Melba Moore: Wikis

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Melba Moore
Born Beatrice Melba Hill
October 29, 1945 (1945-10-29) (age 64)
New York City, New York, USA
Occupation Singer, actress
Years active 1967–present
Spouse(s) Charles Huggins (1975–1991)
Official website

Melba Moore (born Beatrice Melba Hill, October 29, 1945) is an American prolific R&B singer and actress. She is the daughter of saxophonist Teddy Hill and R&B singer Bonnie Davis.

Contents

Early life

Born Beatrice Melba Hill to Alabamian musicians in New York City, New York, she initially was raised in Harlem, New York until the age of nine when her mother remarried a jazz pianist named Clement Moorman. Moore attended Newark Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey.[1] Her mother, Bonnie Davis had a #1 R&B hit with "Don't Stop Now", prior to Melba's birth. Although her biological father was legendary Big Band leader and saxophonist Teddy Hill, it was her stepfather Moorman (who played on "Don't Stop Now") who became a prime influence and encouragement in Moore's musical pursuits and talent, insisting she learn to play the piano. Initially, Moore graduated from college and worked as a music teacher, but soon opted to switch careers. Moore chose her stage name by shortening her stepfather's surname from Moorman to Moore and using her middle name, "Melba".

Early career

Moore began her performing career in 1967 as a member of the original cast of the musical Hair along with Ronnie Dyson and Diane Keaton. Moore replaced Keaton in the role of Sheila, the first ever instance of a black actor replacing a white actor in a leading role on Broadway. In 1970, Moore won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in Purlie (she portrayed Lutiebelle). She wouldn't return to Broadway afterwards until 1978 when she appeared (as Marsinah) with Eartha Kitt in Timbuktu!, but left the show after a few weeks and was replaced by Vanessa Shaw. Following the success of Purlie, Moore landed two big screen film roles, released two successful albums including 1970's I Got Love and Look What You're Doing to the Man and co-starred with actor Clifton Davis in the then-couple's own successful variety television series in 1972. Both Moore and Davis revealed that the show was canceled after its brief run when their relationship came to an end. Moore's career faced problems after Moore's managers and accountants left her in 1973. Moore returned to Newark and began singing for benefits. Her career picked up after meeting record manager and business promoter Charles Huggins following a performance at the Apollo Theater in 1974. Marrying in 1975, Moore and Huggins formed Hush Productions, signing notable R&B artists such as Freddie Jackson and Meli'sa Morgan.

Melba Moore
Birth name Beatrice Melba Hill
Born October 29, 1945 (1945-10-29) (age 64) New York City, New York, USA
Genres Pop, R&B, disco, soul, dance-pop, post-disco
Occupations Singer, Songwriter, Actress
Instruments Vocals, Piano
Years active 1970-present
Labels Mercury, Buddah, Epic, Capitol
Associated acts Freddie Jackson, Van McCoy, Meli'sa Morgan, Kashif

Music career

In 1975, Moore signed with Buddah Records and released the critically successful R&B album, Peach Melba, which included the minor hit, "I Am His Lady". The following year, in 1976, Moore scored her first significant hit with the Van McCoy-penned "This Is It", which reached the Billboard Hot 100, the top twenty position on the R&B chart and also reached the top ten in the UK, becoming her biggest success in that country. In 1976, she scored her third Grammy nomination with the R&B ballad, "Lean on Me", which had originally been recorded by Moore's idol Aretha Franklin. The song is most notable for Moore's extended long note at the end of the track. In 1983, she re-recorded the song as a tribute to McCoy, who died four years earlier of illness. Throughout the rest of the 1970s, Moore struggled to match the success of This Is It with minor R&B/dance hits, gaining another hit with 1979's "You Stepped Into My Life", which was released on Epic Records and hit the top 20 on the R&B charts and also became one of her biggest pop hits.

It wouldn't be until 1982 when Moore started to gain huge success as a singer signing with Capitol Records and reaching the top 5 on the R&B charts with the dance pop/funk single, "Love's Comin' At Ya", which also hit the top 20 in the UK and became a sizable hit in some European countries for its post-disco sound. A string of R&B hits would follow during this decade including 1983's "Keepin' My Lover Satisfied" and "Love Me Right", 1984's "Livin' For Your Love", 1985's "Read My Lips", which later won Moore a fourth Grammy nomination for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, making her just the third black artist after Donna Summer and Michael Jackson to be nominated in the rock category, and 1985's "When You Love Me Like This". In 1986, she scored two number-one R&B hits, including the duet, "A Little Bit More", with Freddie Jackson and "Falling". She scored other popular R&B hits including "Love the One I'm With (A Lot of Love)" and "It's Been So Long". In 1986 Moore also headlined the CBS television sitcom Melba that debuted the same night as the Challenger explosion and was abruptly canceled shortly thereafter. Her success began to wane as the decade closed, although she managed two further Top 10 R&B hits, "Do You Really (Want My Love)" and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (which featured such artists as Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Jeffrey Osborne, Anita Baker and Stephanie Mills).

Turmoil and current work

In 1991, Moore received divorce papers from Huggins, without any prior warning. In the ensuing months, she found that her personal savings with Huggins, as well as investment in their company, Hush Productions, had all vanished. She filed for bankruptcy amid heavy media attention, and the next few years found Moore struggling to recover from the personal and professional setbacks she had endured.

