The Seventies and disco soul are HOT! Donna Summer, Sylvester, Amii Stewart, Chic, Martha Wash, Jeanie Tracy, Jody Watley… And now, after hosting together the Golden Globes, Tom Ford has been the first to feature Lady Gaga on both runway and soundtrack as he debuted his Spring/Summer 2016 Womenswear collection in a video that was inspired by the Seventies music TV show ‘Soul Train’ starring Lady Gaga. The American fashion designer has just unveiled a complementing campaign for the same collection. Captured by Nick Knight in Los Angeles, the campaign channels all the energy of Ford’s debut runway film.
While many designers and labels are going places to unveil their new collections, Tom Ford dares to go against the tide of hosting physical runway shows. The American fashion designer has debuted his Spring/Summer 2016 Womenswear collection in a video starring Lady Gaga. He the first to feature Lady Gaga on both runway and soundtrack.
Music: Lady Gaga – ‘I Want Your Love’ (feat. Nile Rodgers), Produced by Rene Arsenault and Billy Mohler for Riot City (weareriotcity.com), mixed by Matty Green
Released in conjunction with Paris Fashion Week, the disco music video features Lady Gaga alongside models Mica Arga, Lexi Bolling, Kayla Scott, Xaio Wen Ju, Valery Kaufman, Aymeline Valade, Lida Fox, Lucky Blue Smith, Alex Dunstan, David Agbodji and Tarun Nijjer. Dancing to the music of Nile Rodgers, the models were captured in a film by Nick Knight.
I have always loved ‘Soul Train’, which used to be on TV in 70s, as it was much about the clothes as the music. I asked Nile Rodgers to collaborate on a new version of one of his greatest hits from that time, ‘I want your love’, and worked with Gaga to record the vocals.
Tom Ford is also glad about the recent opening of a flagship in his hometown of Houston, his seventh directly operated unit in the U.S. after New York, Las Vegas, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas and Miami. “Texas is my birthplace, so there is a special significance in opening my second flagship there,” said the designer.
The campaign has launched on Tom Ford website and is also set to break internationally in the March issues of publications including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, and Vanity Fair.
Mathis was born in Gilmer, Texas, United States, in 1935, the fourth of seven children of Clem Mathis and his wife, Mildred Boyd, The family moved to San Francisco, California, settling on 32nd Ave. in the Richmont District, where Johnny grew up. His father had worked in vaudeville, they were both professional cooks and cooked all these extraordinary things. When his father saw his son’s talent, he bought an old upright piano for $25 and encouraged him to play. Mathis began learning songs and routines from his father. He spent most of my childhood with my father. He was a singer and played the piano and Johnny was fascinated with him, whereas his brothers and sisters weren’t that interested in music. They were busy doing other things but it was very important to him, he got involved early and extensively in singing in every capacity of my daily life. His dad taught him his first songs, took him fishing, hunting, a lot of outdoor activities, free activities; that was the main thing, it didn’t cost anything. His first song was ‘My Blue Heaven’ Mathis started singing and dancing for visitors at home, at school, and at church functions.
Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).
When he was 13, voice teacher Connie Cox accepted him as her student in exchange for work around her house. Johnny studied with Cox for six years, learning vocal scales and exercises, voice production, classical, and operatic singing. He is one of the relatively few popular singers who received years of professional voice training that included opera. The first band he sang with was formed by his high school friend Merl Saunders. Mathis eulogized him at his funeral in 2008, thanking him for giving him his first chance as a singer.
Mathis was a star athlete at George Washington High School in San Francisco. He was a high jumper and hurdler, and he played on the basketball team. In 1954, he enrolled at San Francisco State University on an athletic scholarship, intending to become an English teacher and a physical education teacher. The high jump record he set there was only two inches short of the Olympic record.
