Adult Contemporary Female Vocalists of the 1970's
The Best of the 1970's
Music of the 70's - Female Vocals: Adult Contemporary
This list includes ten of the biggest selling adult contemporary female vocalists of the 70's. These women made a difference in the world of modern pop and easy listening music of the 1970's. Some of them roared with the sounds of the women's lib movement and others chimed in with beautifully angelic vocals.
In composing this blog post I have listed each singer in alphabetical order by last name and include chart and sales statistics as well as a short biography for entry.
Karen Carpenter was the biggest selling female vocalist of the 1970's. From 1970 to 1976 Karen Carpenter (with the band Carpenters) scored 17 consecutive Top 25 hits. They did not miss the Top 25 once during this time period. Carpenters were considered by music executives to be a safe bet in releasing records. They were in the same category with Elton John and Paul McCartney when it came to making hits. Karen Carpenter's career in music started in 1965 (at the young age of 15) when she teamed up with her brother to form the Richard Carpenter Trio. The trio was a jazz instrumental group which featured Richard on keyboards, Karen on drums and their friend Wes Jacobs on tuba. Karen began playing the drums in 1964 when she joined the school band at Downey High School. The Richard Carpenter Trio disbanded in 1968 and Karen and Richard formed a new vocal group called Spectrum. In this group Karen took on the role of lead singer as well as playing the drums. She would sing and play drums simultaneously during live performances and generally captured the attention of the audience, as seeing a female drummer play and sing at the same time was a rare sight back in '68. Finally in 1969 their demo tape made it's way to Herb Alpert who signed the group "Carpenters" to his recording company, A&M Records. They released a cover version of the Beatles' "Ticket To Ride" (a ballad rendition) which fared well on the charts making it to #54. Their first album "Offering" failed to chart. It was their second single "(They Long To Be) Close To You", written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, which soared straight to the top and was the beginning of one of the most sensational careers in music history. From the very beginning Karen had been concerned with her weight and body image. She felt her hips were too wide. By late 1973 she started a comprehensive diet which lead to an acute case of anorexia nervosa. She was treated for the disease a few times in the late 70's and early 80's and by 1982 was on the road to recovery. Having accepted the fact that she had the disease, she was beginning to gain weight again. But by this point in time much damage had been done to her body and she died on February 4, 1983, at the age of 32 from heart failure, caused by complications related to anorexia.
Karen Carpenter/Carpenters Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 23 (US), 25 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 15 (US), 12 (Canada)
Top 40 Hits: 20 (US), 20 (Canada), 18 (UK), 15 (Australia), 12 (Ireland), 10 (Japan), 6 (Netherlands), 4 (Germany), 2 (Switzerland), 2 (Norway), 2 (South Africa)
#1 Hits: "(They Long To Be) Close To You" (1970 - US, Canada, Australia), "We've Only Just Begun" (1970 - Canada), "Top Of The World" (1973 - US, Canada, Australia), "Please Mr. Postman" (1975 - US, Canada, Australia, South Africa)
Biggest Hit: "(They Long To Be) Close To You" (1970 - US), "Please Mr. Postman" (1975 - Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 5 (US), 6 (Canada), 9 (UK), 12 (Japan), 4 (Australia), 3 (Netherlands), 2 (Norway), 2 (South Africa)
# 1 Albums: "Close To You" (1970 - Canada), "Now & Then" (1973 - Japan), "The Singles 1969-1973" (1973 - US, UK, Canada, Japan), "Horizon" (1975 - UK, Japan), "Golden Prize II" (1974 - Japan), "Very Best Of The Carpenters" (1983 - Australia), "Only Yesterday (1990 - UK) / 1 (US), 2 (Canada), 3 (UK), 4 (Japan), 1 (Australia)
Studio Albums Recorded: 11 (this includes her solo album which was released in 1996) 4 albums were released posthumously (these were collections of previously unreleased songs mostly outtakes from studio albums and songs recorded for television performances)
Total Albums Sold: 100 Million
