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>Notown Records

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>Brenda Holloway has probably one of my very favorite soul/pop songs of the early 60’s, “When I’m Gone”, but it only hit #25 on the top 100. Her voice was sweet like Mary Wells and Diana Ross, but had an edge, like Martha Reeves. “When I’m Gone” is tense because she transitions from soft to hard at key moments – a technique all smart girls should know. Girl wrote her own songs, showed her nana’s on album covers, and played with the Beatles at their big Shea Stadium concert, but she wasn’t a real hit. What does it take in this country to make it big? Bitch, I salute you no matter what. Maybe Motown stifled her with a lack of promotion, highlighted in this article:

Brenda Holloway says “Motown didn’t believe a woman could cut it alone, but if I got a male co-writer it was alright!”


“I was very sexy at the time. My skin couldn’t breathe unless it was exposed! My costumes were made for sex appeal not for women. In fact women wanted to pull me off that stage and knock my teeth out because they thought I was flirting with their men. I was influenced by Tina Turner. But when I was touring the Southern states, trying to be like Tina, Smokey Robinson told me not to do it again. He said “You have a voice, you don’t need to act like her”. So I tried to tone down by act, but it didn’t work for me”. Brenda Holloways’ decision to leave Motown stemmed from frustration “I just walked out. I was actually in the middle of a recording session with Smokey Robinson, when I ran away to L.A. He later called me there and I told him I didn’t want to be with Motown anymore. There was no future there for me because there was a long span when I was doing nothing. Then when Gladys Knight came in to do my songs that was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.

Written by alexgfrank

December 3, 2008 at 5:44 pm