Dee Dee Sharp

Dee Dee Sharp

Considered one of the first black female solo vocalists from Philadelphia to achieve success in the early '60s, Dee Dee Sharp has consistently transformed her recording career, starting as a dance craze queen and emerging in the late '70s as a pop/soul stylist whose work has been enjoyed and embraced by avid music lovers on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond.

Dee Dee (born Dione LaRue) started her musical journey singing in her grandfather's church choir.  In 1961, she started doing background work on sessions for Philadelphia's famed Cameo-Parkway label whose roster also included the hitmaking Chubby Checker.  Already dubbed the 'king of the Twist,' Checker duetted with Dee Dee on "Slow Twistin,'" a Top 3 pop and R&B hit in early 1962.  Within a few weeks, her first solo single "Mashed Potato Time" was hurling up to the top of the R&B charts, giving Dee Dee a million-selling Top 3 pop smash. 

Seen on national t.v. shows and constantly on tour throughout the U.S., Dee Dee continued her hit streak with "Ride!" and "Do The Bird," both Top 10 hits and stayed with Cameo, cutting a total of five albums for the label.  In 1966, she recorded briefly for Fairmount before signing with Atco Records.  While she did not score any hits during her two years with the label, singles like "My Best Friend's Man" and a duet with Ben E. King (a version of Doris Troy's "Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It") did achieve airplay. 

In 1968, Dee Dee signed with Gamble Records, owned by producer Kenneth Gamble whom she had married a year earlier; a single, "What Kind of Lady" became a much-treasured gem among ardent U.K. soul fans.  Dee Dee took time off from her career in the early '70s, re-emerging in 1975 as a recording artist with Gamble and partner Leon Huff's Philadelphia International Records. 

Over a five-year period as Dee Dee Sharp Gamble, she recorded a total of three albums for the label, "Happy 'Bout The Whole Thing," "What Color Is Love" and "Dee Dee."  Her 1976 version of 10cc's "I'm Not In Love" and a 1981 single "I Love You Anyway" were both Top 100 R&B hits while her albums generated critical acclaim and appreciation in the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Contributed by David Nathan, http://www.soulmusic.com/

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