Awards: 3 Grammy Awards, 1 American Music Award, "We've Only Just Begun" is inducted into The Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1998, "(They Long To Be) Close To You" is inducted into The Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2000, On October 12, 1983, Carpenters received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bands/Duets: Richard Carpenter Trio, Spectrum, Peter Cetera
Career span: 1965 to 1983
Trivia: In 1979, Richard Carpenter took a year off to cure a dependency on Quaaludes and Karen decided to make a solo album with producer Phil Ramone. Her solo work was markedly different from usual Carpenters fare, consisting of adult-oriented and jazz/funk disco/dance-tempo material with more sexual lyrics and the use of Karen's higher vocal register. After completing the album, Karen played it to A&M executives in New York with much approval. However, upon playing it to A&M executives in Los Angeles including Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss, with Phil Ramone and her brother Richard also in attendance, the response to the album was relatively negative. Ramone recalls that Karen broke down in tears. The album was shelved by A&M CEO Herb Alpert, in spite of Quincy Jones' attempts to talk Alpert into releasing the record after some tracks had been remixed. Carpenters fans got a taste of the album in 1989 when some of its tracks (as remixed by Richard) were mixed onto the album Lovelines, (a Carpenters' collection of new unreleased material). Seven years later, in 1996, the entire album, featuring mixes approved by Karen before her death and one unmixed bonus track, was finally released. One other note of interest about her solo album was that Karen called Ramone on February, 3, 1983 in the course of the conversation the solo album was brought up. Karen said in that conversation, according to Ramone, "I hope you don't mind if I curse. I still love our f****ng record. The very next morning Karen passed away.
Carpenters - Only Yesterday (1975)
Karen Carpenter (solo) - If We Try (1980)
Born in North Carolina on February 10, 1937. Roberta's first career was not in music, she became a teacher in the early 1960's in Washington DC at Browne Junior High and Rabaut Junior High. She also taught private piano lessons from her home. It was during this time period she began shaping a career in music. She performed in the evenings and weekends at local Washington DC area night spots including the Tivoli Club, 1520 Club and the Capitol Hill Night Club. It was in late 1968, during a benefit concert for the Inner City Ghetto Children's Library Fund that she was discovered. Jazz musician Les McCann was in the audience. He was so impressed with her performance that he arranged an audition for her with Atlantic Records producer Joel Dorn. Flack was signed to Atlantic Records and her first album "First Take" was recorded in less than ten hours. The album was released on June 20, 1969 and charted intermittently over the next few months. Finally on April 29, 1972 the album reched #1 on the U.S. billboard chart after the song "The First time Ever I Saw Your Face" was included in the Clint Eastwood movie "Play Misty For Me".
Roberta Flack Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 12
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 4 (The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Where Is The Love, Feel Like Making Love, If Ever I See you Again)
Top 40 Hits: 11 (US), 6 (UK), 9 (Canada)
#1 Hits: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (1972 US, Australia, Canada), Killing Me Softly With His Song (1973 US, Australia, Canada), Feel Like Making Love (1974 US, Canada), The Closer I Get To You (1978 Canada)
Biggest Hit: Killing Me Softly With His Song (1973)
Top Ten Albums: 4 (US), 2 (Canada), 1 (Australia)
# 1 Albums: 1 (US) "First Take"
Studio Albums Recorded: 20
Awards: 4 Grammy Awards, 1 American Music award
Duets: Recorded with Donny Hathaway (Where Is The Love, The Closer I Get To You), Peabo Bryson (Tonight, I Celebrate My Love), Maxi Priest (Set The Night To Music)
Career span: 1969 to Present
Trivia: On February 7, 2012 Roberta released her 19th sstudio album titled "Let It Be Roberta", a soul filled collection of Beatles covers. The album includes classic such as "We Can Work It Out", "Hey Jude", The Long and Winding Road", "Here There and Everywhere" and more Beatles standards. Flack takes each song and puts her own inimitable touch on them.
