Category: deniece williams

On this day in music history: May 15, 1982 – &…

On this day in music history: May 15, 1982 – “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” by Deniece Williams hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #10 on the Hot 100 on June 12, 1982. Written by Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein and Lou Stallman, it is the second R&B chart topper for the Grammy Award winning songstress from Gary, IN. Co-written by New York based songwriter Teddy Randazzo (“Goin’ Out Of My Head”, “Hurt So Bad”), the song is originally written for Little Anthony & The Imperials, but instead is recorded by the female R&B vocal group The Royalettes when Randazzo is in a financial dispute with Don Costa Productions over royalty payments for the previous hits he has penned for Little Anthony. The Royalettes, who record for MGM Records have a minor hit (#28 R&B) with “Miracle” in 1965. Producer and arranger Thom Bell suggests to Williams that she record “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle”, while they are working their second album together. The track is cut at the famed Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia in late 1981, with musicians such as Bob Babbitt (bass, piccolo bass), Bobby Eli (guitar), Charles Collins (drums), and Larry Washington (percussion). Issued as a single in March of 1982, it quickly becomes a hit on R&B radio, and crosses over to the pop singles chart. The success of “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” sends Williams’ accompanying album “Niecy” into the top five on the Billboard R&B album chart and the top twenty on the Top 200 in mid 1982.

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On this day in music history: September 13, 19…

On this day in music history: September 13, 1976 – “This Is Niecy”, the debut album by Deniece Williams is released. Produced by Maurice White and Charles Stepney, it is recorded at Wally Heider Studios in Los Angeles, CA, Davlen Sound Studios in North Hollywood, CA and Kendun Recorders in Burbank, CA from June – August 1976. Born and raised in Gary, IN, Deniece Williams (nee Chandler) begins her recording career in shortly before graduating from high school, recording several singles for Toddlin’ Town and Lock Records. When none of the singles make any significant waves outside the mid west, she marrie and starts a family. The music business beckons again in 1971 when Deniece’s cousin John Harris who also works for Motown superstar Stevie Wonder, plays her single “Love Is Tears” for him. Immediately taken with her sweet mellifluous five octave voice, Wonder invites her to audition for his band Wonderlove. She is hired as a background vocalist and spends the next four years with Stevie’s band. During her tenure, Wonder discusses producing an album for Deniece. But with his own career in full swing, the project never happens, with Williams leaving in 1975. During this time, she meets Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire who happens to be in the audience at one of Stevie’s shows. The EWF bandleader is also taken with Willams’ voice, and offers to work with her. By early 1976, Deniece is signed to White’s Kalimba Productions who assists in getting her signed to Columbia Records. Also a gifted songwriter in her own right, Williams writes or co-writes six of the seven songs on her debut. Backed by the members of Earth, Wind & Fire, sessions begin the Spring of 1976. One of the immediate standouts is the song “Free” (#2 R&B, #25 Pop), co-written with former Wonderlove band mates Hank Redd, Nathan Watts and Susaye Greene. Issued as the first single in the Fall of 1976, “Free” takes off quickly, racing into the top five on the R&B singles charts and the top 30 on the pop chart. The song is also a smash internationally, hitting #1 in the UK in early 1977, keeping her former boss Stevie Wonder’s single “Sir Duke” from topping the UK singles chart. In an ironic twist, “Free” is prevented from reaching #1 on the R&B chart by Wonder’s previous single “I Wish”. The track “Cause You Love Me Baby” (#74 R&B), released on the B-side of “Free” also receives significant airplay on R&B stations and charts briefly. The album spins off two more singles including “That’s What Friends Are For” (#65 R&B, #103 Pop) and “It’s Important To Me” (#13 Club Play). Originally released on CD in 1990, it is remastered and reissued in 2006, containing one bonus track. “Niecy” is remastered and reissued a second time in 2012 by Big Break Records, including three additional bonus tracks. “This Is Niecy” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirty three on the Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Born on this day: June 3, 1950 – Singer and so…

Born on this day: June 3, 1950 – Singer and songwriter Deniece Williams (born June Deniece Chandler in Gary, IN). Happy 68th Birthday, “Niecy”!!!

On this day in music history: June 2, 1984 – “…

On this day in music history: June 2, 1984 – “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” by Deniece Williams hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, topping the Club Play chart for 1 week on May 19, 1984, also topping the Hot 100 for 2 weeks on May 26, 1984. Written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford, it is the third R&B and second pop chart topping single for the singer and songwriter from Gary, IN born June Deniece Chandler. Oscar winning songwriter Dean Pitchford (“Fame”), writes the song “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” with lyricist Tom Snow (“He’s So Shy”, “Make A Move On Me”, “You Should Hear How He Talks About You”) for the film “Footloose”, to underscore a scene in the film where Kevin Bacon teaches an awkward Chris Penn how to dance. When selecting artists to record the songs for the soundtrack, Pitchford asks Deniece Williams and producer George Duke if they will consider doing the song for the soundtrack. Duke is not enamored of it, but Williams persuades him to work on it with her. Assembling a group of musicians that includes Paul Jackson, Jr. (guitars), Paulinho da Costa (percussion), Duke himself on synthesizers and Linn Drum programming, the track also features songwriters George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam (“How Will I Know “, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Waiting For A Star To Fall”) on background vocals. Pitchford hears the results of the first vocal session and rejects the track initially, feeling that Williams sings it “too cutesy”. With the deadline for its inclusion in the film looming, she flies back to L.A. to re-record her vocals, which she does in only twenty minutes of studio time. Released as a single in late March of 1984, it is the second breakout smash from the soundtrack, following the chart topping success of the Kenny Loggins performed title track. “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: May 15, 1982 – &…

On this day in music history: May 15, 1982 – “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” by Deniece Williams hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #10 on the Hot 100 on June 12, 1982. Written by Teddy Randazzo, Bobby Weinstein and Lou Stallman, it is the second R&B chart topper for the Grammy Award winning songstress from Gary, IN. Co-written by New York based songwriter Teddy Randazzo (“Goin’ Out Of My Head”, “Hurt So Bad”), the song is originally written for Little Anthony & The Imperials, but instead is recorded by the female R&B vocal group The Royalettes when Randazzo is in a financial dispute with Don Costa Productions over royalty payments for the previous hits he has penned for Little Anthony. The Royalettes, who record for MGM Records have a minor hit (#28 R&B) with “Miracle” in 1965. Producer and arranger Thom Bell suggests to Williams that she record “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” while they are working their second album together. The track is cut at the famed Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia in late 1981 with musicians such as Bob Babbitt (bass, piccolo bass), Bobby Eli (guitar), Charles Collins (drums), and Larry Washington (percussion). Issued as a single in March of 1982, it quickly becomes a hit on R&B radio and crosses over to the pop singles chart. The success of “It’s Gonna Take A Miracle” sends Williams’ accompanying album “Niecy” into the top five on the Billboard R&B album chart and the top twenty on the Top 200 in mid 1982.