In San Francisco singing at a Sunday afternoon jam session with a friend’s jazz sextet at the Black Hawk Club, Mathis attracted the attention of the club’s co-founder, Helen Noga. She became Mathis’ music manager, and in September 1955, after Noga had found Mathis a job singing weekends at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, she learned that George Avakian, head of Popular Music A&R at Columbia Records, was on vacation near San Francisco. After repeated calls, Noga finally persuaded Avakian to come hear Mathis at the 440 Club. After hearing Mathis sing, Avakian sent his record company a telegram stating: Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.
Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).
At San Francisco State, Mathis had become noteworthy as a high jumper, and in 1956 he was asked to try out for the U.S. Olympic Team that would travel to Melbourne, Australia, that November. Mathis had to decide whether to go to the Olympic trials or to keep his appointment in New York City to make his first recordings. On his father’s advice, Mathis opted to embark on a professional singing career. His first album was released in late 1956 instead of waiting until the first quarter of 1957.
Mathis’s first record album, Johnny Mathis: A New Sound In Popular Song, was a slow-selling jazz album, but Mathis stayed in New York City to sing in nightclubs. His second album was produced by Columbia Records vice-president and record producer Mitch Miller, who helped to define the Mathis sound. Miller preferred that Mathis sing soft, romantic ballads, pairing him up with conductor and music arranger Ray Conniff, and later Ray Ellis, Glenn Osser, and Robert Mersey. In late 1956, Mathis recorded two of his most popular songs: ‘Wonderfull Wonderfull’ and ‘It’s Not For Me To Say’
Also that year, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, signed him up to sing the latter song in the movie Lizzie (1957). Shortly afterwards, Mathis made his second film appearance for 20th Century singing the song ‘A Certain Smile’ in the film of that title. He had small acting roles in both movies as a bar singer. This early visibility in two successful movies gave him mass exposure. His appearance on the popular TV program The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957 also helped increase his popularity. Critics called him ‘the velvet voice’. Mathis also appeared during this period on Abc’s The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, as did fellow African-American entertainers Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey.
During the summer of 1958, Mathis left San Francisco with the Nogas, who sold their interest in the Black Hawk club that year, and moved to Beverly Hills, California, where the Nogas bought a house.
Johnny Mathis, back at San Francisco State Collegee to help pick ‘Most Beautiful Girl on Campus’. Finalists are front (l-r) Sheila Shelly, and Diane Delgado; rear Carol Jean Childers, Mary Lou Ciranson and Judy Massie (March 1958)(Click photo to enlarge).
He was the first artist to release a ‘greatest hits’ album, Johnny’s Greatest Hits, pioneering the concept in 1958. The album spent an unprecedented 491 consecutive weeks through 1967 (nine and a half years) on the Billboard top 100 album charts, earning him a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Mathis had two of his biggest hits in 1962 and 1963, with ‘Gina’ (#6) and ‘What Will My Mary Say’ (#9).
In October 1964, Mathis sued Noga to void their management arrangement, which Noga fought with a counterclaim in December 1964. Mathis purchased a mansion in Hollywood Hills, which was originally built by billionaire Howard Hughes in 1946, where he still maintains a residence.
After splitting from Noga, Mathis established Jon Mat Records, Inc., incorporated in California May 11, 1967, to produce his recordings (previously, he founded Global Records, Inc. to produce his Mercury albums), and Rojon Productions, Inc., incorporated in California September 30, 1964, to handle all of his concert, theater, showroom, and television appearances, and all promotional and charitable activities. His new manager and business partner was Ray Haughn, who, until his death in September 1984, helped guide Mathis’s career. Since that time, Mathis has taken sole responsibility for it.
While Mathis continued to make music, the ascent of the Beatles and early 1970s album rock kept his adult contemporary recordings out of the pop singles charts, until he experienced a career renaissance in the late 1970s.
Johnny Mathis (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘Love Story’ (backside), 1971 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘I’m Comming Home’, 1973 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘The Heart of a Woman’, 1974 (Click photo to enlarge).
Mathis has released eight Christmas albums and his single ‘When A Child Is Born’ has been a hardy Christmas perennial ever since it went to No 1 in 1976.