Roberta Flack - Feel Like Making Love (1974)
Carole King is one of the living legends of our time having written countless hit songs which have been recorded by artists spanning a multitude of genres such as the Chiffons, Grand Funk Railroad, Babyface, Celine Dion, Dave Mason, Aerosmith, Carpenters, Aretha Franklin, Laura Branigan, Amy Winehouse, Dionne Warwick, The Monkees, Little Eva, Rita Coolidge, James Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Gloria Estefan, Linda Ronstadt, The Beatles, Donny Osmond, Maxine Brown, Dusty Springfield, Billy Joel, Laura Nyro, The Drifters, Mary J. Blige and many others.
As a teenager Carole King dreamed of having a successful career in the entertainment business. Born in 1942 (in New York City) King attended Queens College where she met and dated Neil Sedaka. She was the inspiration for Sedaka's second hit single "Oh Carol!". At that point in time she spelled her first name without the "e" on the end. She also met Paul Simon and Gerry Goffin at Queens College. She later married Goffin and they had two daughters. Goffin and King formed a songwriting partnership and quickly became one of the most successful songwriting teams of all-time. Their first hit was "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" which reached #1 in 1961 as recorded by The Shirelles. In 1971 King released her landmark album "Tapestry" which peaked at #1 on the U.S. billboard chart for an amazing 15 weeks and has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and 25 million worldwide. "Tapestry" spawned the mega-hits; "I Feel The Earth Move", "So Far Away", "It's Too Late" and "Smackwater Jack".
Carole King Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 10 (US), 9 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 5 (US: It's Too Late, I Feel The Earth Move, Been To Canaan, Nightengale, Only Love Is Real), 1 (Canada: Jazzman)
Top 40 Hits: 12 (US), 2 (UK), 8 (Canada), 5 (France), 3 (Japan), 2 (Australia, Belgium), 1 (New Zealand, Poland, Switzerland)
#1 Hits: "It's To Late" (US, Canada), "I Feel The Earth Move" (US, Canada), "Jazzman" (France)
Biggest Hit: "It's Too Late" and "I Feel The Earth Move" (charted as a double A-side single in 1971)
Top Ten Albums: 7 (US), 4 (UK), 3 (Canada), 2 (Norway), 1 (Australia)
# 1 Albums: 3 (US) Tapestry, Music and Wrap Around Joy, 3 (Canada) Tapestry, Wrap Around Joy, Rhymes & Reasons, 1 (Australia) Tapestry
Studio Albums Recorded: 16
Total Albums Sold: approximately 20 million (US), approximately 75 million worldwide
Awards: 4 Grammy Awards, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame Inductions, 2 Grammy Awards Honors, Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990
Bands/Duets: The City (a 1968 trio including Danny Kotchmar and Charles Larkey), James Taylor
Career span: 1958 to present
Trivia: Carole King won 4 Grammy Awards at the 1971 Grammy Awards (televised in march 1972). She won; Record Of the Year ("It's Too Late"), Album Of the Year (Tapestry), Best Female Pop Vocal (Tapestry), and Song Of the Year ("You've Got A Friend"). James Taylor's version of "You've got A Friend" also won Best Male Pop Vocal. Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway released a duet of "You've Got a Friend" (around the same time as James Taylor) and reached #29 with their version.
Carole King - It's Too Late (1972)
Canadian born Anne Murray started taking piano lessons at the age of six and voice lessons when she was fifteen. One of her earliest performances was in 1962 during her high school graduation when she sang "Ave Maria". In college Murray studied physical education and became a phys ed teacher. After one year of teaching Murray was offered a spot on the television show "Let's Go" and after that returned to "Singalong Jubilee", which she had previously hosted. Now a regular cast member on Singalong Jubilee she recorded a few television soundtrack albums with the cast and was urged by the show's musical director, Brian Ahern, to record a solo album. In 1968 she released her first album called "What About Me". This album was a moderate hit in Canada. It was her second album which featured her golden hit "Snowbird" that launched Murray into a successful music career.
