Searchers’ “Sugar and Spice” modelled on the Drifters’ hit “Sweets for My Sweet”, and had also produced a cover of the Drifters’ “Up on the Roof” for Julie Grant. It has been alleged that Hatch gave Julie Grant the opportunity to record “Downtown” which Grant turned down[5] but this does not accord with Hatch’s statement that he played “Downtown” for Petula Clark within a few days of conceiving the melody and only completed the song’s lyrics after Clark had asked to record it: also Hatch has said that prior to Clark’s expressed interest in “Downtown” “it never occurred to me that a white woman could even sing it.”[4]

Within a few days of his New York City junket Hatch visited Paris to present Clark with three or four songs he’d acquired from New York publishers for Clark to consider recording at a London recording session scheduled for 16 October 1964 which was roughly two weeks away: Hatch – “she was not very enthusiastic about [the material] and asked me if I was working on anything new myself. Reluctantly (because the song was still so unfinished)”[6] – according to Clark besides the title lyric Hatch had only written “one or two lines”[7] – “I played her the tune of my New York inspiration and slipped in the word ‘Downtown’ in the appropriate places. ‘That’s the one I want to record,’ she said”[6] – “‘Get that finished. Get a good lyric in it. Get a great arrangement and I think we’ll at least have a song we’re proud to record even if it isn’t a hit.'” [8]

“Downtown” was recorded 16 October 1964 at the Pye Studios in Marble Arch. Thirty minutes before the session was scheduled, Hatch was still touching up the song’s lyrics in the studio’s washroom. Of his arrangement for the session Hatch would recall: “I had to connect with young record buyers…but not alienate Pet[ula]’s older core audience…The trick was to make a giant orchestra sound like a rock band.”[3] The session personnel for the recording of “Downtown” who were assembled in Studio One of Pye Recording Studios – Hatch insisted that all session personnel on his productions be recorded performing together – included eight violinists, two viola players and two cellists, four trumpeters and four trombonists, five woodwind players with flutes and oboes, percussionists, a bass player and a pianist: also playing on the session were guitarists Vic Flick, Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan and also drummer Ronnie Verrell, while the Breakaways served as vocal chorale. Hatch’s assistant Bob Leaper acted as conductor.[8] According to Petula Clark, the session for “Downtown” consisted of three takes with the second take ultimately chosen as the completed track [yet, elsewhere, an “extended” version, instrumental+backing vocal track, most likely from a session tape makes claims questionable].[9]

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 “Lynn Anderson – I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (BBC Top Of The Pops)” 

 “Lynn Anderson – I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden (BBC Top Of The Pops)” 

Rose Garden” (also known and covered as “(I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden“) is a song written by Joe South, best known as recorded by country music singer Lynn Anderson, and first released by Billy Joe Royal in 1967. Her October 1970 release topped the U.S. Billboard country chart for five weeks, reached No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, and hit number one on both Cash Boxs and Record Worlds pop and country singles charts. The song was also a major pop hit internationally, topping the charts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, and Norway, and reaching the top three in the UK and South Africa.

Anderson’s version of “Rose Garden” remains one of the most successful country crossover recordings of all-time.

The Lynn Anderson single was her third release for Columbia Records in 1970, after several years of recording for Chart Records. The single proved to be the first crossover record of her career.

“Rose Garden” was originally an album cut by the song’s writer, Joe South, in 1969. Several other male vocalists recorded it on albums including Freddy WellerBilly Joe Royal, and Dobie Grayand Third Avenue Blues Band, but it was never a hit until Anderson’s version. A recording by the girl group The Three Degrees, best known for their 1974 hit “When Will I See You Again“, also pre-dated Lynn Anderson’s hit version.

Anderson wanted to record the song but her producer (and husband) Glenn Sutton felt it was a “man’s song”, in part because of the line “I could promise you things like big diamond rings”. According to Anderson, Sutton agreed to record the song as a potential album cut when there was time left during one of her scheduled recording sessions. After arranging a more up-tempo, light-hearted melody, Sutton and the studio musicians, which included a mandolin player, as well as a string section, were impressed with the results. Columbia Records’ executive Clive Davis was equally impressed and insisted the song be released as a single in both the country and pop markets. Shortly after its breakthrough on American Top 40 radio, the song became an international hit. A cover version released by Sandie Shaw in UK failed to chart, as Anderson’s version became a major success there. The song became Anderson’s signature tune and one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, in any genre of music.[citation needed] Anderson won a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance in 1971, and Joe South earned two Grammynominations: “Best Country Song” and “Song of the Year” in the pop field.

Anderson said, “I believe that ‘Rose Garden’ was released at just the right time. People were trying to recover from the Vietnam years. The message in the song—that if you just take hold of life and go ahead, you can make something out of nothing—people just took to that.”[2]

After her Columbia heyday, Lynn Anderson recorded new performances of the song several times for post-1982 albums, including a bluegrass version that was featured in her 2004 comeback album The Bluegrass Sessions. This album earned Anderson her first Grammy nomination in over 30 years.

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Posted by on October 16, 2017 in female vocalists, nostalgic

 

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“Shirley Bassey “Goldfinger” – Live at Royal Albert Hall, 1974.”

