Brenda Holloway

Brenda Holloway (born June 21, 1946) is an American singer and songwriter, who was a recording artist for Motown Records during the 1960s. Her best-known recordings are the soul hits, "Every Little Bit Hurts", "When I'm Gone", and "You've Made Me So Very Happy." The latter, which she co-wrote, was later widely popularized when it became a Top Ten hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears. She left Motown after four years, at the age of 22, and largely retired from the music industry until the 1990s, after her recordings had become popular on the British "Northern soul" scene.


The Motown years

After signing with Motown's Tamla division, Holloway was given the option to either move to Detroit to record at Motown's Hitsville studios or stay in Los Angeles. Holloway chose to stay in Los Angeles for the time being, and her early Motown records were produced there by Hal Davis and Marc Gordon. Holloway's first recording was "Every Little Bit Hurts", a song she had recorded two years earlier while working as a session musician. Holloway was reluctant to record the song, and later said she was upset during the sessions; several takes were recorded before producers felt that Holloway had hit her mark. Released in April 1964, three months before Holloway's eighteenth birthday, the song peaked at number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100, winning her a spot on Motown's Motortown Revue. She was regarded as a highly talented singer. According to one biographical article,


"Holloway's vocal style was very relaxed, yet she was able to create tension and exercise control. She was masterful in her ability to produce warm, rich timbres. With innovative articulation, a deft control of dynamics, and a flair for dramatic performances, Holloway was a singer's singer."




Holloway only returned to a performing career after the death of her old Motown friend Mary Wells in 1992, when she restarted performing in the Los Angeles area and in Britain, often in tandem with Brenton Wood, and on one occasion with Blood, Sweat & Tears. She also spoke at schools, and at UCLA in 1993. In 1999, she released the album It's A Woman's World for the Volt label.

Holloway continues to perform as of 2012. Her last album, My Love is Your Love, was released in 2003. Several of Holloway's classic recordings, including "Every Little Bit Hurts", "When I'm Gone" and "You've Made Me So Very Happy" were covered by a variety of acts over the years. In 2003, Vivian Green played Holloway in a cameo appearance on the TV show, American Dreams, where she sang "Every Little Bit Hurts," and, in 2005, Alicia Keys famously covered "Every Little Bit Hurts" for her Unplugged special. In 2011, Holloway recorded a duet with Cliff Richard on his Soulicious album, but did not perform with Richard on his accompanying concert tour in Britain.


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