Anne Murray Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 18 (US), 42 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 8 (US), 24 (Canada)
Top 40 Hits: 11 (US), 24 (Canada), 2 (UK), 2 (Australia)
#1 Hits: "Cotton Jenny" (1972 Canada), "Danny's Song" (1972 Canada), "A Love Song (1973 Canada), "You Needed Me" (1978 US and Canada), "I Just Fall In Love Again" (1979 Canada)
Biggest Hit: "You Needed Me" (1978) also reached #2 in Australia and #22 in the UK
Top Ten Albums: 8 (Canada)
# 1 Albums: 2 (Canada) "Annie (1972), "Let's Keep It That Way" (1978)
Studio Albums Recorded: 32
Total Albums Sold: 55 million (worldwide)
Awards: 4 Grammy Awards, 3 CMA (Country Music Awards), 18 Juno Awards, 3 American Music Awards
Bands/Duets: Glen Campbell, Bryan Adams, Aaron Neville, Kenny Rogers
Career span: 1968 to present
Trivia: Oddly, Anne Murray's biggest hit, 1978's "You Needed Me" reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100 singles chart but only peaked at #4 on the U.S. country Music Chart and #3 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary Chart - when normally her singles would peak higher on the auxiliary charts.
Anne Murray - You Needed Me (1978)
Olivia Newton-John was one of the biggest selling female singers of the entire decade of the 70's mostly due to her starring role in the mega-hit musical "Grease". Born in Cambridge, England in 1948 (her family moved to Australia when she was six years old) Newton-John's first foray into music came at the age of fourteen when she formed the all girl group Sol Four with three class mates. They performed local coffee shops but quickly disbanded. After that she began appearing on several local Australian television shows including "The Happy Show", "Go Show" and "Sing, Sing, Sing". Early on she performed as "Lovely Livvy". During this time she met Pat Carroll, who became one of Olivia's early duet partners. She also met her future record producer John Farrar in this early period of her career. Newton-John recorded her first single, "Till You Say You'll Be Mine" b/w "Forever", in England for Decca Records in 1966. In 1970 Newton-John was recruited, by American producer Don Kirshner, to front the band Toomorrow, who recorded a soundtrack album for a science fiction film named "Toomorrow". The project failed and the group quickly disbanded. Finally after nine years on the music scene Newton-John meets with success when she teams with producer Bruce Johnson to record and release her second single "If Not for You", which was written by the legendary Bob Dylan. The song reached #25 in the US (#1 US Adult Contemporary) and #7 in both the UK and Australia.
Olivia Newton-John Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 20 (US), 22 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 10 (US), 11 (Canada)
Top 40 Hits: 26 (US), 23 (Canada), 18 (UK), 26 (Australia), 13 (Germany), 17 (New Zealand)
#1 Hits: "Banks Of Ohio" (1971 Australia), "I Honestly Love You" (1974 US, Canada, Australia), "Have You Never Been Mellow" (1975 US, Canada), "Please Mr. Please" (1975 Canada), "You're The One That I Want (1978 w/ John Travolta, US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, New Zealand), "Hopelessly Devoted To You" (1978 Canada), "Summer Nights" (1978 w/ John Travolta UK), "Magic" (1980 US, Canada), "Xanadu" (1980 w/ ELO UK, Germany), "Physical (1981 US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), "Grease Megamix (1990 Australia)
Biggest Hit: "Physical" (1981 US), "You're The One That I Want (1978 w/ John Travolta - Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 4 (US), 1 (UK), 5 (Canada), 8 (Australia), 9 (Japan), 1 (New Zealand), 2 (US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan - Soundtracks)
# 1 Albums: "If You Love Me Let Me Know (1974 US, Canada), "Have You Never Been Mellow" (1975 US), "Highlights From The Main Event (1999 Live, Australia), "Olivia's Greatest Hits Vol. 2" (1982 Australia), "Grease" (1978 Soundtrack US, UK, Canada, Australia, Japan), Xanadu (1980 Soundtrack Australia)
Studio Albums Recorded: 26
Total Albums Sold: 100 million (worldwide)
Awards: 4 Grammy Awards, 10 American Music Awards, Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame (1981), Hall of Fame (Australia 2002)
Bands/Duets: Toomorrow, Pat Carroll, John Travolta, Andy Gibb, Cliff Richard, John Denver, ELO
Career span: 1963 to present
Trivia: Many reputable sources claim Olivia's best friend in the music industry was Karen Carpenter. They both appeared on each others television specials, appeared on the Mike Douglas show together, took vacations together. Olivia even attended Karen's wedding. Despite their camaraderie they never recorded any music together.
