Patti LaBelle Biography

Patricia Louise Holt, 24 May 1944, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The lead singer of LaBelle began her solo career in 1976 when her former group, who had originally begun recording in the early 60s as the Blue Belles, disbanded. Although her first releases showed promise, she was unable to regain the profile enjoyed by LaBelle and at the beginning of the 80s, Patti agreed to tour with a revival of the stage play Your Arms Too Short To Box With God. The production reached Broadway in 1982 and, with Al Green as a co-star, became one of the year’s hits. The following year’s ‘If Only You Knew’ rose to the top of the US R&B charts. Having made her film debut as a blues singer in A Soldier’s Story (1984), Patti LaBelle teamed up with Bobby Womack on the magnificent duet, ‘Love Has Finally Come At Last’. Two tracks from 1984’s box-office smash Beverly Hills Cop, ‘New Attitude’ (US Top 20) and ‘Stir It Up’, also proved popular. ‘On My Own’, a sentimental duet with Michael McDonald, was a spectacular international hit in 1986. This million-selling, US chart-topping single confirmed the singer’s return.

LaBelle made a return to the US stage in 1989, performing in various states with the ‘lost’ Duke Ellington musical Queenie Pie, and continued to release strong albums throughout the 90s and into the new millennium. She won Grammy Awards in 1991 (Best R&B Female Vocal Performance) and 1998 (Traditional R&B Vocal Performance), and received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 1993. In 2006, LaBelle released her first gospel album.

Although some commentators criticize her almost operatic delivery, Patti LaBelle remains a powerful and imposing performer.

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

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