Honey Cone

Honey Cone was an American R&B and soul singing girl group who was most famous for the #1 hit, "Want Ads". They were the premier female group for Hot Wax Records, operated by the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland writing and producing team in the very early-1970s after the team departed from Motown Records.


Biography


Edna Wright, Carolyn Willis, and Shelly Clark comprised the vocal trio Honey Cone, which only stayed together for four years but was still one of the best female soul groups of the early '70s. Although Honey Cone (which lead singer Wright formed in 1969) was based in Los Angeles, their recordings were Northern-style soul ??? specifically, Detroit soul. Martha & the Vandellas and the Marvelettes ??? two of the female vocal groups who represented Motown Records' sound in the '60s ??? were among Honey Cone's main influences, and the group (which favored a blend of sweetness and grit) worked closely with three producer/songwriters who used to work at Motown: Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland. However, Honey Cone's members had been in the music industry before they joined forces with the famous Holland/DozierHolland team. Willis (born 1946, Los Angeles, CA) had been with Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, who were known for '60s hits like "Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?" and "Not Too Young to Get Married." Clark (born in 1947, Brooklyn, NY) was an ex-member of the Ikettes, (Ike & Tina Turner's female backup singers), while Wright (born 1944, Los Angeles, CA) had been with The Blossoms. In fact, Wright's older sister is singer/actress Darlene Love, who was a member of Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans as well as the Blossoms (in addition to doing a lot of recording by herself). Wright also recorded as a solo artist in the '60s; her Champion single "A Touch of Venus" (recorded under the pseudonym Sandy Wynns) was a small regional hit in Southern California. And like so many of the soul singers who were active in the '60s and '70s, Wright wasn't without gospel credentials. She had a Christian upbringing and sang gospel with the Church of God in Christ Singers, but ended up making secular R&B her primary focus.


Wright, Clark, and Willis had only been together a few months when, in 1969, the group caught the attention of Eddie Holland (who came up with the name Honey Cone). The prolific Holland/Dozier/Holland team (which wrote countless mega-hits for Motown artists) had recently left Motown and started their own Detroit-based soul label Hot Wax/Invictus, and Honey Cone became the company's first signing. Honey Cone's first release, a 1969 single titled "While You're Out Looking for Sugar," was also Hot Wax's first release. The very Motown-sounding tune was not a major hit; it reached number 26 on Billboard's R&B singles chart and number 62 on the magazine's pop singles chart. But for a small upstart label, that single was a decent start. Honey Cone's next single, "Girls, It Ain't Easy," was equally Motown-sounding and did become a major hit, reaching number eight on Billboard's R&B singles chart. After that, Honey Cone enjoyed their biggest hit of all, "Want Ads", which reached number one on Billboard's R&B and pop singles charts.


In 1971, Honey Cone had another number one R&B hit with "Stick Up," which was also a number 11 pop hit. And a few more major hits followed in 1972, including the ballad "The Day I Found Myself" and the Latin-influenced "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" (a number five R&B single and a number 15 pop hit). But as big as Honey Cone was from 1969???1972, it didn't fare as well in 1973; none of the three Honey Cone singles that Hot Wax put out in 1973 ("If I Can't Fly," "The Truth Will Come Out," and "Ace in the Hole") were big hits. Sadly, Hot Wax/Invictus experienced a serious cash flow problem in 1973, despite having put out big sellers by Honey Cone as well as Freda Payne, 100 Proof Aged in Soul, Laura Lee, and the Chairmen of the Board. The problem wasn't that Hot Wax/Invictus' releases lacked commercial appeal; the problem, was that the company was not getting paid by its independent distributors. In 1973, Honey Cone broke up, and Hot Wax/Invictus went out of business the following year. Wright went on to record by herself, providing the solo LP Oops! Here I Go Again for RCA in 1976. That same year, Willis scored a Top 10 hit as credited backing vocalist on the Seals and Crofts hit "Get Closer."


In more recent years, Edna Wright has been performing across the US with Latari Martin and Melodye Perry as "Edna Wright and The Honey Cone", most recently appearing as a featured act at Teatro Zinzanni in San Francisco.


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Original Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey Cone