Have You Never Been Mellow (1975)
Born on October 25, 1941 in Melbourne, Australia, Helen Reddy was born into a show business family well known in Australia. From a young age she was told that she would be a star and started dancing and singing on the Australian vaudeville circuit at the age of four. By the time she was twelve years old Reddy rebelled against the family business and decided that show business was not for her. She decided she wanted to be a housewife and mother. By the age of 16 she had already been married and divorced and pregnant. A few months after her divorce she gave birth to her daughter Traci. Now a single mom, Reddy got back into show business in order to support her daughter. Reddy sang on radio and television and eventually won a talent contest which brought her to the U.S. She stayed in the U.S. and pursued a singing career with little success. At one point she was down to her last $12, she and entertainer/hypnotist Martin St. James, threw a party to raise money, they charged a $5 admission fee. It was at this party that she met Jeff Wald whom she married three days later. Reddy admits she married Wald in order to legally live and work in the U.S. In the beginning Reddy and Wald were living on a very tight budget, with Reddy supporting the family on a $35 a night gig. In 1968 Reddy was signed to Fontana Records and released her first single "One Way Ticket". The single failed in the U.S. and managed to reach #83 in Australia. Within a year Wald and Reddy moved to Los Angeles, where Wald was hired to work at Capitol Records, but was fired on the same day. Wald eventually began managing acts such as Deep Purple and Tiny Tim, he was finally achieving success. Reddy became frustrated with Wald in that he had not made any efforts to promote her career and gave him an ultimatum. At this point Wald threw himself into his new career as Mr. Helen Reddy. With in 5 months Reddy was signed to Capitol Records for which she recorded the Mac Davis tune "I Believe In Music" and released it as a single with "I Don't Know How To Love Him" (from Jesus Christ Superstar) as the b-side. The a-side flopped but it was a Canadian DJ who started playing the b-side and "I Don't Know How To Love Him" became a huge hit for Reddy. Finally, Reddy was on solid ground to success in the entertainment industry.
Helen Reddy Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 15 (US)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 8 (US)
Top 40 Hits: 14 (US), 14 (Canada), 1 (UK), 7 (Australia), 8 (New Zealand), 2 (Netherlands, Ireland)
#1 Hits: "I Am Woman" (1972 US, Canada), "Delta Dawn" (1973 US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), "Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)(1973 Australia), "Angie Baby" (1974 US), "Free and Easy" (1975 New Zealand), "You're My World" (1977 Mexico)
Biggest Hit: "I Am Woman" (1973 US), "Delta Dawn" (1973 Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 3 (US)
# 1 Albums: 0
Studio Albums Recorded: 17
Total Albums Sold: 30 million (worldwide)
Awards: 1 Grammy Award, 1 American Music Award
Career span: 1970 - 2002
Trivia: In the Second-wave feminism, her song "I Am Woman" played a large role in popular culture and became a feminist anthem. Reddy came to be known as a "feminist poster girl" or a "feminist icon". "I Am Woman" was the first song by an Australian born artist to reach #1 on the U.S. charts. Helen Reddy died on September 29, 2020 in Los Angeles, aged 78. She suffered from Addison's disease and dementia in her later years. No cause of death was given.
