"I'm so sorry to hear this. Loleatta was one of the really great dance artists with a beautiful, big voice. On a personal level, she was very fun and full of life, a joy to be around. She was really sweet and we'll miss her but we still have her music." - Candi Staton
"She was my dear friend, and I will love and miss her always." - Linda Clifford
It is with much sadness that we learned of the passing of Loleatta Holloway on March 21, 2011. Probably best known for her work in the dance music field with tracks like "Love Sensation," "Re-light My Fire" (with Dan Hartman) and "Right on Time," Loleatta first became known to soul music fans through her early recordings for GRC Records (fully documented on the Ace Records compilation, "The Hotlanta Soul Of Loleatta Holloway." The standout was of course the Sam Dees-penned classic "Cry To Me" which established Loleatta as an R&B hitmaker.
As noted in the 1977 classic interview I did with Loleatta now published here at Soul Music.com , she recognized that the growing importance of dance music (or disco as it was known back then) required some change in approach: within a few years, Loleatta was hailed as a dance diva and with her powerful soulful vocal style, she made her mark on the mainstream music scene.
I only met her a couple of times but I can attest to what a great 'character' she was, upbeat, funny and earthy. My last memory is of seeing her writhing around the stage (literally), Patti LaBelle-style, at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, round the the corner from where I lived. She grinned lasciviously as she entertained the mostly gay audience (acquired for the most part during the late '70s and early '80s) who loved Loleatta's 'naughtiness'! I spoke with her briefly afterwards and she was exactly how I had remembered her, ever-witty and real. She leaves behind a fine legacy of music and while I can remember boogeying to Loleatta at The Paradise Garage in New York City circa 1979, it is soulful recordings like "Worn Out Broken Heart," "Just Be True" and "Rainbow '71" that will remain with me forever. RIP, Loleatta, and thank you for bringing joy to so many with your big heart and big smile.
About the Writer
David Nathan is the founder and CEO of SoulMusic.com and began his writing career in 1965; beginning in 1967, he was a regular contributor to Blues & Soul magazine in London before relocating to the U.S. in 1975 where he served as U.S. editor for the publication for several decades and began being known as 'The British Ambassador Of Soul.' From 1988 to 2004, he wrote prolifically for Billboard, has penned bios, produced and written liner notes for box sets and reissue CDs for over a thousand projects. He returned to London in 2009 where he has helped create SoulMusic.com Records as a leading reissue label.