Black Box – Everybody, Everybody (1990)

This is just one of the many great songs you’d hear on The Beat Chicago. 

There’s enough stations playing rock n’ roll classics and the same 80’s songs from Bon Jovi, Journey, John Cougar, Elton John all day long and that’s all cool but, when you want something completely different?  When you want everything from Marvin Gaye, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Spinners to Stevie B, C+C Music Factory and more of the music that keeps you movin?  We’re it.

See, we’re all about the classics too…. Classic R&B and dance of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, freestyle and more.  For us, it’s not about how old a song is, it’s about how good it is and this is as good as it gets.

It’s 1990 and Martha Wash’s voice is all over the place and yet she’s not getting any credit for it. First it was C+C Music Factory hitting with “Everybody Dance Now (Sweat) this and a few others including another Black Box hit “Strike It Up”.  The ‘Italian house sound’ was alive and well

Daniele Davoli, Valerio Semplici, and Mirko Limoni formed a production team called Starlight (often credited as Starlight Invention Group) in 1988. 

Later that year, the group changed their name to Black Box and began working on their first album. The group also added French Caribbean model Katrin Quinol to the lineup as the group’s image and who would go on to lip sync their songs in music videos and on televised performances. In July 1989, Black Box released their single “Ride On Time”. The single became an international hit, peaking at number-one in three counties including the UK for which it became UK’s best-selling single of 1989, selling over 1.5 million copies worldwide. In November 1989, they released a single “Grand Piano” under the alias Mixmaster. The song peaked at number-nine hit on the UK Singles chart. In December 1989, they released a follow-up single “I Don’t Know Anybody Else”. The song became an international top-ten hit and gave the group their first number-one song on Billboard‘s Dance chart. In March 1990, they released their third single “Everybody Everybody”. Like its predecessors, the song also became an international hit and earned the group their second number-one on the Dance chart. The song has become Black Box’s highest charting single to date.

In May 1990, they released their debut album Dreamland. Despite its moderate performance on the charts, the album became certified gold in the United Kingdom and United States.  All of this came initially, at the expense of dance icon Martha Wash.

Matha Wash was the voice we all heard in the songs but not the images we saw in the music videos.  Not only that, she wasn’t properly credited for any of it.  The way it happened was planned, it was ignorant for sure and deceptive. 

Martha’s break came when she was one half of disco star Sylvester’s background singers known as Two Tons O’f Fun, her partner in crime was Izora Armstead who passed away in 2004.  The two would sign a deal with Fantasy Records in 1979 and had success with disco hits including “Just Us”, “Earth Can Be Just Like Heaven” and “I Got the Feeling”.  Their second album would yield one disco hit in 1980 titled “I Depend On You.”  In 1982, Cher, Barbra Streisand and others turned down mega-producer Paul Jabara’s “It’s Raining Men” but Martha and Izora didn’t, they became The Weather Girls for the 1982 hit that sold over 6,000,000 units.

Through the 80’s, Martha was a busy studio singer, she had worked with David Cole (one of the C’s in the Grammy Award winning, U.S. Dance Music Hall of Fame artist known as C+C Music Factory) a former New York City DJ and session musician for Fleetwood Mac, Janet Jackson and others.  He was also Wash’s pianist and musical director in the Weather Girls.  [The other half of C+C Music Factory was Robert Clivilles and included Freedom Williams and Zelma Davis].

Martha was doing demos for David on and off at that time, Seduction and C+C Music Factory were just part of those session demos she recorded and got passed over in the credits, only getting “backing vocal” credit when it was all her.

The same thing would happen with Black Box.  For more on this story, CLICK HERE for a great article about it all on Rolling Stone.

In the end, the Grammy nominated singer sued everyone that denied her her due and won.  RCA wound up paying and giving her a record contract.

David Cole passed away on January 24, 1995.  

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Black Box
Martha Wash
C+C Music Factory