Helen Reddy - Angie Baby (1974)
Linda Ronstadt (born in 1945), had a voice that easily blended with a multitude of genres spanning the musical spectrum, is considered by many to be a definitive interpreter of song. Some champion her as quite possibly the finest female vocalist of her time. Ronstadt teamed with Bobby Kimmel and Kenny Edwards to form the band Stone Poneys. They released their first album and single in 1967. Soon after that, with their third single, Stone Poneys achieved success with their cover version of Michael Nesmith's "Different Drum" which hit #13 on the US singles chart in 1968. The success of this single thrust Linda Ronstadt to the forefront and in 1969 she broke away from Stone Poneys to pursue a career as a solo artist.
Linda Ronstadt Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 12 (US), 14 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 2 (US), 3 (Canada)
Top 40 Hits: 20 (US), 23 (Canada), 3 (UK), 4 (Netherlands), 6 (New Zealand)
#1 Hits: "You're No Good" (1975 US), "Don't Know Much" (1989 w/ Aaron Neville Canada), "All My Life" (1989 w/ Aaron Neville Canada)
Biggest Hit: "You're No Good" (1975 US), "Don't Know Much" (1989 w/ Aaron Neville Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 10 (US), 3 (Australia), 6 (Canada), 1 (Netherlands), 2 (New Zealand)
# 1 Albums: 3 (US), 1 (Australia), 1 (Canada)
Studio Albums Recorded: 27
Total Albums Sold: 30 million (US), 100 million (worldwide)
Awards: 11 Grammy Awards, 1 American Music Award
Bands/Duets: Stone Poneys, Aaron Neville, Trio (with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton), Ann Savoy, James Ingram
Career span: 1967 to Present
Trivia: In 1987 Ronstadt released her first all Spanish language album titled "Canciones de mi Padre" (which means Songs of my Father). The album was received extremely well in the US reaching #42 on the album chart and #4 on the US Latin chart. The album also made it to #54 in Canada. It stands as the biggest selling non-English language album in American record history. The album has been RIAA certified Double-Platinum (for over 2 million US copies sold) and also won Ronstadt the Grammy Award for Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album at the 31st Grammy Awards. She released two more Spanish language albums "Mas Canciones" (1990) and "Frenesi" (1992).
Linda Ronstadt - You're No Good
Born in 1944 in Detroit, Michigan Ross began her singing career in 1959, while still in high school. She teamed up with a local doo-wop group called the Primettes which included group members Mary Wilson, Florence Ballard and Betty McGlown. In 1960 the group signed with Lu Pine Records and issued the Ross-led single "Tears of Sorrow". After winning a singing competition Ross convinced former neighbor Smokey Robinson to arrange an audition with Motown for the Primettes. Motown's CEO, Berry Gordy, was impressed with the group but refused to work with them as they were underage. The following year, now called The Supremes, Gordy signed them to Motown. After a string of 24 top 40 from 1964 to 1969 Diana Ross left the Supremes to pursue her solo career. Diana's debut single was "Reach Out (And Touch Somebody's Hand)" which was produced by Ashford and Simpson. The single sold moderately only reaching #20 on the US singles chart. It was her second single "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", which firmly established Diana Ross as a solo artist. The Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson written tune reached #1 on the charts and paved the way for many other classic tunes by the Motown diva.
