Brenda Holloway was the eldest in a family with three children. When she was two the family moved from Atascadero to Watts (Los Angeles). Her sister Patrice Holloway(1951-2006), singer and song writer, was born there. Brenda was early music. They followed a music training, interested also for classical music and sang in the church choir. As teenagers sang backing vocals in the Brenda and Patrice of the rhythm and blues group in Watts from which originated The Whispers . They were a member of agirl group The Wattesians that in 1962 a single I'll Find Myself A Guy brought out, a year later followed by "Will You Be My Love, now under the name The Four J 's.Brenda made her solo debut In 1962 on the small label Donna with Hey Fool. The label Del-Fi brought out Every Little Bit Hurts , then that would be one of her best known songs.
They also recorded duets with other artists, including Hal Davis. He introduced her to the owner of Berry Gordy, Motown. Who saw her facial expressions at the inaudible singing of My guy Mary Wells. He was so impressed that he asked her to sign a record deal. The 17-year-old Holloway was the first artist from the West Coast who was recruited by the label established in Detroit, Michigan . Her most famous Motown hits were Every Little Bit Hurts that they so took up for the second time, When I'm Gone,you've Made Me So Very Happy, I'll Always Love You, Just Look What you've Done and also by Mary Wells known Operator. Also her sister Patrice had as a 14-year-old short time signed to Motown, but the shots that they should have been a female counterpart of "Little Stevie Wonder" on reflection, were not released. Duet also Come Into My Palace of Brenda and Patrice was only made a demo .
After the departure of the popular Mary Wells seemed Gordy going to be Brenda launch as the new "leading lady" of Motown. They got the compositions that Smokey Robinson for Wells had intended. Especially after a successful tv appearance as opening act for The Beatles on 15 August 1965 was her star rapidly rising. She was "the most beautiful woman ever Motown signed" called. Her looks and her dressing style (modeled on Tina Turner) brought many men head on hollow, but gave a lot of jealousy within Motown on. because the critical Holloway not behaved as of artists from the Motown-"stole" was expected, she was regarded as "difficult". Gordy lost his interest in her and its preference eventually went forward to a solo career for Diana Ross, who also detached from The Supremes.
For other solo singers was little attention Brenda Holloway decided after four years more and way to go to Motown. She walked in the middle of a recording session with Smokey Robinson away from Hitsville USA, the headquarters of the label. Motowns Press Department stated that the religious Holloway was left to "sing for God". They gave later that she was disappointed in the way her interests were responsible. She felt treated like a second-rate artist. The release of her second album The Artistry or Brenda Holloway was much too long delayed. The fact that her material was passed to The Supremes bothered her too. That Gladys Knightthe studio had entered to one of Brenda's compositions had closed the door.
In 1969, she won a lawsuit against Berry Gordy for the rights you've Made Me So Very Happy, that they had written together with Patrice and that had become a big hit for Blood, Sweat & Tears. Gordy had by a minimal addition himself co-author of the song created and part of the royalties claimed. Holloway was the third singer in short time-after Mary Wells and Kim Weston -who successfully took legal action against Motown. "We were teenagers when we signed a contract and we read the fine print does not", she explained later.
In the period that followed trad Holloway, who went back to Los Angeles, little was in the foreground. In 1968 the single was released on the Liberty label I Can't Make It Without Him (with the B side Until You Were Gone), written and produced by Barry White and performed by "Brendetta Davis". Most likely hid behind this alias Brenda Holloway, who still was under contract to Motown. She was later active as a backing vocaliston many albums by White, who was a declared admirer of her. She and her sister are told in Joe Cockers hit With a Little Help from My Friends, a cover version of the Beatles song. Brenda also sang at Ike & Tina Turner after the original Ikettes had left. They signed a contract in 1969 with Music Merchant, a sublabel of Invictus Records of the writers and producers at Motown as well runaway trio Holland-Dozier-Holland, but beyond a single Let Love Grow (b-side to Some Quiet Place) it did not come.
For the time being, she gave priority to family life over continuation of her solo career. In the same year 1969 married in Los Angeles with the Reverend Albert Davis, with whom she had four children. Religion always played an important role in her life and she brought a Brand New! album in 1980 with gospel music from, but hardly attention. In 1988, the year in which she divorced Albert Davis, she took On The Rebound on the duet with her former Motowncollega Jimmy Ruffin. In 1990 came from her album All It Takes from, partly with new versions of old Motown material.
On stage she appeared again only since 1992, both in the u.s. and in the United Kingdom, where her music is always remained popular. In 1999, they released the album it's A woman's World out, in 2003 followed byMy Love is Your Love. On his album Soulicious Cliff Richard sings the duet from 2011 Do You Ever with her. She shares the stage with Brenton Wood regularly and also performs with her Motownvriendinnen Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson and Kim Weston. In 2013 is Brenda Holloway still active as a singer.
- Every Little Bit Hurts (1964)
- The Artistry or Brenda Holloway (1968)
- Brand New! (1980)
- All It Takes (1990)
- It's a woman's World (1999)
- Together... (live album) (2000)
- My Love Is Your Love (2 CD, 2003)
- 20th Century Masters (2003)
- Anthology (Tamla-Motown) (2005)
|Year||Title||Billboard Hot 100|
|1963||You're My Pride and Joy
(duet with Jess Harris)
|I Ain't Gonna Take You Back||—|
(duet with Hal Davis)
|1964||Every Little Bit Hurts||13|
|I'll Always Love You||60|
|1965||When I'm Gone||25|
|You Can Cry on My Shoulder||—|
|1966||Together 'til the End of Time||—|
|Hurt a Little Everyday||—|
|1967||Just Look What you've Done||69|
|You've Made Me So Very Happy||39|
|1968||I Can't Make It Without Him/Until You Were Gone
(under the pseudonym "Brendetta Davis")
|1969||Let Love Grow/Some Quiet Place||—|
|1988||Give Me A Little Inspiration||—|
|On the Rebound
(duet with Jimmy Ruffin)
|1991||Hot and Cold||—|
- Susan Whittall: For the Record: Women of Motown. Harper Collins, 1998. ISBN 978-0-380-79379-2
- Kimasi l. Browne: Brenda Holloway: Los Angeles ' Contribution to Motown, in: Jacqueline Cogdell Donny & Eddie s. Meadows (ed.): California Soul: music of African Americans in the West. University of California Press, 1998.