Johnny Mathis & Diahann Carroll duet the song “You Are So Beautiful” on her show, July 1976
In 1978, Mathis recorded ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’ with singer and good friend Deniece Williams. The lyrics and music were arranged by Nat Kipner and John McIntyre Vallins. Released as a single in 1978, it reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, number nine on the Canadian Singles Chart and number three on the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the US R&B and adult contemporary charts. ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’ was certified gold and silver in the US and in the UK by the RIAA and the British Phonographic Industry respectively. It was his first number one hit since his 1957 chart-topping ‘Chances Are’.
Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams with their monsterhit album ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ (Click photo to enlarge).
In 1978, his hit duet ‘The Last Time I Felt Like This’ from the film Same Time, Next Year was nominated for an Acadamy Award for Best Original Song. Mathis and Jane Olivor sang the song at the Academy Awards ceremony, in his second performance at the Oscars.
Johnny Mathis and Deniece Williams released a follow-up duet, ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’, peaking at number 47 on the Hot 100. The success of the duets with Williams prompted Mathis to record duets with a variety of partners, including Barbra Streisand, Natalie Cole, Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, Patti Austin, Josh Groban, Jane Oliver, Angela Bofill, Regina Belle, Stephanie Lawrence, Engelbert Humperdinck, Elaine Paige, Nana Mouskouri and his heroine Lena Horne, “She was the most gorgeous, enigmatic, provocative woman I’ve ever seen. I used to hang around at her concerts when I was a kid and after a while her husband started inviting me to her dressing room. I was probably bothersome to her but her husband was kind. He could see I was infatuated.” A compilation album also called ‘Too Much, Too Little, Too Late’, released by Sony Music in 1995, featured the title track among other songs by Mathis and Williams.
Johnny Mathis ‘The Best Days Of My Life’, 1979 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘The Best Of’, 1980 (Click photo to enlarge).
During 1980-81, Mathis recorded an album with Chic’s Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, ‘I Love My Lady’, which remains unreleased in its entirety, though three tracks appeared on a Chic box set in 2010 and a fourth, the title track, on Mathis’ Ultimate Collection in 2011 and the Chic Organization’s ‘Up All Night’ in 2013
1983 Johnny Mathis With Special Guest Natalie Cole Unforgettable A Musical Tribute To Nat King Cole (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘A Special Part Of Me’, 1984 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘Right From The Heart’, 1985 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘Christmas eve with Johnny Mathis’, 1986 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘Better Together’ The Duet Album, 1991 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis ‘Because You Loved Me’, 1998 (Click photo to enlarge).
Johnny Mathis has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame Grammy Hall of Fame for three separate recordings, in 1998 for ; Chances Are’ in 2002 for ‘Misty’ and in 2008 for ‘It’s Not For Me To Say’
In 2003, the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded Mathis the Lifetime Archievement Award. This Special Merit Award is presented by vote of the Recording Academy’s National Trustees to performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artist significance to the field of recording
Mathis returned to the British Top 30 album chart in 2007 with the Sony BMG release The Very Best of Johnny Mathis in 2008 with the CD “A Night to Remember” and again in 2011 with “The Ultimate Collection.
He doesn’t set out to just sing ballads or romantic songs. He was thrilled when his country album ‘Let It Be Me, Mathis In Nashville’ was nominated for a Grammy in 2011.
Singing isn’t work it’s part of me. I don’t do it for any reason other than that I love it. How lucky does that make me?
On June 21, 2014 Johnny Mathis was inducted into the Great American Songbook Hall Of Fame along with Linda Rontadt, Shirley Jones and Nat King Cole (his daughter Natalie Cole accepting the award on his behalf). The awards were presented by The Center for the Performing Arts Artistic Director Michael Feinstein. Defined on their website, “Conceived as an enduring testament to the Great American Songbook, the Hall of Fame honors performers and composers responsible for creating America’s soundtrack.