Diana Ross Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 13 (US)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 4 (US)
Top 40 Hits: 27 (US), 22 (Canada), 46 (UK), 22 (Netherlands), 6 (Australia)
#1 Hits: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (1970 US), "I'm Still Waiting" (1971 UK), "Touch Me In The Morning (1973 US), "Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know where You're Going To)" (1975 US), "Love Hangover" (1976 US), "A Brand New Day (1978 w/ Michael Jackson Netherlands), "Endless Love (1981 w/ Lionel Richie US, Australia, Canada), "Why Do Fools Fall In Love" (1981 Netherlands), "Chain Reaction (1985 UK, Australia)
Biggest Hit: "Endless Love (1981 w/ Lionel Richie)
Top Ten Albums: 4 (US), 6 (Canada), 9 (Netherlands), 10 (UK)
# 1 Albums: "Lady Sings The Blues (1972 US), "One Woman: The Ultimate Collection (1993 UK)
Studio Albums Recorded: 25
Total Albums Sold: 120 million (Worldwide)
Awards: 1 Golden Globe, 1 Tony Award, 7 American Music Awards, Star on Hollywood Walk of fame in 1982, Inducted into the Soul Train Hall of Fame in 1995, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, Presidential Medal of Freedom (2016)
Bands/Duets: Primettes, The Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie, Julio Iglesias, Rod Stewart, Westlife, Al B. Sure, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder
Career span: 1959 to Present
Trivia: In late 1971, Motown announced that Diana Ross was going to portray jazz icon Billie Holiday in a Motown-produced film loosely based on Holiday's autobiography Lady Sings the Blues (1956) written by Holiday and William Dufty. The movie co-starred Billy Dee Williams as Holiday's lover, Louis McKay. The cast also included comedian Richard Pryor as the "Piano Man".
Some critics ridiculed Ross's casting in the role. Ross and Holiday were considered to be "miles apart" in vocal styling and appearance. Undeterred, Ross immersed herself in Holiday's music and life story. She went to drug clinics and talked with doctors as research for the role. Ross made a crucial decision when it came to interpreting Holiday's music. Instead of imitating Billie Holiday's voice, Ross focused on Holiday's seemingly inimitable vocal phrasing.
Opening in October 1972, Lady Sings the Blues was a major success, and Ross's performance was lauded and well received.
Diana Ross - Last Time I Saw Him (1973)
New York born Carly Simon began her career in music in 1964 (at the age of 19) with her sister Lucy forming the group The Simon Sisters. They released 2 albums and had a minor hit with "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" in 1964. The group quickly disbanded when Lucy left to get married and start a family. In 1968 Carly joined the politically active street band Elephant's memory as a vocalist. She left Elephant's Memory after only six months. In 1971 she began her solo career with the self titled album "Carly Simon" which included the hit "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be". The album rose to #30 on the US charts (#17 in Canada) and the single was a huge hit making it to #10 in the US and #15 in Canada. Her solo career was an immediate success as her second album "anticipation" was awarded Gold status and included the hits "Anticipation" and "Legend In Your Own Mind". At the same time her 3rd album "No Secrets" was released she married singer/songwriter James Taylor (November 3, 1972). The couple had two children a son and a daughter. They divorced in 1983.
Carly Simon Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 16 (US)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 2 (US)
Top 40 Hits: 13 (US), 22 (Canada), 7 (Australia), 8 (UK)
#1 Hits: "You're So Vain (1972 US, Australia, Canada)
Biggest Hit: "You're So Vain (1972 US/Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 5 (US), 3 (Canada), 2 (Australia), 1 (UK)
#1 Albums: "No Secrets (1972 US, Canada, Australia)
Studio Albums Recorded: 25
Total Albums Sold: ?
Awards: 2 Grammy Awards, 1 Academy Award, 1 Golden Globe, Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994, "You're So Vain" inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004
Bands/Duets: The Simon Sisters, Elephant's Memory, Lucy Simon, James Taylor, Mick Jagger, Livingston Taylor, Janet Jackson, Missy Elliot, Will Powers
Career span: 1964 to Present
Trivia: Simon was born in New York City, New York. Her father, of Jewish descent, was Richard L. Simon (co-founder of Simon & Schuster), a pianist who often played Chopin and Beethoven at home. Her mother was Andrea Louise Simon (née Heinemann), a civil rights activist and singer, of Black and German descent. In a 2004 interview with fashion designer Michael Kors for the July issue of Interview Magazine, Simon revealed her full ancestry as being Jewish, African, Cuban and French.