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“Goldfinger” was the title song from the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. Composed by John Barry and with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, the song was performed by Shirley Bassey for the film’s opening and closing title sequences, as well as the soundtrack album release. The single release of the song gave Bassey her only Billboard Hot 100 top forty hit, peaking in the Top 10 at number eight and at number two for four weeks on the Adult Contemporary chart,[1] and in the United Kingdom the single reached number 21.[2]

The song finished at #53 in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema. In 2008, the single was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[3]

Background

Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley were asked to create the lyrics for the song. But when its composer John Barry played them the first three notes, Bricusse and Newley looked at each other and sang out: “. . . wider than a mile,” to the melody of “Moon River,” the popular theme song from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Barry was not amused.

One source of inspiration was the song “Mack the Knife”, which director Guy Hamilton showed Barry, thinking it was a “gritty and rough” song that could be a good model for what the film required. Bricusse and Newley were not shown any film footage or script excerpts, but were advised of the fatal gilding suffered by the Jill Masterson character, played by Shirley Eaton. Bricusse would later recall that once he and Newley hit upon utilizing “the Midas touch” in the lyric, the pattern of the song became evident and the lyrics were completed within at most a couple of days.

The first recording of “Goldfinger” was made by Newley in a May 14, 1964 recording session, with Barry as conductor, which produced two completed takes. Barry would recall that Newley gave a “very creepy” performance which he, Barry considered “terrific”. Newley’s recording, however, was made purely as a demo for the film’s makers. According to Barry, Newley “didn’t want to sing it in the movie as they [Newley and Bricusse] thought the song was a bit weird”.

Shirley Bassey was Barry’s choice to record the song; he had been conductor on Bassey’s national tour in December 1963 and the two had also been romantically involved. Barry had played Bassey an instrumental track of the song before its lyrics were written; the singer would recall that hearing the track had given her “goose bumps”. She agreed to sing the song whatever the lyrics might eventually be. Bassey recorded the track on August 20, 1964 at London’s CTS Studios in Wembley: the track’s producer credit named Bassey’s regular producer George Martin, but the session was in fact overseen by Barry. Vic Flick, Jimmy Page and Big Jim Sullivan are all said to have been guitarists on the session, and at least Page has supported his involvement, recalling that Bassey had nearly collapsed after the final note.

The recording of “Goldfinger” lasted all night as Barry demanded repeated takes due to musicians’ or technical glitches, not any shortcomings in Bassey’s vocal. Bassey did initially have issues with the climactic final note which necessitated her slipping behind a studio partition between takes to remove her bra. Bassey would recall of the final note: “I was holding it and holding it – I was looking at John Barry and I was going blue in the face and he’s going – hold it just one more second. When it finished, I nearly passed out.”

The iconic two-note phrase which is the basis for the song’s introduction was not in the original orchestration, but occurred to Barry during a tea-break, following an hour and a half of rehearsal. By the time the musicians returned, twenty minutes later, he had written the figure into the orchestration.

The hit single was released in mono, with the album stereo issues (on the film soundtrack, Golden Hits Of Shirley Bassey and subsequent releases) using an alternate mix in which the instrumental take is the same, but Bassey’s vocal is different; a shade less intense and with a shorter final note. Newley’s version was later released in 1992 to mark the 30th Anniversary of James Bond on film, in a compilation collector’s edition: The Best of Bond…James Bond.

Bassey’s title theme was almost taken out of the film because producer Harry Saltzman hated it, saying, “That’s the worst *** song I’ve ever heard in my *** life”. Saltzman would also dislike Bassey’s subsequent Bond theme, that for Diamonds Are Forever. However time constraints did not allow for the possibility of a replacement Goldfinger theme song being written and recorded.

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 “Mary Wells – Bye Bye Baby” 

 “Mary Wells – Bye Bye Baby” 

 

“Bye Bye Baby” is the first single by R&B singerMary Wells, released in December 1960 on the Motown label. The song was one of Motown’s earliest hit singles and showcased a much rougher vocal than the singer had during her later years.

History
In 1960, Wells, then 17 years of age, was a nightclub singer who was struggling to make ends meet in Detroit. She aspired to be a songwriter as well, so she wrote a song for fellow Detroiter and R&B singer Jackie Wilson. She saw Berry Gordy while attempting to deliver “Bye Bye, Baby” to Wilson, and asked Gordy to give Wilson her song. But Gordy, having severed ties with Wilson’s manager to form Motown, asked Wells to sing it herself for Motown. Mary recorded “Bye Bye Baby” in her version of Jackie Wilson’s style. Reports claim that the teen had to record the song 26 times or more, before Gordy had a version he approved for release. According to Detroit music mogul Johnnie Mae Matthews, Wells had come to her with four lines of the song, which Matthews said she finished up. When the song was issued, she didn’t get a songwriting credit.[1]

Release and reaction
Released in December 1960, the song became an R&B hit reaching number eight on the Billboard R&B singles chart and crossed over to pop stations where it peaked at number forty-five.[2] It was significant as the first single released under one of the Motown subsidiaries nationally after the label’s first singles were released through distributing labels such as United Artists.

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