On this day in music history: June 12, 1971 – “Want Ads” by The Honey Cone hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 3 weeks on May 29, 1971. Written by Norman “General” Johnson, Barney Perkins and Greg Perry, it is the biggest hit for the Los Angeles, CA based female vocal trio fronted by lead singer Edna Wright. Formed in 1969, The Honey Cone consists of Edna Wright (the younger sister of singer Darlene Love), Carolyn Willis formerly a member of the Phil Spector produced vocal group Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans (with Darlene Love), and Shelly Clark formerly a member of The Ikettes in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue and part time member of The Blossoms. The group are the first act signed to Holland – Dozier – Holland’s newly established Hot Wax label (distributed by Buddah Records) after the songwriting and production team left Motown the previous year. The Honey Cone score four chart singles, mostly on the R&B chart during their first year and a half together with “Girls It Ain’t Easy” (#8 R&B, #68 Pop) making the biggest splash. Their fifth single “Want Ads” is written by Chairmen Of The Board lead singer General Johnson along with recording engineer Barney Perkins and producer Greg Perry. Initially, Johnson and Perry write a song called “Stick Up”, but don’t feel that it’s strong enough, so they change the chords around and Johnson come up with the opening line “wanted, young man single and free”, turning it into a song about a woman looking for her ideal man. The song is first recorded with the group Glass House featuring future Supreme Scherrie Payne (sister of singer Freda Payne). When that version is rejected, they try recording it on Freda Payne, which is also shelved. Finally, The Honey Cone put their vocals on the track. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on April 10, 1971, it climbs to the top of the chart nine weeks later. Ironically, the initially rejected “Stick Up” is issued as the follow up to “Want Ads”, also hitting number one on the R&B chart and peaking at number eleven on the Hot 100 in September of 1971. “Want Ads” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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