Carly Simon - You're So Vain (1972)
Barbra Streisand (born in Brooklyn, New York in 1942) holds many accolades. She holds the record for the most top-ten albums of any female recording artist – a total of 35 since 1963. According to the RIAA she is the best selling female artist in the U.S. of all-time. Barbra Joan Streisand joined the freshman Chorus and Choral Club while attending Erasmus Hall High School. She became a nightclub singer while still in her teens. She also had aspirations of being an actress and appeared in several Off-Off Broadway productions including "Driftwood" (1959) which starred Joan Rivers. In 1960 and 1961 Streisand played nightclubs across the U.S. and Canada. Streisand's first television appearance was on The Tonight Show, then hosted by Jack Paar, in 1961, singing Harold Arlen's "A Sleepin' Bee", Orson Bean was the guest host on that particular night. Streisand became a semi-regular on PM East/PM West, a talk/variety series. It was her in the Broadway production of Miss Marmelstein which made Streisand a star in 1962. On February 25, 1963 her debut album "The Barbra Streisand album" was released and was a huge success reaching # in the U.S. and #6 in Australia. The album also won two Grammy Awards.
Barbra Streisand Stats:
Top Ten Adult Contemporary Hits: 35 (US), 21 (Canada)
#1 Adult Contemporary Hits: 8 (US), 11 (Canada)
Top 40 Hits: 21 (US), 18 (Canada), 16 (UK), 8 (Ireland)
#1 Hits: "The Way We Were (1974 US, Canada), "Evergreen" (1977 US, Canada), "My Heart Belongs To Me" (1977 Canada), "Songbird (1978 Canada), "You Don't Bring Me Flowers (1978 w/ Neil Diamond - US, Canada), "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (1979 w/ Donna Summer - US, Canada), "Woman In Love" (1980 US, Canada, UK, Ireland), "I Finally Found Someone (1996 w/ Bryan Adams - Ireland)
Biggest Hit: "Evergreen" (1977 - US), "Woman In Love" (1980 - Worldwide)
Top Ten Albums: 35 (US), 17 (Canada), 15 (UK), 12 (Netherlands), 9 (New Zealand), 4 (Spain), 7 (Norway), 17 (Australia), 6 (Austria), 4 (Sweden), 2 (Germany), 2 (Switzerland), 4 (Spain), 3 (France)
#1 Albums: 11 (US), 6 (Canada), 7 (UK), 1 (Netherlands), 4 (New Zealand), 1 (Spain), 2 (Norway), 3 (Australia), 1 (Austria), 2 (Sweden), 1 (Switzerland), 1 (France)
Studio Albums Recorded: 36
Total Albums Sold: 180 Million
Awards: 15 Grammy Awards, 3 People's Choice Awards, Inducted in to Grammy Hall Of Fame (3 times 2004, 2006, 2008), Grammy Living Legend (1992), Grammy Lifetime Achievement (1994), 2 Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, Presidential Medal Of Freedom (2015)
Bands/Duets: Barry Gibb, Donna Summer, Neil Diamond, Kim Carnes, Michael Crawford, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Don Johnson, Vince Gill
Career span: 1957 to Present
Trivia: Streisand has personally raised $25 million for organizations through her live performances. The Streisand Foundation, established in 1986, has contributed over $16 million through nearly 1,000 grants to "national organizations working on preservation of the environment, voter education, the protection of civil liberties and civil rights, women's issues and nuclear disarmament. In 2008, Streisand gifted $5 million to endow the Barbra Streisand Women's Cardiovascular Research and Education Program at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's Women's Heart Center.
Barbra Streisand - Evergreen
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