He has sung for presidents (Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan) and royalty (Prince Charles, Princess Diana and HH The Begum Om Habibeh Aga Khan who was vèry fond of his voice and music). His CV is undeniably illustrious. He should be cock-of-the-walk confi-dent but he does not come across that way. “As a child all I knew was that people kept asking me to sing and because I liked to please I would sing. It wasn’t until my dad told me that my singing made him happy that I began to think my voice might be good.” When was that? “When I was about 23”.
Nobody can deliver a romantic line quite like the silken-voiced Mathis as his record sales of more than 350 million will attest. When he sings Misty he could melt an Iceberg (Click photo to enlarge).
In an interview in The Guardian (2014) he said: “I think I am as close to some friends as I am to my brothers and sisters. And they are my family. I think it’s important to cultivate as many people as you can to see which ones you jive with. And it makes you happy. If one dies you have another one. So living is a process that you have to do by yourself, and if you can learn a few little goodies along the way that might make it easier for you, so much the better. I’ve found that the more friends I have, the luckier I am!”
I’ve had the privilege to meet Mr. Mathis a couple of times. Not only his beautiful voice impressed me, but certainly his humor, and his kindness. September 30, and over 60 years after winning his first recording contract he is still selling out concert venu, Johnny Mathis has his 80 birthday today, …
Today, miss Sarah Dash has her 70th birthday. Hearing the name Sarah Dash may not ring a bell by many people, but hearing her songs and special voice, it does. She started as one of the four members of The Odettes, the later: Patti LaBelle And The Bluebells. Later, when one of the girls, Cindy Birdsong left the group, they became: Labelle.
Labelle: Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash and Patti LaBelle (Click photo to enlarge).
Labelle ‘Voulez Vouz’ (Lady Marmalade)
For many people Sarah Dash, born on 18.08.1945 in Trenton, New Jersey, is best known as one-third of the otherworldly divas, Labelle. Together with Patti Labelle and Nona Hendryx she blew off many roofs then with ‘Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi, Lady Marmalade’. But we absolutely gag for her solo club classic, ‘Sinner Man’. It makes us get all sassy, hip-shakin’, neck-twistin’ and finger-wavin’. ‘Don’t be touchin’ me! Don’t be holdin’ me!’ Testify, Sister Sarah.
In 1978, Dash released her self-titled debut album, which included the top-ten disco hit, ‘Sinner Man’. She also performed vocals on several stunning ballads, notably ‘You’, and ‘We’re Lovers After All’, and ‘I Can’t Believe Someone Like You Could Really Love Me’, (with a full gospel choir backing); she also had another minor disco hit with ‘(Come and Take) This Candy from Your Baby’. Dash enjoyed much success and television and public appearances with her smash hit ‘Sinner Man’. At this time, she was asked to compose and sing ‘For The Love of You’ (the theme song for the 1980s PBS show ‘Watch Your Mouth’ and ‘Bringing It All Home’. She also guest-starred on an episode of Watch Your Mouth, playing a fictional character, a super diva with an attitude, ‘Tessie Bright’.
Sarah Dash self titled ablum from 1978 with the smash hit ‘Sinner Man’
However, on the Kirshner albums, and especially ‘Ooh La La, Sarah Dash’, she was given substandard material to work with, although she wrote ‘I Feel Good Being Me’ for this album. It featured one strong disco track, ‘Ooh La La, Too Soon’, which was used in a Sassoon jeans commercial, and Phyllis Hyman provided backing vocals to the album. But by 1980, disco was dying, and many talented divas such as Dash, Linda Clifford, Pattie Brooks, Cheryl Lynn and even Donna Summer, were at a loss as to how to proceed musically. After releasing one more musically stronger album ‘Close Enough’, for Kirshner, which features standout ballads like ‘Somebody’s Angel’ and ‘God Bless You’, and the rocker, ‘Paradise’, Dash left Kishner for other opportunities
Sarah Dash ‘Low Down Dirty Rhythem’ with Patrick Cowley
She always loved ‘happy -dance- music, and switched to High-NRG. In 1983, Dash released two dance singles for Megatone Records in San Francisco, both produced by Patrick Cowley. The first, ‘Low Down Dirty Rhythm’ was basically ignored, but the second single ‘Lucky Tonight’ (featuring background vocals by dance superstars Sylvester and Jeanie Tracy), was a real smash hit and dance floor filler, even rising to the #5 spot on Billboard‘s Dance Chart, and was even a Billboard ‘Pick of the Week’. After the succes of ‘Lucky Tonight’, ‘Low Down Dirty Rhythm’ lifted up that succes. Dash was excited about her career again and went on an extensive tour of major U.S. dance clubs. There was supposed to be an album, but because of the untimely death of Cowley, the album was never recorded. Now both songs are availble in their original long versions on the ‘Megatone Records 12 Inch Volume 1’ album
Sarah Dash ‘Lucky Tonight’ smash hit with background vocals by Sylvester & Jeanie Tracy was just finnished before Patrick Cowley’s death (Click photo to enlarge).
