The District Insider

Patti LaBelle

Published on Jul 15, 2014 by Broward Center for the Performing Arts

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Patti Labelle is an American treasure. Her career began as she was the lead singer of Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, who was most recognized for the disco song, “Lady Marmalade”.  The group’s most memorable hit single was “I Sold My Heart to the Junkman”, which eventually reached the Billboard Top 20. LaBelle’s solo career took off shortly after the group disbanded in 1977 and crossed over to pop music with “On My Own”, “If Only You Knew”, “If You Asked Me To”, “Stir It Up” and “New Attitude”. In 1977, Labelle released her first self-titled album on Epic Records, highlighting the dance singles, “Joy To Have Your Love” and “Dan Swit Me” and the pop-R&B ballad, “You Are My Friend”.

Labelle found success outside of music, and made her Broadway revue in the revival of Your Arm’s Too Short to Box With God with Al Green. Shortly after her Broadway run, in 1982, she recorded “The Best Is Yet To Come,” which led her to her first top 20 R&B hit and her first Grammy nomination in the spring of 1983. Another album was released in 1983, “If Only You Knew” and another, “I’m In Love Again” the following month. The success of the song “If Only You Knew” reached #1 on the R&B Singles and was the first charted hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and eventually reached gold in the U.S. Labelle reached pop audiences with her hit releases “New Attitude” and “Stir It Up” where she was in the Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

In 1991, Labelle received her first Grammy win for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, for her album Burnin’, which had spawned three top ten hits on Billboard’s R&B chart also selling half a million copies becoming her third gold album. Her 1994 album, Gems and 1997 follow-up, Flame, were also certified gold and LaBelle’s 1990s singles, “The Right Kinda Lover” and “When You Talk About Love” hit number-one on the dance charts.

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