Legendary disco and soul vocalist Loleatta Holloway passed away last night in Chicago, after a short illness. She was 64.
While the title “Queen of Disco” may be hotly contended by Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor and even Sylvester, for many it is Loleatta Holloway who is rightfully wears the crown.
Holloway started her career in the early Seventies on the label Aware, working on gospel-tinged funk with her husband Fred Smith, before moving on to work extensively with Salsoul Records/MFSB producer Norman Harris and writer/producer Dan Hartman. She released a string of cult hits on the label, and provided vocals for the in-house Salsoul Orchestra. Though these were never big commercially at the time, they have since gone on to define their era and the disco genre itself. So much so that Holloway has become one of the most sampled artists of all time. Producers have been known to make entire tracks out of her throw-away yet distinctive ad libs, and some (like Black Box and Marky Mark) have turned these into huge global hits.
There is practically no studio quality footage of Holloway performing live on YouTube, though there are some mobile phone recordings of her recent live appearances. We’ll just have to settle for this - a fleeting appearance in a TV spot for a Salsoul 2LP set, mixed by the dj Walter Gibbons. Rest in peace Loleatta Holloway, one of the best voices in popular music!
Loleatta Holloway - “Dreaming”
Loleatta Holloway -“Catch Me On The Rebound” (Dimitiri From Paris Edit)
Loleatta Hollway - “Only A Fool”
Loleatta Holloway - “Hit And Run” (12” Mix)