You may not know Loleatta Holloway’s name or face, but there is no way you could be a fan of any kind of music and not know her voice. A soul singer, a disco diva, a one woman wall of sound - all of these are correct, but none completely encompass the volcanic force of nature that this woman could unleash.
From her countless collaborations with Dan Hartman, putting the power in some of the great Salsoul Records releases, and her take-no-prisoners live performances, Holloway could still have been one of the reigning divas of the dancefloor. But when sampling became the de facto means of making dance records, the floodgates opened.
If Loleatta, a big girl with a bigger voice, could never have the across-the-board success she so richly deserved because of industry perceptions about how a star should look, all bets were off when generations of enterprising producers, mixers, and musicians started loading up their Emulators with hooks and phrases from Holloway’s body of work.
“Love Sensation” is her magnum opus, both as an enduring classic and also because of the countless records that have built themselves around vocal samples of it. Because of Black Box’s uncredited reuse of Holloway’s voice on 1989’s “Ride on Time” and the subsequent legal battles that followed, countless divas of the past who put their blood, breath, and voice on record now get some credit for it. Moreso, when The Artist Formerly Known as Marky Mark unleashed his Funky Bunch on the world with the global hit “Good Vibrations,” not only did our girl Loleatta get proper credit and rightfully paid, she performed at live shows, bringing new life to the song and putting a face out there for the whole world to see where that majestic voice came from.
Now, at the age of sixty-four, we bid farewell to one of the most badass divas who ever worked a stage. We won’t have the chance to see Holloway give up the goods on stage, but thanks to the enduring nature of sound and vision, her voice really will be eternal.