Black Box
Martha Wash
Born: 12.28.1953
Age: 63
In 1989, the trio teamed up with singer/ model Catherine Quinol (a.k.a. Katrin) and formed Black Box. By early 1990, Martha Wash was engaged to perform vocals on a number of tracks which, Ms. Wash was apparently told, were for club consumption and were not for mass-release. One would be "Everybody Everybody" which would become one of their two top-ten hits in North America. The album 'Dreamland' was released.

The first single "Ride on Time" was an international hit, making Top 10 in many countries and No. 1 in the UK, soon becoming the UK's best-selling single of 1989. The song heavily sampled "Love Sensation" by Loleatta Holloway, a 1980 disco hit. The Black Box title is derived from a misunderstanding of the lyrics "Cause you're right on time". Dan Hartman, writer and producer of "Love Sensation", was not sought for permission to sample his song, and soon after the international success of "Ride on Time," questions arose as to the true vocalist on the song. Legal proceedings ruled that Loleatta Holloway was the actual singer on" Ride on Time "(albeit by means of the" Love Sensation "vocal samples) and Black Box surrendered a large percentage of the royalties from the song to Hartman and Holloway. The song eventually did make it onto the 'Dreamland' album when it was released later in 1990 as well as the 'Hits and Mixes' compilation, and numerous other compilations. A new version of the track with vocals by Heather Small appeared solely as a single. Subsequent releases, as well as the album tracks, also featured a then-uncredited Martha Wash as vocalist. Quinol lip-synched the vocals in" live "performances and in music videos. Martha Wash sued Black Box, RCA and then C+C Music Factory for performing vocals on their respective songs and not receiving due credit. These legal actions led to the legal recognition of vocalists who perform songs for other artists, including samplings. Wash received full vocal credit upon the single release of" Strike It Up ", but the music video still featured Quinol lip synching the lyrics.

A megamix featuring cuts already released and entitled "The Total Mix" performed well in the charts towards the end of 1990. Various minor hits followed in the UK throughout the decade. In America, they are best remembered for their early '90s singles "Everybody Everybody", "I Don't Know Anybody Else", and "Strike It Up", their biggest hit in the United States, where all three of their hits are still heard on rhythmic radio and in clubs on a fairly regular basis to this day.

Black Box remain one of the few piano-house groups to achieve mainstream success in America. 'Dreamland' earned a gold disc in both the UK and the US and achieved double-platinum status in Australia where it spent eight weeks at #1 during early 1991. Along the way, it also spawned six massive hit singles, both on the mainstream charts and in the clubs.
This page was last updated 16.02.2010 09:29:35 AM
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