- 🇺🇸 Atascadero, CA
- Years Active
1962 - Now
Brenda Holloway ranks among the most talented performers ever to sign to Motown Records, although her tenure with the label managed to generate only a handful of chart hits.
Holloway was raised in Los Angeles' Watts district, and dedicated her life to music from an early stage, studying classical violin and mastering a series of instruments in addition to singing in church choirs as well as the Wattesians, a girl group also featuring her younger sister, Patrice. Holloway was only 15 years old when she released her debut single "Hey Fool" in February 1962 on producer Bob Keane's Donna label; a series of efforts for local L.A. labels followed, although Patrice was the first of the sisters to enjoy commercial success with her "Do the Del-Viking," which Brenda co-wrote.
Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr. signed both Brenda and Patrice on the same day - the first West Coast acts ever under contract with the label - although contractual issues conspired to abbreviate Patrice's tenure. Brenda Holloway reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 with her first Motown release, the stunning ballad "Every Little Bit Hurts," but she never scaled the same commercial heights again, despite opening for the Beatles on their historic 1965 U.S. tour. Holloway alleged Motown undermined her career by saving its best material for other acts and prioritizing rivals like the Supremes, and she quit the label in early 1968, a few months after the release of the Top 40 hit "You've Made Me So Happy," which she co-wrote. The song was later a million seller for jazz-rock ensemble Blood, Sweat & Tears.
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