Our Top 10 Nona Hendryx songs introduce us to a multitalented American singer-songwriter famed for musical art and activism for the LGBT community. Born in 1944, Nona Hendryx interacted with tons of artists, starting her career in a short-lived tenure in the band Del-Capris. A short while later, Nona Hendryx collaborated with Patti LaBelle, Sarah Dash, and Cindy Birdsong in the band Bluebelles. In the band, Nona Hendryx delivered her unique husky alto, which differed from sopranos from the band’s other members. Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles were known for their classic standard renditions and emotional performances during her tenure at the band.
One of the famous songs they released was “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Gerry And The Pacemakers released their version of the song having it quickly adopted as the football anthem of Liverpool F.C. At this time, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles found themselves competing hugely with the other girls’ groups like The Supremes, The Chantels, and Shirelles. After struggling with the musical landscape change, the band would move to England, changing its name to Labelle in 1971. Shortly after hitting gold with the release of the ballad “Lady Marmalade,” Labelle disbanded with Patti LaBelle citing personal and musical tensions as the major reason for the breakup.
Nona Hendryx embarked on a solo career with an eponymous album in 1977. Initially, she failed to achieve success, having her become a supportive pillar to Talking Heads with whom she offered backing vocals. She would also contribute to the song “Checkmate” by Dusty Springfield in 1978. The early 1980s had Nona Hendryx front her own band Zero Cool while still performing with the experimental funk group Material. In 1985, Nona Hendryx took part in the Artists United Against Apartheid project, having her rub shoulders with artists like, U2, Bobby Womack, Little Steven, and Bruce Springsteen.
Nona Hendryx would later release tons of songs boasting of iconic contributors such as Prince, Mavis Staples, and George Clinton. Around this time, Nona Hendryx would also join Vernon Reid of Living Colour in his band Black Rock Coalition. Nona Hendryx is still active to date, having her earn more titles, including an actress, author, and record producer. Here are the top 10 Nona Hendryx songs from a singer whose art runs in the blood, having her also be a distant cousin to Jimi Hendrix.
#10 – If Looks Could Kill (D.O.A)
Ushering us to the top 10 Nona Hendryx songs is the rip-roaring ballad “If Looks Could Kill (D.O.A).” The song is featured in The Heat (1985), an album filled with searing and sensual grooves. “If Looks Could Kill (D.O.A)” generated rave reviews, with some describing the song as her hottest vocal release ever. Listening to the song for the first time will get you amazed by Nona Hendryx’s oozy delivery, which makes it one of her best songs. Nona Hendryx’s version if confused with Heart’s version, which peaked at number fifty-four on the Billboard Hot 100.
#9 – I Need Love
Despite having its music video that stirred controversy for featuring drag queens, “I Need Love” has fought its way to become one of the best Nona Hendryx songs of all time. The song was removed from MTV’s playlist, but Nona Hendryx’s vocals were too irresistible to easily forget the song. Nona Hendryx sought to channel the message that we all need love and can barely live without it. Other artists to release a song under the same title include Niall Horan, LL Cool J, and Barbara Mason.
#8 – Baby Go-Go
Would you believe that Prince was quite captivated by Nona Hendryx’s musical art that he gave her his song? After meeting with him, the two had a conversation that sparked a casual friendship, resulting in Prince producing Nona Hendryx’s 1987 album, Female Trouble. With Prince involved in tons of things at the time, he offered to write the song “Baby Go-Go” for Nona Hendryx, helping her produce it. She would later record the song afresh with George Clinton and Mavis Staples, both of whom Prince worked with in years that followed.
#7 – Design for Living
“Design for Living” has proved to be one of the best Nona Hendryx songs of all time, thanks to her awe-inspiring vocals. The song is a gem amongst Nona Hendryx’s songs, having it feature bombastic background vocals from her former bandmate Patti LaBelle. Unique about the song is that it featured an all-female guest list consisting of Nancy Wilson of Heart, Tina Weymouth of Tom Tom Club, Valarie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson, and Gina Shock of The Go-Go’s.
#6 – B-Boys
Number six on our top 10 Nona Hendryx songs list is the pulsating hit “B-Boys.” The song is featured on Nona Hendryx’s album Nona. Brilliance is spelled in bold in this release, thanks to Nona Hendryx’s smooth vocals. “B-Boys” in its primes was one of the best Nona Hendryx club staples.
#5 – I Sweat (Going Through The Motions)
Nona Hendryx achieved commercial success with the release of singles like “I Sweat (Going Through the Motions).” The song was featured on Nona Hendryx’s album The Art of Defense, having it adopted as the soundtrack to the 1985 movie Perfect. “I Sweat (Going Through the Motions)” is just one of the various soundtracks Nona Hendryx recruited RCA to record.
#4 – Keep It Confidential
Nona Hendryx’s eponymous album featured quite a number of her top songs, including “Keep It Confidential.” The song features some cool beat superimposed on Nona Hendryx’s awe-inspiring vocals. And when you rarely expect, the song ushers in some funky vibes that find you toe-tapping and nodding your head to the beats of the song. Written by Jeff Kent, Ellie Greenwich, and Ellen Foley, the song has been described as a modest R&B hit having it find some major success on the dance charts.
#3 – Winds of Change (Mandela to Mandela)
“Winds of Change” is one of the best Nona Hendryx songs from Female Trouble. There is only one quote that summarizes what the song is about. That’s “My freedom and my people’s freedom cannot be separated” by Nelson Mandela stated while he was in prison after refusing to renounce his course for his freedom. Scorpions went on to release “Wind of Change” after the failed coup, which led to the culmination of the Soviet Union.
#2 – Transformation
We roll back to Nona Hendryx’s eponymous album, which featured the rip-roaring ballad “Transformation.” The song became Nona Hendryx’s staple garnering her a massive fanbase thanks to her exquisite vocals. “Transformation” was later covered by Fierce Ruling Diva, a Dutch house music duo.
#1 – Why Should I Cry?
Number one on our top 10 Nona Hendryx songs list is the magnificent hit “Why Should I Cry?” In this song featured on her album, Female Trouble, Nona Hendryx sound more like a minor-league Tina Turner. The song was Nona Hendryx’s biggest release, having peaked at number fifty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. While she might have been recognized for her magnificent vocals, it still feels not enough for such a talent!