RIP Loleatta Holloway. Provided the soundtrack to many a great night for me in the clubs over the last 20 years. Respect
Here is an article I wrote about her a few years ago. It's a shame that she wasn't given more recognition while alive
There's are some career highlights down below too including an accapella of "Love Sensation" and footage of us spinning it at an epic Mor Disco night.
One of the biggest tracks for me over the last few months has been Whitney Houston's "Million Dollar Bill". I'll be straight up in admitting to never being a huge fan of Whitney during her 80's and 90's heyday and though her pop music was highly accessible and successful, from a soul point of view i've generally felt she has not offered too much with lots of drab bland middle of the road material. This changed dramatically with the "My Love is Your Love" album and the likes of Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef and Missy Elliot really helped bring a more soulful Whitney through on some classics songs.
Raphael Saadiq helped her subsequent "Fine" single become a bit of an underground soul classic while on her generally disappointing next solo effort "One of those days" was pretty tasty. "Million Dollar Bill" is her best single yet in my opinion and it is clear that despite her well documented personal problems Whitney has still got the ability in her to create powerful music. It's a top class tune written by Whitney and produced by Swiss beats, who uses a really good sample of a classic disco tune from the wonderful Loleatta Holloway to arm the track with a hook that is highly effective on the dance-floor.
This is where the story gets interesting though. Loleatta Holloway's own personal life will never gather even a smidgeon of interest and though she is known only amongst dance and disco fans she is a very important vocalist who should be heralded more. Even though there has been very little mention of her involvement with the new Whitney track, she won't mind, as 20 years ago she was given even less recognition and respect as Black Box scored a huge hit with a sample or blatant rip off on her "Love Sensation" tune on their "Ride on Time" release. To be fair, Black Box didn't know what they had on their hands but there is no doubt that "Ride on Time" would have been nothing without Loleatta.
The culture of sampling has changed a lot since in our more legally aware music industry but the good thing about house music and even the charty dance music that Black Box made is that it brought a greater awareness of the pioneering disco sounds back to a new generation. Loleatta helped embrace this herself with a number of collaborations and she finally got more respect too for her amazing back catalogue from her disco career. The likes of herself, Jocelyn Brown and many more great singers have now found a much more favourable place in music history, and that can only be a good thing. As for Whitney, even if the rest of the album was bad she would have delivered one of the singles of the year for me and it is really refreshing to hear the disco sounds I love on mainstream TV and radio.
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