Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Goodnight, Ms Holloway

Loleatta Holloway died today at the age of 64. I'm devastated. Like many fans, I was in awe of her powerful pipes and ability to genre hop effortlessly. This is a woman who began her career singing gospel, before breaking into the 70s soul scene. She then went on to conquer disco, Hi-NRG and house. Not bad for a diva that never experienced the success her talent demanded. But while Loleatta kept a relatively low profile, I guarantee you know one of her songs. The most likely candidate being 1980's "Love Sensation", which was sampled in Black Box's 1989 smash "Ride On Time" (she had to sue for credit) and recycled again for Marky Mark's 1990 number one hit "Good Vibrations". More recently, Whitney Houston turned the underground icon's 1976 disco anthem "We're Getting Stronger" into "Million Dollar Bill". And it was that song, or more specifically its parent album, that sparked my love for Ms Holloway.

The amazing Disco Delivery wrote a post about the album and I knew I had to get my hands on it. Sooner rather than later. It was love at first listen and I can't recommend the album highly enough as a starting place to discover this wonderful diva. "Loleatta" is a beautiful mix of soul and disco with, surprisingly enough, more than a touch of Millie Jackson-esque verbal sparring. The album's most famous track is undoubtedly "Hit and Run" but for me, it's all about "Dreamin'" (below). That gorgeous explosion of disco fabulousness pushes all my buttons, from the relatively understated beginning to the hilarious mid-song spoken interlude. In the song, Loleatta warns other women to stay away from her man before getting down for some straight talk half way through. Every line from 3:30 mins to the end is highly quotable but this is probably my favourite piece of advice:

What's mine is mine
What's yours is yours
You see, I don't want nuthin' that's yours
I don't want nuthin' that looks at you!
You see, I know I got my man!

Nobody did it quite like Loleatta. May she rest in peace.


Deirdre Halliwell said...

That is so sad. What another well written piece!

You should hunt down her 2 cd Anthology, it's one of my fave albums, you would gush!


John said...

Dance music producers can produce the most fabulous tracks, but if they don't have a vocalist who can rise over the thumpa-thumpa, they will not last long. Loleatta helped a lot of okay tracks become classics, and "Dreaming" is a perfect example of that. Hopefully some of the current divas like Kelly Rowland took notes. R.I.P

Diva Incarnate said...

Her vocals never run out of steam - Love Sensation (my preferance is the Hi-Tac version) is so gigantic you need to lie down after just hearing it. I'm really shocked: when I read the title of the post I really did not want to look. I May Not Be There When You Want Me is another favourite. Only recently she toured with Take That. I didn't even know she was ill.

tommie said...

Fuck. I missed this completely. Now I'm sad.

mol said...

I had no idea you had such a streak of really GOOD taste in you as well! Epic album and woman, and grossly underrated career. What i REALLY need now is the other side of the Crash Goes Love single and other stuff from that era. But never seen or heard it... except for the splendid Crash...

Chris said...

I discovered her via Dan Hartman's "Relight My Fire" and Marky Mark's "Good Vibrations". She is one of the most sampled Disco Diva's. I am saddened by her loss.

Mike said...

Mol - I'll take that as a compliment.

I'd love to hear more from the "Crash Goes Love" era too. I have most of Loleatta's disco albums thanks to the recent re-issues on CD but that early 80s stuff is pretty hard to find.

Been listening to her music all morning. She was one of a kind.

Jon said...

I was most upset when I heard the news this morning. Miss Holloway was a bigger part of most of our lives than we realise - from "Relight My Fire" to all the fabulous club remixes of "Love Sensation" that are still being played to the young movers and shakers today... RIP a legend. Jx

Atlanta Roofing said...

This is a sad loss indeed. I love Sal soul and “Hit and Run" is one of my all-time favorites. It's just so nasty! Especially that guitar riff. You all know the part I mean. Another wonderful talent gone. RIP Loleatta Holloway.

regis said...

Nice post. She was a truly awesome talent. Her disco stuff is great, really unhinged at times (someone earlier talked about having to lie down after hearing Love Sensation) but the album that does for me is her deep soul album, Cry To Me. Casanova in particular (later covered by Coffee) is just wonderful.

So good, I named my daughter after her!

RIP Loleatta.

Tommy said...

Hey Mike,

I've been a bit quiet on the posting & commenting front lately, but it was really great to see your lovely tribute! Glad my little blog post helped you discover the greatness of Loleatta.. I was so sad/shocked when I heard the news. 64 isn't really that old these days. I think I've been playing her music non-stop all week, and it's hard to believe she's gone..

On a lighter note, if you want to hear some more diva fabulousness from Loleatta, you should check out the Ellis D (AKA Junior Vasquez) "My Loleatta" bootleg, if you haven't already.

Apparently A DJ had taped one of her live sets and someone ended up taking it putting part of it on record and making a mini underground sensation in the process. Evidently the lady was righteously pissed.


(the story/transcript: http://www.jahsonic.com/MyLoleatta.html)

As much as she hated this being released, it's one of the few records of the diva's ferocity captured live and uncensored for us to enjoy. She'll be missed.. RIP Loleatta.