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.