Top 10 Brenda Holloway Songs

Brenda Holloway Songs

Our Top 10 Brenda Holloway Songs looks one of the leading musical talents that made Motown Records as popular as it was during the 1960s. Brenda Holloway is best known for her soulful recordings in the R&B genre of music. Prior to achieving her stardom, Holloway was born and raised in the state of California, mostly in the Los Angeles area. Already learning how to play and sing music since she was a small child, Holloway and her sister, Patrice, sang at the church choir and began singing as a backup artist for a number of R&B groups as a teenager. Brenda Holloway developed a personal fondness for classical music, which contributed to her soul-style music recordings and performances.

Since her start with Motown Records, Brenda Holloway recorded and released six studio albums, starting in 1964 with the debuting Every Little Bit Hurts. She also has a live album and a pair of compilation albums to her credit. Overall, she has so far released twenty-one singles.

Top 10 Brenda Holloway Songs

#10 – Same Page (featuring Rags Moody III)

“Same Page” was a 2018 duet performance between Brenda Holloway and Rags Moody III. Although now in her seventies, Holloway demonstrated she still had the soulful voice of an R&B angel that blessed the music fans with her lyrical talent. The single never did appear on any official music charts, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t warrant the right to be called a favorite. The declaration of love and being on the same page between these two artists featured their vocal talent at its best.

 

#9 – It’s You (featuring Hal Davis)

In 1963, Brenda Holloway and Hal Davis perform the duet, “It’s You.” Although this soulful Motown classic never realized any chart success, it’s the combined talent of Holloway and Davis that makes it one of the most beloved R&B songs of all time among many fans of 1960s style Motown music. Even during the earliest years of Holloway’s involvement with the music industry, even in her lyrical talent, there was a hint of independence that signaled this artist was a force to be reckoned with. This romantic ballad saw two vocal talents demonstrating how R&B music should be performed, which is enough melodic soul where the musical instruments serve as nothing more than background noise.

 

#8 – Hey Fool (featuring Jesse Harris)

Brenda Holloway’s debut single, “Hey Fool” was a dual performance she shared with Jesse Harris in 1962. The release was through a smaller record label, Donna, which did not receive enough to become a charted hit. She was only sixteen years old at the time of recording, but this served as a starting point that would ultimately lead her to become Motown’s first West Coast signup in late 1963. A very young Holloway, who had yet to be recognized by Motown at this point, seemed to already make it clear from the very beginning of her music career that she has the talent to perform as among the best in the industry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GIZDWiO8MY

#7 – On the Rebound (featuring Jimmy Ruffin)

In 1988, from Brenda Holloway’s fourth studio album, What It Takes, the soulful duet performance she shared with Jimmy Ruffin served as an R&B reminder of why Holloway’s talent has been seen as one of the most overlooked by an industry that seemed to let one of the most talented vocalists in the soul music genre slip through their fingers. The single never appeared on any official music charts but remains a solid favorite among music fans that favor R&B and soul classics that don’t need to be chart-toppers just to become personal favorites. Starting off as a slow, melodic ballad, the shift into a decent dance song made this an easy pick for clubs that liked to cater to disco-style sounds.

 

#6 – I’ll Always Love You

“I’ll Always Love You” was Brenda Holloway’s second hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 as it reached number sixty in 1964. It was one of the singles from her debut album, Every Little Bit Hurts, which was released in 1964 through the label of Motown Records. While the single didn’t perform better on the charts, much of this is due to the fact Holloway somewhat rebelled against the Motown grooming team as she fought to maintain her own identity instead of getting thrown into a talent pool where every artist seemed like carbon copies of each other. Because of this rebellion, Motown wasn’t as eager to promote her music quite as much as the artists who opted to be more compliant.

 

#5 – Just Look What You’ve Done

In 1967, Brenda Holloway’s “Just Look What You’ve Done” became a number twenty-one hit single on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, as well as a number sixty-nine hit single on the US Billboard Hot 100. It is one of several tracks featured on Brenda Holloway’s second studio album, The Artistry of Brenda Holloway, which was released to the audience for the first time in 1968. Before disco became the big craze of the 70s, Holloway’s performance of this single seemed to serve as a small taste of what was about to come, but with a beautifully performed Motown flair.

 

#4 – Operator

Originally recorded by Motown’s infamous Mary Wells, “Operator” was featured on the B-side of her vinyl record, Two Lovers, but did not fare nearly as well as the A-side’s hit single. As for Holloway, her 1965 coverage of the song was released as a single and earned moderate chart success as it peaked at number thirty-six on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and at number seventy-eight on the US Billboard Hot 100. Holloway’s Operator was actually more popular in Canada as its singles chart peaked the single as high as number fourteen.

Written by Smokey Robinson, Operator’s narrative focused on the caller wanting to reach her lover on the telephone line, but there were technical issues that made the connection impossible to achieve. Wells’ performance of the single was more pop-rock-oriented while Holloway’s soulful lyrics seemed to add more drama to the song, which ultimately is usually the version most favored by Motown music fans.

 

#3 – You’ve Made Me So Very Happy

In 1967, the first version of “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” was recorded and released by Brenda Holloway. Fans may remember the 1969 cover performance by Blood, Sweat & Tears that jazzed up Holloway’s soulful performance of this hit single. For her, it was the third and final time she’d realize a top forty hit, at least at its number thirty-nine spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 and its number forty spot on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

“You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” also charted on the RPM Canadian Top Singles chart at number forty-eight. Holloway’s beautifully performed version served as the main inspiration behind the 1969 version into what it became and is still considered the big favorite among fans who prefer the soulful style performed by Holloway.

 

#2 – When I’m Gone

“When I’m Gone” was a single Brenda Holloway recorded and released in 1965 and it served as her second top forty hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It charted as high as number twenty-five and was a number twelve hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. When I’m Gone also appeared on RPM Canada’s singles chart, where it reached as high as number forty-three. Fans and critics took note of the similarities between Holloway’s single to Mary Wells hit, “My Guy.” “When I’m Gone,” was also originally performed by Mary Wells, but it was Holloway’s cover that was officially released by Motown as Mary Wells ended her contract with the company.

 

#1 – Every Little Bit Hurts

In 1964, Brenda Holloway recorded and released the piano-rich single, “Every Little Bit Hurts,” which became her first and best hit on the US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as it peaked at number three. It was also most successful on the US Billboard Hot 100 as it climbed up to number thirteen. Holloway recorded this song twice, first with a smaller label, then again, reluctantly, with Motown Records. This soulful song was Holloway at her all-time best and has become her trademarked hit most Motown fans recognize her with.

Photo:Igbochild[1], CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Brenda Holloway Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021

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