She began recording and performing live again, recording such albums as Happy Together (with the Lafayette Harris Jr. Trio) and I'm Still Here. Moore returned to Broadway in 1995 landing a part in Les Miserables, a year later, she started her long-running one-woman show, Sweet Songs of the Soul, later renamed, I'm Still Standing, and in 2007, she landed a role in the Broadway revival of Ain't Misbehavin'. In 2003, she was featured in the film, The Fighting Temptations, which starred Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Beyoncé Knowles.

In 2009 independent label Breaking Records released the EP Book of Dreams, in which Moore was featured. That same year Moore told her life story on TV-One's Unsung and later that year, released her first R&B album in nearly 20 years, in a duet release with Phil Perry.

Moore is a born-again Christian.

Awards

In addition to her Tony Award, Moore music career brought additional accolades. She was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1971 for 'Best New Artist'. Her 1975 second album, Peach Melba, saw her get a Grammy nomination. In 1976, she earned another Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Female for the song "Lean On Me",[2]. Moore was also nominated for Best Female Rock Vocal in 1986 for "Read My Lips".

Discography

  • I Got Love - (Mercury Records, 1970)
  • Look What You're Doing to The Man - (Mercury Records, 1971) (US:#157), (R&B#43)
  • Live - (Mercury Records, 1972)
  • Peach Melba - (Buddah Records, 1975) (US:#176), (R&B:#49)
  • This Is It - (Buddah Records, 1976) (US:#145), (R&B:#32)
  • Melba - (Buddah Records, 1976) (US:#177), (R&B:#30)
  • A Portrait of Melba - (Buddah Records, 1977)
  • Melba - (Epic Records, 1978) (US:#114), (R&B:#35)
  • Burn - (Epic Records, 1979) (R&B:#71)
  • Closer - (Epic Records, 1980)
  • What a Woman Needs - (EMI America Records, 1981) (R&B:#46)
  • The Other Side of the Rainbow - (Capitol Records, 1982) (US:#152), (R&B:#18)
  • Never Say Never - (Capitol Records, 1983) (US:#147), (R&B:#9)
  • Read My Lips - (Capitol Records, 1985) (US:#130), (R&B:#30)
  • A Lot of Love - (Capitol Records, 1986) (US:#91), (R&B:#7)
  • I'm in Love - (Capitol Records, 1988) (R&B:#45)
  • Soul Exposed - (Capitol Records, 1990) (R&B:#52)
  • Book of Dreams - (Breaking Records, 2009)

Singles

  • 1975: "I Am His Lady" (#82 US R&B)
  • 1976: "This Is It"/"Free"/"Play Boy Scout" (#14 Disco)
  • 1976: "This Is It" (#91 US Pop, #18 R&B, #2 Disco, #9 UK)
  • 1976: "Lean on Me" (#14 R&B)
  • 1976: "Free" (#14 Disco)
  • 1976: "Make Me Believe in You" (#6 Disco)
  • 1976: "Play Boy Scout" (#14 Disco)
  • 1977: "Good Love Makes Everything Alright (Greatest Feeling)" (#36 Dance)
  • 1977: "The Long and Winding Road" (#94 R&B)
  • 1977: "The Way You Make Me Feel" (#62 R&B)
  • 1978: "You Stepped Into My Life" (#47 US Pop, #12 R&B, #5 Dance)
  • 1978: "Standing Right Here" (#62 R&B; #53 Dance)
  • 1979: "Miss Thing" (#90 R&B, #41 Dance)
  • 1979: "Pick Me Up, I'll Dance" (#85 R&B, #22 Dance, #48 UK)
  • 1981: "Take My Love" (#15 R&B)
  • 1981: "Let's Stand Together" (#44 R&B)
  • 1981: "Take My Love"/"Let's Stand Together" (#12 Dance)
  • 1982: "Love's Comin' At Ya" (#5 R&B, #2 Dance, #15 UK)
  • 1982: "Let's Stand Together" (#44 R&B)
  • 1983: "Keepin' My Lover Satisfied" (#14 R&B, #57 Dance)
  • 1983: "Mind Up Tonight" (#25 R&B, #17 Dance, #22 UK)
  • 1983: "Underlove" (#35 R&B, #42 Dance, #60 UK)
  • 1984: "Livin' for Your Love" (#6 R&B)
  • 1985: "I Can't Believe (It's Over)" (#29 R&B)
  • 1985: "Read My Lips" (#12 R&B)
  • 1985: "When You Love Me Like This" (#14 R&B)
  • 1986: "A Little Bit More" (w/Freddie Jackson) (#1 R&B, #96 UK)
  • 1986: "Love the One I'm With (A Lot of Love)" (#5 R&B)
  • 1986: "Falling" (#1 R&B)
  • 1987: "I'm Not Gonna Let You Go" (#26 R&B)
  • 1987: "It's Been So Long" (#6 R&B)
  • 1988: "I Can't Complain" (#12 R&B)
  • 1988: "I'm in Love" (#13 R&B)
  • 1988: "Love & Kisses" (#68 R&B)
  • 1990: "Do You Really (Want My Love?)" (#10 R&B, #39 Dance , #93 UK)
  • 1990: "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (#9 R&B)

See also

References

  1. ^ Arts High School (2009). A Brief History. Newark Arts High School. Retrieved on 2008-08-10 from http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/arts/a_brief_history.htm. Retrieved on 2009-12-24 from http://www.nps.k12.nj.us/arts/about_us_2.htm.
  2. ^ TheEnvelope.LATimes.com - Fact Sheet on Melba Moore

External links

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