Dash’s most experimental musical endeavor was the recording she made on the RAP record, ‘Satisfaction’, for High Fidelity Three in 1985. This single was groundbreaking because it was one of the first (if not the first!) rap records that combined a rapper with a vocalist. It was not given much attention at the time, since rap was still in its early stages, but today it is considered a classic, especially with New York DJ’s.
Also during this time, Dash did a great deal of session work for The O’jays, Nile Rogers of Chic (duetting on a ballad with Rodgers, ‘My Love Song for You’ from, ‘The Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove’, a true collector’s item now), The Marshall Tucker Band and David Johansen. In the later 1980s, she teamed up with musician Dr. York for the duet ‘It’s Too Late’
Sarah Dash ‘You’re All I Need’
Then in 1988 she was signed to Manhattan Records, (via EMI) and released the album entitled ‘You’re All I Need’. This set included a title track duet with Patti LaBelle; a further duet ‘Don’t Make Me Wait’ with Ray, Goodman & Brown; and ‘To Tell You The Truth‘. The outstanding cuts on the CD are ‘It’s Over’, where Dash really belts out and makes full use of her vocal range, and the sweet ballad, ‘After Love’. Once again, unluckily, EMI decided not to promote the album, and it was met with only moderate success. Dash released another unnoticed dance single in 1990, ‘When You Talk to Me/Manhandled’, with disc jockey Jellybean Benitez.
In the early 1990s, Sarah developed her own one-woman show, “Dash Of Diva,” performing at different club venues, as well as doing a more jazz-flavored set that resulted in various appearances.
Also in 1988, Dash was asked to add her backing vocals to the Rolling Stones ‘Steel Wheels’ album, which eventually led to a tour with her old friend Keith Richards. They became close when Dash was still performing with Patti Labelle and The Blue Bells, who opened for Stones in the early 1960s. She recorded the duet ‘Make No Mistake’ with him, and she took the lead vocal on ‘Time Is On My Side’, showcasing her powerful delivery and vocal range, which, Keith has said in his autobiography, is ‘the best version of that song he’s ever heard’. Keith Richards invited Dash to accompany him on tour: her association with him led to another world tour, a tour with Richards’ X-pensive Winos, appearances on two of his albums, and on The Rolling Stones ‘Steel Wheels’ album in 1989. With Richards, she guested on ‘Live At The Hollywood Palledium’ in 1988, and ‘Main Offender’, in 1992.
Sisters In The Name Of Love (Click to enlarge photo).
Sarah Dash, Nona Hendryx and Patti LaBelle collaborated on each other’s projects over the years following their 1977 split. Patti LaBelle appeared in a couple of albums by Hendryx and Dash attributing background vocals and, in the case of Dash, a duet. In 1991, 15 years after their last recordings together, the group reunited on Patti LaBelle’s ‘Burnin’, recording the funky ‘Release Yourself’, another Hendryx composition. Hendryx and LaBelle co-wrote the latter’s hit, ‘When You’ve Been Blessed (Feels Like Heaven)’ on the same album. The group performed their reunion song at The Apollo Theatre in New York, during a televised special there to help Patti LaBelle promote Burnin’.
