Monday, 9 September 2013
Dee Dee Sharp born 9 September 1945
Dee Dee Sharp (born 9 September 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States) is an R&B singer who began her career recording back-up vocals in 1961.
Born Dione LaRue on September 9, 1945, she played piano from an early age, and directed choirs at her grandfather's and other churches in Philadelphia. After her mother suffered debilitating injuries from a car accident when LaRue was only 13, she gained a job as a background singer and developed the skills to work on sessions by Lloyd Price, Frankie Avalon, Fabian, Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson, and Chubby Checker.
Lady luck helped when her vocals were added to Chubby Checker's "Slow Twistin'" (1962) making it a duet. Her first solo session was scheduled the next day -- the "Mashed Potatoes Time" session -- and at 17, Dione LaRue was became an overnight sensation. Producers Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe didn't like LaRue's name so they created Dee Dee Sharp, since everyone called her D and she sang in D sharp.
"Mashed Potato Time" soared up the pop and R&B charts and was followed by a string of hits: "Gravy (For My Mashed Potatoes", "Ride" , "Do The Bird", and "I Really Love You" among them. Only in her teens, Dee Dee became an international star.
She toured the U.S. and Europe quite often as part of Dick Clark's
"Caravan of Stars", working with just about every major act in the golden age of rock and roll. These artists include Ben E. King, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Bobby Rydell, The Shirelles, Len Barry, Nona Hendryx, Little Eva, The Temptations, and Jerry Butler.
Dee Dee headed Huga Management in the 1970's for her then-husband, record producer Kenny Gamble of Philadelphia International Record Fame, where she guided such artists as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The O'Jays, Billy Paul and Teddy Pendergrass into super stardom. Sharp recorded three albums of her own for the PIR label, critically acclaimed and arguably her best. In 1981 she scored a number one dance hit with "Breaking andEntering", which is still known as a dance floor favorite in many clubs throughout the nation.
In addition to her many music industry activities (which include writing the top ten gospel hit, "I Wanna Go Where Jesus Is" for Gloria Spencer), Sharp holds a PhD in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania.
Singing is what Dee Dee Sharp loves best. Tantalizing vocals with a sassy style have been Sharp's signature during her thirty year career as a song stylist. Whether appearing in a plush showroom, performing before royalty, working a crown into a frenzy in a popular club, or headlining a rock and roll revue, audiences love this lady - truly deserving the Diva title!
Among her many distinctions, Dee Dee Sharp has been honored a Life Achievement Award by the Philadelphia Music Foundation, has raised thousands of dollars for the United Negro College Fund, signed by Maybelline, the cosmetics firm, to write and record radio commercials for it's "Shades of You" products enlisted by the Campbell Soup Company to help in their $30 million campaign to get consumers to use low fat soup instead of milk and butter in their Thanksgiving "Mashed Potatoes" and a 2001 inductee into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
Dee Dee has always been passionate about her family. She has resided in the Philadelphia area most of her life, and besides her success as an R&B powerhouse, she found time to use her gift of music at a church founded by her Grandfather, Eternal Baptist Church in Philadelphia. Coming from a strongly-religious family, Dee formed and taught several choirs; and she also formed a family gospel group with her cousins and sister-in-law, called the Gospelettes. Still today, her music ministry often has the church enthused and worshipping with excitement.
More recent appearances included a performance at Pontins in the UK for the Northern Soul Show, and at the 2008 Detroit Jazz Festival. In May 2009, she appeared in Belgium at the Salle De L'Hotel de Ville.
Sharp and her husband Bill Witherspoon have been residents of Medford, New Jersey. (info edited from itsaboutmusic & All Music)