Friday, March 25, 2011

RIP Loleatta Holloway (1946 - 2011)

This week we lost another of the great voices of soul music, disco diva Loleatta Holloway, who died on 21 March at the age of 64. Beginning as a gospel singer in the 60s, Holloway had a career as a soul artist that never really got going until 1980, when she struck gold with the epic disco track Love Sensation. Disco as a genre has frequently (and often rightly) criticised for being vacuous, but Love Sensation in no way fits that description. Its elaborate arrangement is filled with enough hooks to fill several songs; which explains why so many artists have sampled it in songs that sound nothing like each other. (Personally I could listen and dance to the section between 0:45 and 1:03 on loop all day.) And of course at its centre is Holloway's massive and unmistakable vocal performance.
Many of you won't have heard this song, which I consider to be the single greatest disco tune of all, but you'll probably recognise bits of it from Black Box's 1989 UK #1 hit Ride on Time, which sampled Holloway's vocal extensively. (The Italo-house outfit were subsequently sued by Holloway and writer Dan Hartman for royalties.)

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