Loleatta Holloway Biography

5 November 1946, Chicago, Illinois, USA. With her full-bodied gospelized vocals, which lent tremendous energy to her disco recordings, Holloway, as one of the leading disco divas, epitomized like no other singer of her day the transition of African-American popular music from soul to disco in the late 70s. She started in the church singing gospel, and sang with the famed Caravans from 1967-71. She was first recorded by her manager/husband Floyd Smith in Chicago on his Apache label, releasing ‘Rainbow 71’. In 1973, Holloway signed with GRC’s Aware label and achieved a double-sided chart record with ‘Mother Of Shame’/‘Our Love’ (number 43 R&B). These songs came from her debut album, Loleatta, which was recorded in Chicago and Atlanta. ‘Cry To Me’ (number 10 R&B, number 68 pop), a 1975 remake of the Solomon Burke hit, was pure, heartfelt soul and her biggest hit, effectively launching her second album, Cry To Me.

In 1976 Holloway moved to Philadelphia producer Norman Harris’ Gold Mind label and recorded Loleatta, which featured a healthy tension between her earthy, soulful, gospelized roots and the Philly rhythm section. It produced her first disco hit, ‘Hit And Run’ (number 56 R&B), in 1977. Queen Of The Night (1978), one of her most successful albums, consolidated her position in the disco galaxy of stars, but at the expense of the soulful sides of her artistry. Loleatta Holloway, with production help from Smith, brought her back to a more balanced presentation of deep soul and disco, but was notable for her disco groove ‘All About The Paper’. Love Sensation (1980), under the production aegis of Dan Hartman, featured soulful workouts, such as the splendid remake of Otis Redding’s hit ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long’, and disco numbers such as ‘Love Sensation’, a dancehall classic that was much sampled by rappers years later.

Holloway’s last chart single was ‘Crash Goes Love’ for Streetwise in 1984. During the remainder of the decade she confined her recording to small independent labels such as DJ International and Saturday Records. Her vocals were extensively sampled in the 90s, most notably on international hits by Marky Mark (‘Good Vibrations’) and Black Box (‘Ride On Time’).

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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