Patti, Nona and Sarah ‘Release Yourself’ Live in NY, 1991
Over the years, Sarah Dash , Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx stayed very good friends. They are more then that: They are sisters in the name of love. Labelle reunited again in 1995 to record the dance hit, Turn It Out, for the soundtrack to the film, ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks ForEverything! Julie Newmar’. The song became their first charted hit in nineteen years peaking at number-one on the Billboard dance singles chart. Labelle would announce a full-fledged reunion in 2005 after the group recorded the Rosa Parks tribute song, ‘Dear Rosa’, featured on Patti LaBelle’s TV show, Living It Up with Patti LaBelle, and after recording, with gospel artist Tye Tribbett, the gospel song, Preaching to the Choir, from the movie of the same name, which LaBelle starred in. The group would sign a recording deal with Verve Records in 2007, and recorded their new album, ‘Back To Now’ throughout late 2007 and 2008, releasing the album that October. Sadly, the Sylvester tribute song You Make Me Feel Mighty Real/Dance was only availble on the iTunes album version.
Labelle, Nona Hendryx, Patti LaBelle and Sarah Dash (Click photo to enlarge).
That year, the trio went back on tour together which carried through the spring of 2009. In an interview with the Toronto Star, Patti LaBelle explained why she, Dash and Hendryx waited over 32 years to record a full-length album: “You don’t want to half-step something this important….it was about finding the right time and place. We were never ones to do anything on anyone else’s time anyway; we were always unconventional. I still have my glitter boots to prove it.”
The group performed a triumphant show at the Apollo Theatre in New York City on December 19, 2008 (Click to enlarge photo).
Sarah Dash received a citation from the deputy Mayor of New York City, Ruth Messinger, for her work and efforts in the underprivileged New York City community, where she raised funds for homeless single women and children. With her generous time, Dash collected donations and funds she acquired for these mothers and their children which included clothing, toys, books, after-school activities, excursions to amusement parks, theater in the parks, and food.
Sarah Dash songs and albums:
1971 Labelle – Labelle
1972 Labelle – Moon Shadow
1973 Labelle – Pressure Cookin’
1974 Labelle – Night Birds (with ‘Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Moi, Lady Marmalade’)
1975 Labelle – Phoenix
1976 Labelle – Chameleon
1978 Sarah Dash – Sarah Dash (album)
1980 Sarah Dash – Oh La La Sarah Dash (album)
1981 Sarah Dash – Close Enough (album)
1983 Sarah Dash/Patrick Cowley – Lucky Tonight
1983 Sarah Dash/Patrick Cowley – Low Down Dirty Rhythm
1983 Sarah Dash/Nile Rodgers – My Love Song For You (From the Nile Rodgers album “Adventures In The Land Of The Good Groove
1985 Sarah Dash/Dr. York – ‘It’s To Late’
1985 Sarah Dash/High Fidelity Three – ‘Never Satisfied’
1988 Sarah Dash – ‘All I Need’ (album)
1988 Sarah Dash/Patti LaBelle – ‘Your’re All I Need’
1989 Sarah Dash – ‘Feel Good’
1990 Sarah Dash/John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez – ‘When You Talk To Me’
1991 Labelle – ‘Release Yourself’ (From the Patti LaBelle album ‘Burning’)
1995 Labelle – ‘Turn It Out’ (Soundtrack ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar)
2005 Labelle – ‘Dear Rosa’ (Rosa Parks tribute song)
2007 Labelle/Tye Tribbiett – ‘Preaching to the Choir’
2008 Labelle – ‘Back To Now’
2008 LaBelle – ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’ (Sylvester tribute)
2011 Sarah Dash/Ari Gold – ‘Sparkle’
2014 Sarah Dash – ‘I’m Still Here’
Today it’s miss Sarah Dash’s birthday. And she is still here! Like the tittle of her latest fantastic album ‘I’m Still Here’ proves!!
Sarah Dash: Happy Birthday!! Love Always! (Click to enlarge photo).