Category: the honey cone

On this day in music history: June 12, 1971 – …

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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On this day in music history: September 18, 19…

On this day in music history: September 18, 1971 – “Stick-Up” by The Honey Cone hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 on the same date. Written by General Johnson, Angelo Bond and Greg Perry, it is the second chart topping single for the R&B vocal trio from Los Angeles, CA. Not long after being signed to former Motown songwriter and producers Holland/Dozier/Holland’s Hot Wax Records, The Honey Cone (Edna Wright, Carolyn Willis, Shelly Clark) release their debut single “While You’re Out Looking For Sugar?” (#26 R&B, #62 Pop) in June of 1969. They hit the R&B top ten with their second release “Girls It Ain’t Easy” (#8 R&B, #68 Pop), but their next two singles “Take Me With You” (#28 R&B, #108 Pop) and “When Will It End” (#117 Pop) fail to keep up the momentum. With the groups first four singles being written by HDH under the pseudonyms “Ron Dunbar and Edith Wayne” (due to still being in litigation with Motown), the team decide to let other writers try to write a hit for the group. Chairmen Of The Board lead singer Norman “General” Johnson, Angelo Bond and Greg Perry come up with the goods immediately, when they pen the instant classic “Want Ads” (#1 R&B and Pop) in early 1971. For the follow up, the trio return to a song written before that break through hit. “Stick Up” is literally the flip side of “Want Ads”, featuring a very similar chord structure, but reversed. The songs narrative is a continuation of the previous song, with the female protagonist falling for a man who literally loves her and leaves her. Upset at being duped by him, she conspires to “set a tender trap”, ending up pregnant by him as depicted in the lyric “I’ll wear a smile down the aisle, ‘cause he’s the father of my child”. “Stick-Up” is recorded at HDH Sound Studios in Detroit, MI, an old movie theater on Grand River Avenue converted into a recording facility by the producers. The track features a number of prominent local musicians including Motown Funk Brothers Bob Babbitt (bass), Dennis Coffey, Eddie Willis (guitar), Johnny Griffith (keyboards), Jack Ashford and Eddie “Bongo” Brown (percussion). It also features a then sixteen year old Ray Parker, Jr. (guitar), Sylvester Rivers (keyboards) and Zachary Taylor (drums). Another Motown legend, arranger Paul Riser also writes the string arrangement for the song. Released as the second single from the Honey Cone’s third album “Soulful Tapestry”, it is an immediate smash, quickly racing up the R&B and pop charts, becoming the groups second million seller. “Stick-Up” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

On this day in music history: June 12, 1971 – …

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.